Online community participation: now it’s more like 70-20-10

Yesterday I did a talk, Developing Successful Online Communities, as part of the CIPR‘s Social Summer series at the CIPR’s London office (the original speaker, Feverbee‘s Richard Millington, had to drop out due to illness and I volunteered to fill the gap at six hours notice).

The presentation (above) is a substantially updated version of one I gave last year, and includes a link to a blog post by Paul Schneider: Is the 90-9-1 Rule for Online Community Engagement Dead?. He suggests that the ratio of lurkers to commenters to creators in online communities may now be more like 70-20-10 (I have previously noted another suggestion from Harvard of 75-15-10).

70-20-10 rule
My own feeling from running a number of online communities is that, if you take the trouble to filter out defunct user accounts as Paul did, then the ratio of participation is certainly higher than Jakob Nielsen’s 90-9-1 participation inequality guideline, proposed in 2006. Since that time, familiarity and use of social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn has exploded and many more people are now happy to create and upload content to websites and to comment on other people’s content. In a few more years, we might even be updating the ratios to 60-25-15 or even 50-30-20.

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