Shawn Callahan at Anecdote reports on The emerging 1% rule (that has been reported by many others as well)
The Guardian has pulled together some statistics suggesting that for every 100 people online only 1 person will create content and 10 will “interact” with it. The other 89 will just view it.
This is pretty consistent with what I've observed in ten plus years of being a viewer and a participant in a wide variety of online communities. And its in the ballpark of numbers I have seen discussed previously. Nice to see a study confirming these observations.
Why is this important? When you have a community, whether you've all attended the same training course or you share a common interest in numismatics, smaller groups are going to have a harder time getting going unless you happen to have that one person in 100 who is more likely to be the "content creator." Without her, the rest of the people will find it difficult to stay engaged in the community. Or in the words of the Guardian article:
So what's the conclusion? Only that you shouldn't expect too much online. Certainly, to echo Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. The trouble, as in real life, is finding the builders.