The Loneliest Number

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An interesting piece in the Guardian last week, especially for those designing for the web: “What is the 1% Rule?” Contrary to what the Web 2.0 hype has gotten into our collective, idealistic brains, the article reports that the actual interaction between a site and its users, is around just 1%. Meaning that, if your site gets 100 readers, only 1 of that group will post comments. The initial ideas for how much back-and-forth goes on, particularly now that the internet seems to want to become more a dialogue than just a whole bunch of individual speeches, was around 80% non-interaction, 20% interaction, but this appears to be way off. Even YouTube, which serves a bazillion people, is only stated as opperating at around 0.5%. Really interesting, and something to really consider if you’re thinking of jumping onto the bandwagon and hoping that you’ll get loads of participating users to generate content for you. Might want to think again. Here’s some:

Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo points out that much the same applies at Yahoo: in Yahoo Groups, the discussion lists, “1% of the user population might start a group; 10% of the user population might participate actively, and actually author content, whether starting a thread or responding to a thread-in-progress; 100% of the user population benefits from the activities of the above groups,” he noted on his blog in February.