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The 90-9-1 rule

A fantastic blog post was put up last week, which has lead to a number of great discussions about member traction and engagement within communities. Dr. Mike Wu, Ph.D. posted metrics based on his study of over 200 online communities here.

As he writes, "The 90-9-1 rule simply states that:

  • 90% of all users are lurkers. They read, search, navigate, and observe, but don't contribute
  • 9% of all users contribute occasionally
  • 1% of all users participate a lot and account for most of the content in the community"

The data he present generally backs this up. The comments both there and in a related LinkedIn community explore how he defined his terms, constraints of the data, and how to encourage engagement.

Do you agree with his findings? Do you see them reflected in your Ning Networks?

I look forward to his future posts, where he promises to "dive deeper into the contribution level of the hyper-contributors, you community's real superusers."

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  • I found another:
    Flame Warriors (A Dictionary of Roles)
  • I just wanted to share a couple of other posts I found that describe Member Roles/Types. They go into more detail though:)
    Community Member Roles & Types
    Roles In Groups
  • Thanks, Roby:) I think I'm having "Creators Block" this week:(
  • Whew, this is great info to know. I thought there was something wrong due to the lack of posters. Thanks for pointing this out.
  • So you were kinda lurking right now Janette ;-) ... you are a great 1% Janette, you provide true value to this community. thank you!
  • I'm pleased to be one of the 1%! I have no other contribution to this topic as of yet though:)
  • Yes. Absolutely. It takes about 300 members (30 keen ones) to see a network really take off.
  • I have heard these stats before about 2 years ago. So they must be right. I am just pleased with the activity I am getting 6 weeks down the line. I have created a closed community for teachers and there will be 105 members eventually. I hope that the focus we have, which is professional development will make this Ning the place to be and that they will feel ownership. I believe the Principals of the 7 schools will point their colleagues to conduct things on the Ning so that they have a rich repository of material. I am reasonably confident at the moment! I hope my formula is right. We will see!!
  • I fellow the idea of Astral. But not on all. If "My Space" is really for chidren and young people, "Facebook" can be really interesting if you look at for good groups and good people. And these groupes make the power of this website.

    Now, a lot of members and people go easy on the Web and it's not only for youngs.

    But the power of Ning is to be like a club where the members can answer with photos, folders or videos. The members who come facebook must have times to learn Ning.

    But Ning have a big problem : the box of answer to discussions doesn't accept long text. We must always write the text on a folder of a Word's softwear and after, copy and paste this text on the box.
    Like now. I can write one or two sentences more and after, I cann't see what I'm writing.

    I told about it for a long times to Ning develloper, but my request stay with any answer for a long times. It's better now, but it's not the top :-/
  • Hi,
    "You can lead a horse to water................................"

    I don't think a lot people realise that the popularity (or the illusion of popularity) of these so called "Social Networks" is entirely down to the fact that most people do not have a legitimate or worthwhile use for their computers.

    I have said before that I run a small computer repair business, which means I talk to lots of computer users and when I go into a customers home for whatever reason, I always ask them "Why do you have a computer ?"

    Now, with the Musicians, Artists and Business people this is obvious, but, your average punter (the vast majority) who have no particular skills either creative or business related, they cannot provide me with an answer. That simple question stops them dead in their tracks, they actually do not know the answer and you can see them visibly struggling to think of an answer that is not going to embarass them. Therefore no anwswer.

    They do not know why they have a computer and it follows that they also don't really know what to do with their computers either. Ergo the "apparent" illusory popularity of sites like "BookFace"and the purility of the content on such sites.

    Sure, you always get the nonsense answer about their kids needing a computer to do their homework and their studying etc... To which I always inform them, that, that is rubbish and certainly no reason to own and operate a computer. I explain to them that, if I had kids, I certainly would not be letting them access the Internet as the Internet is no place for children. Coming from a computer professional, this always takes them aback and a lot of them then tell me, "actually you are 100% correct."

    So, the illusion of popularity of Social Networking can laid squarely within the following:

    Any dummy can upload and contibute any garbage to be part of something they mistakenly think has some kind of benefit. I avoid sites like "Book Face" because I am sure it is mostly inhabited by 15 year olds with nothing of any value whatsoever, from what I can see anyway.

    It is not so much to do with "worthwhile participation" as much as it is to do with "maybe I am missing something", what are the true motivations of these people ?

    Let me guess, could it be the old chestnuts that aflict most Human Beings ? Noseyness, greed and a need to belong to something, anything even if it is entirely pointless.

    Go ahead and ask every computer user (except, musicians, artists and business people) you know this question, "Why do you have a computer ?"

    Just don't expect a coherent answer.

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