Over the last couple of years I’ve heard lots about how valid the 1/9/90 rule (aka the 1% rule) is these days in our communities. I’m interested in hearing what you guys think here in the Feverbee forums. Is it still a valid model/rule, if so how can you move people through the different levels? If not, then why not? What’s it evolved in to? Do people see this within your own communities? Or does your community buck this well written about trend?
Good question, @Nick_Emmett. I’ve never been entirely clear where the divide is between the 1% and the 9%.
While we aspire to convert readers into active (contributing) participants… we do need to bear in mind that membership of any community - offline or online - is not linear. I prefer the ‘community lifecycle’ idea, which is realistic given the ebbs and flows of changing lifestyles and work.
Participation is a dance not an escalator.
I used to have a blog post I wrote in 2009 dedicated to this question, but it’s vanished in the move I think. The short answer is, no…
It’s an observation from one tiny sector applied broadly to every type of community imaginable.
It’s best analogy is perhaps income inequality.
The top 1% own 48% of the USA’s wealth (or something thereabouts). But that doesn’t make it a rule. It’s an observation of what’s happening in one nation at one point in time. The difference between Sweden/Norway/Austria at one side of the continuum (most equal) and South Africa/Angola/Brazil at the other is huge.
A rule is predictive, explanative. and repetitive. 90-9-1 doesn’t fit any of those. Yes there is participation inequality in most communities, but that’s a combination of poor terminology, the community ageing (and members not removing their accounts), and bad practice in engaging newcomers.
You’re right @richard_millington, in terms of a rule, well it’s not a really a rule - but it is a good thing to consider from an awareness perspective. I don’t believe it or not believe it, however I do see similar similarities in my own community. From our roughly 1000 members, roughly 10% are the ones contributing, (at least regularly).
One way I’m thinking of this is by monitoring the “Reputation Levels” within the Salesforce Community platform. People get a certain number of points depending on theirs, and others activity; i.e. a point for posting but 5 if someone likes it, or comments on it, or shares it. I’m noticing our 10%ers are in the top levels of 3-5, these are the people that are posting questions, sharing tips and advice and blog posts.
Like I say I’m indifferent to it’s validity, but am definitely conscious of it’s existence and potential.
Aside, this is one of those rare areas where @joecothrel and I disagree. It’s how we first came to know each other actually.
But I stand by pretty much everything I said in this post, I think it’s more a mixture of bad terminology and a bunch of other things. There certainly is participation inequality, but it’s now a ‘rule’ and it shouldn’t be 90 - 9 -1.
In my case, 10 active regular writers out of 400 registered users, which is about 2.5%.
So I think 1% rule is still there.