The Pareto Principle states, 80% of the results flow from 20% of the activities. In 2006, Jakob Nielsen wrote “Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute”. When studying user behavior in online social networks, most users lurk rather than participate. They follow what’s become known as the 90:9:1 rule:

  • 90% of users are lurkers (i.e. read or observe, but don’t contribute
  • 9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time
  • 1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions

With the launch of the new uwebd social network, I was curious if the 90:9:1 rule would apply. The site has been live for about one month and participation is definitely following this rule. Given the target audience for the site I thought participation might be higher, but that hasn’t been the case.

I plan to revisit this topic in a few months. I expect membership on the site to grow substantially and people should be more familiar with the features and functionality of the site. We’ll see if we have a greater percentage of people participating.