The Tipping Point

I’ve been reading a book called The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell, which is a fascinating look at how and why social trends catch on the way they do – anyone interested in this or business or other reasons is well advised to check this book out.

However the reason I bring it up is one section I read regarding Sesame Street which those of you with young children might find fascinating, since it deals with how they view television – it’s not at all the way most of us believe.

I had spent the better part of 15 minutes typing the passage out by hand, then lost it all, and at this point I’m just saying “screw it, I’ll find it on Google and copy paste”

I actually found a largish section of the exerpt on this website, so I’ll just give you the link here, followed by the conclusion:

If you take these two studies together – the toys study and the editing study – you reach quite a radical conclusion about children and television. Kids don’t watch when they are stimulated and look away when they are bored. They watch when they understand and look away when they are confused. If you are in the business of educational television, this is a critical difference. It means if you want to know whether – and what – kids are learning from a TV show, all you have to do is to notice what they are watching. And if you want to know what kids aren’t learning, all you have to do is notice what they aren’t watching.


There is more after that, and it’s worth reading it all to get an idea of how Sesame Street was developed, but I thought that was an interesting point.