ASK: Is the 1% Rule Dead?

If you’ve hung around the internet long enough, you may be familiar with the “One Percent Rule”. It’s the social web’s twist on the Pareto Principle, and it says that in an online community one percent of people will create content, another 10 percent will engage with it, and the remainder will simply lurk.

By Bobbie Johnson - Gigaom

If you’ve hung around the internet long enough, you may be familiar with the “One Percent Rule”. It’s the social web’s twist on the Pareto Principle, and it says that in an online community one percent of people will create content, another 10 percent will engage with it, and the remainder will simply lurk.

It’s been a rule of thumb for the last few years, and has developed into an important guiding principle for a lot of people thinking about how the web helps us connect with each other.

But is its time over?

In a post on the BBC’s Internet Blog, senior research executive Holly Goodier suggests that the One Percent Rule has outlived its usefulness, with a study of British web users showing that people are now drastically more interested in — and likely to engage with — online content.

In fact, she says, the One Percent Rule has not just become outdated — it’s been blown away. Surveys by her team found that a full 77 percent of people were now engaged online:

My team and I conducted a large-scale, long-term investigation into how the UK online population participates using digital media today – from sharing links, to writing blogs and uploading photos. And it revealed a fascinating, and at times, surprising picture.

1. The model which has guided many people’s thinking in this area, the 1/9/90 rule, is outmoded. The number of people participating online is significantly higher than 10%.
2. Participation is now the rule rather than the exception: 77% of the UK online population is now active in some way.
3. This has been driven by the rise of ‘easy participation': activities which may have once required great effort but now are relatively easy, expected and every day. 60% of the UK online population now participates in this way, from sharing photos to starting a discussion.

Wow!

While it should perhaps be no surprise that making the tools for interacting and sharing easier leads to more interacting and sharing, who would have expected that such a drastic change could occur? After all, we’re seeing a nearly eightfold increase in what we thought was happening to what is really going on. READ MORE

Chart: Life of Riley