Models of social infection

An excerpt from the book Homo Imitans by Leandro Herrero:

There are three basic models of (scalable) social infection, equally applicable in the organizational world and the macrosocial
world (see the graph on the next page).
(1) The first model is the one I call ‘Zero model’. In epidemiology, the ‘zero patient’ is where the epidemic starts. Therefore, it
means that the Zero model of social infection requires an origin, a trigger or initiator. There may be more than one and these
triggers receive different names depending on the disciplinary hat you wear. This is the world of opinion leaders, influencers, champions, activists, etc. In other words, recognizable people or groups of people with the ability to exercise their personal influence and trigger engagement around them.
(2) I call the second model the ‘Orphan model’ because, unlike the Zero model, it doesn’t seem to have an obvious trigger, certainly not in the form of identifiable opinion leaders or influencers of some kind. In this model, we notice the trend of a social infection once it becomes visible.
(3) I call the third model the ‘Splash model’. Here, the social phenomenon seems to appear ‘as a result’ of a rather broad world I system, perhaps dominating the media or part of it, perhaps as a result of a sudden massive ‘push’ from a Facebookor YouTube-like event. Sometimes a Web 2.0 campaign or a large, perhaps persistent social media initiative (concerted advertising campaign?) seems to be at ‘the origin’ of the new social phenomenon.
There is also a fourth model which in reality is a combination model in which we can find elements of the other three. But it still leads to a new ‘established’ social norm. I’d like you to keep in mind at all times that these models of social infection are equally valid for the business organization and macro-social change.

For more visit