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The 1% Rule Or What YouTube Teaches Us About Who Really Does The Work in Crowds?

A Critique of Chris Anderson's Long Tail Book. |


| Did WalMart Smile Too Much In Germany?

July 28, 2006

The 1% Rule Or What YouTube Teaches Us About Who Really Does The Work in Crowds?

Bruce Nussbaum

There is a fascinating piece in the Guardian on research that shows that if you get 100 people online, 1 will create content, 10 will interact with it (comment or try to improve it) and 89 will just read and watch it.

The stats are drawn from YouTube which now has 60% of all online viewing. There are 100 million downlods and 65,000 uploads--1,539 downloads per upload and 20 million uniques per month. The "creator to consume ratio" is 0.5% but it is early days so this may improve.

At wikepedia, 70% of all articles are written by 1.8% of users.

What does the author of the Guardian piece

This is a fundamental issue. If 1% of crowds are creators, then what is the difference between "experts" and "crowds?" What is the difference between professional historians who write encyclopedias and the "masses" of people who do? Where does the real value of crowds lie? Are there higher "quality" crowds where more than 1% of the people create. Is the IBM innovation jam model where tens of thousands of highly trained people "crowd" better at innovation than a more general group of people? Who really participates in social networking and what do they do? Who is active, who is passive and why? Huge questions here on social networking that we really need to answer in this pell mell rush to social networking.

Thank you Mark Vanderbeeken at Putting People First, one of the great innovation blogs around. You are so right on in selecting the good, provocative stuff.

12:46 PM

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What is the 1% rule? [The Guardian] from Putting people first

Very interesting article on the limits of user participation and co-creation by Charles Arthur in the technology section of today’s The Guardian, here copied in its entirety.

“It’s an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if yo... [Read More]

Tracked on July 30, 2006 08:23 PM

Finding the Builders and Other Connective Thoughts from reBang weblog

Needless to say, I’m still struggling to find time to post entries. And when I stop in to some of the other blogs I favor, I’ve noticed that they too are apparently being otherwise occupied. So rather than try to put together a coherent po... [Read More]

Tracked on August 15, 2006 02:35 PM

I'm not really sure about those percentages. Although I have no clear factual research in percentages on this yet.......

My idea is that it might depend on PEOPLE, BENEFIT, CULTURE, BRAND, TOOLS, TOPIC, TECHNOLOGY, and more.

Who are these PEOPLE? Are they Lead Users?(users who are ahead of the majority of users and will BENEFIT from creating and sharing content for reasons of open innovation?) See also Von Hippel's "Democratizing Innovation". Or are they the "average man on the street" who are creating content for their own direct BENEFIT, for example like one does on Ebay.(How are the percentages there???)

Is there a strong community CULTURE where people are used to creating, sharing and interacting with each other? Does the BRAND appeal strongly and stimulate interaction?

Moreover, the better and nicer the creative TOOLS supplied, the more people will be engaged in co-creating. They must be highly user-friendly, stimulating and effective.

The TOPIC must trigger you. People need to feel a strong urge to create content. The topic might be of their greatest hobby or interest. The information given might be incorrect. Or it might be a highly controversial topic which requires immediate discussion or contribution.

Furthermore it might be argued that TECHNOLOGY is important too, as some online content collaborations are automatic / by default. That's why Web 2.0 tools are so good as an enabler of this whole thing.

My hypothesis is that in the near future "businesses will become facilitators of user communities". We've seen it off-line and now we can see it on-line. But until now it was only a tip of the iceberg.....Many of the current business models need to change to become more profitable and competitive in the future.

If you are interested, I'm doing a Masters project on this topic, send me a mail:

What do you think?????

Posted by: Twan at July 30, 2006 06:25 PM

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