Friday, June 18, 2010

The 90:9:1 rule reveals ability, not willingness, to participate

I hear a lot about the 90:9:1 'rule' (try working in collaborative co-creation and not hearing it dragged up from time to time.)

You know the one:
1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing.
I suspect its assumptions are used to calculate all kinds of 'propensity of your market to join in social media estimate'. I'd hazard a guess Forrester applies it to this, for example (corrections welcome). (Image courtesy Chris Devers.)

Let me say I don't think this is a rule about willingness to participate - it is one about ability to participate.

And that is a critical, critical difference.

It means (and assumes) for example that everyone wants to participate and that it is the lowering of barriers to participation that will surface this.

The barriers could be cultural, technical, linguistic, financial, logistic

Whatever the case, don't kid yourselves participation is for a small elite. It's for whoever you are prepared to help overcome the barriers the rest of us face. It is up to you to lower those barriers.

Afterall, it's a rare human being who doesn't want to join in a conversation that matters to them. You just have to find ways to help them join in.
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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?