There is a fascinating piece in the Guardian on research that shows that if you get 100 people online, 1 will create content, 10 will interact with it (comment or try to improve it) and 89 will just read and watch it.
The stats are drawn from YouTube which now has 60% of all online viewing. There are 100 million downlods and 65,000 uploads—1,539 downloads per upload and 20 million uniques per month. The “creator to consume ratio” is 0.5% but it is early days so this may improve.
At wikepedia, 70% of all articles are written by 1.8% of users.
What does the author of the Guardian piece< Charles Arthur, conclude? “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.”
This is a fundamental issue. If 1% of crowds are creators, then what is the difference between “experts” and “crowds?” What is the difference between professional historians who write encyclopedias and the “masses” of people who do? Where does the real value of crowds lie? Are there higher “quality” crowds where more than 1% of the people create. Is the IBM innovation jam model where tens of thousands of highly trained people “crowd” better at innovation than a more general group of people? Who really participates in social networking and what do they do? Who is active, who is passive and why? Huge questions here on social networking that we really need to answer in this pell mell rush to social networking.
Thank you Mark Vanderbeeken at Putting People First, one of the great innovation blogs around. You are so right on in selecting the good, provocative stuff.
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