Nielsen points out that in most online communities, 90 percent of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9 percent of users contribute a little, and 1 percent of users account for almost all the action.
Consider this when trying to assess the tone of your community based on representation of subgroups. Such inequities can produce a “biased understanding.”
Other eye-catching inequalities from the Oct. 2006 article:
1.1 billion – 55 million – 1.6 million
According to Technorati there are 1.1 billion internet users, but only 55 million (5 percent) have blogs and those blogs generate only 1.6 million posting per day.
32 million – 68,000
99 percent of Wikipedia users are lurkers. Wikipedia has only active contributors – 0.2 percent of the 32 million unique U.S. visitors.
25 million – 185,000
The “Causes” application on Facebook had 25 million users in April 2009, but only 185,000 had given a donation.
Can you improve Participation Inequality and get something better than 90-9-1? Not really.
But you can make it easier to contribute on your web site or social media platform, and you can nurture the 9 percent. Nielsen, a usability expert, contends that web site design influences participation inequality. Also, a combination of rewarding and promoting contributors is a strategy that focuses on what you can see and control.