Jakob Nielsen – 90:9:1 Rule

from Dr. Jakob Nielsen UseIt.com:

Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute

In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

It depends, it depends, it depends… (on size and purpose mainly). Oh and he says don’t use graphics on your site, which is an old rule for the same old reason – people with slow bandwidth. I don’t know about that one – my members usually aren’t on dial-up…

EDIT: cos the long tail of blog content is catching up with me and I need to clarify stuff 2 years on…


We used to be passive – eyeballs consuming daily dinners served up to us by others. It took a few years and we slowly started creating – blogs are intensive, as are YouTube vids, podcasts and Flickr fotos.  Depth of content sites started and abandoned. Today we use more distribution (facebook) and communication (Twitter, IM) tools – less intensive, more collaborative.  By the way, TripAdvisor Opens in a new tab.(15 million members) has a 30% – YES THIRTY PER CENT – creator ratio. 1 in 3 people return from a trip armed with fotos, videos and reviews to share back to the community. Dr Jakob Nielsen is sometimes a weather vane for an old way of thinking on other issues too. Always question ‘experts’.  And strategists. Heh.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

11 thoughts on “Jakob Nielsen – 90:9:1 Rule

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you Laurel. The time of pure consumption is beginning to fade into memory and these days the reader/community member is more inclined to want to participate and create.

  2. @SilkCharm @cindyalvarez Gd pts http://twurl.nl/xubsv8 -but 90:9:1 is just rule of thumb not law. 🙂 Also, Forrester model != whole pic.

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