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Rule of thumb: Is 1-9-90 really correct?

Great article on the common Rule of Thumb for social media sites: 1% create, 9% comment, and 90% are just lurkers. What are the real numbers? Read here.

This is a solid discussion piece for anyone who’s designing for community-based web applications.

Funnel of interaction

On a related topic, I’ve generally thought of it more that you have a "funnel of interaction" for what you can ask users to do. That means that for every reader comment, there’ll be 100 people who vote on a poll. And for every person that votes on a poll, you’ll have 100 people who view the article. And so on.

Here’s an example of things that are easy to get people to do, to hard things:

  1. Grokking your idea or reading about your site
  2. Most people will look at a page on your site
  3. Clicking from one page to another
  4. Clicking on a button or voting
  5. Adding a comment or short free-form text input
  6. Filling out a multiple input form
  7. Creating an input based on multi-page thing
  8. Downloading and installing an application

In fact, sites that require you to install something right away to use the site end up fighting an uphill battle. What you want instead is to let people participate on any level they choose, and to let them progress to higher and higher levels of commitment at their own leisure.

That’s why I’m a big fan of sites that:

  • Don’t require registration to be useful
  • Don’t require application downloads
  • Reward you for participating, even if you’re not a content producer

Just a couple random thoughts on the interaction thing.

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