- 90% of users are ‘browsers’ who read or watch but do not actively contribute.
- 9% of users are ‘editors’ who modify content or add to an existing page but rarely create new content.
- 1% of users are ‘creators’ who add new content.
Wow! 1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing.
This is not to place a value on the subsets. Creators need editors and an audience. Lurking is perhaps too strong a word as these fans or followers are not altogether passive, particularly if they pay a return visit. Readers and viewers play a critical role. There’s a job for everyone (sort of like there’s a position for everyone in rugby including the fans in the stands!)
That said, is there a way to overcome the participation inequality? Perhaps … by creating events in which the internet savvy meet face to face with those less savvy and incorporate suggestions. But for the most part experts say ‘no.’ Adding members to one group will affect the others.
My only recommendation for those developing online collaborative projects is to talk it over with colleagues and determine in advance what success looks like. Far too many people think that communication is easier than it is. If you have a forum that attracts a lot of attention, but you find yourself asking ‘Why are you not posting?‘ … this theory helps explain what’s happening … and you can make the necessary adjustments to bolster more engaged participation.