The 90-9-1 Principle: Participation Inequality in Social Communities

Jakob Nielson, the leading usability consultant, discusses the participation inequality of social communities, in which:

  • 90% of users are the “audience”, or lurkers.
  • 9% of users are “editors”; or those who participate.
  • 1% of users are “creators”.

More information at 90-9-1: a website dedicated to this ‘principle’ where you can view, among other things, these fascinating statistics:

  • Over 50% of all the Wikipedia edits are done by just 0.7% of the users.
  • Just 0.16% of all visitors to YouTube upload videos to it, and 0.2% of visitors to Flickr upload photos.

Richard Millington, Seth Godin’s 2008 summer intern, offers us up some different ways we can treat this theory.