What is 90 10 1

The Unequal Distribution of Actors - The 90-9-1 Nielsen Rule.

If you look at "Ideastorm" from Dell, for example, you can see that the 90-9-1 rule of the distribution of activities between idea generators, commentators and evaluators still seems to be pretty accurate today. Nevertheless, I think that this Nielsen rule has to be redefined today in the Web 2.0 era.

The interesting thing about Web 2.0 is that the 90-9-1 rule can be broken in a quantitative and qualitative sense. From a quantitative perspective, it is important to understand that the user base in the "Read-Write-Web" is now many times larger than in the "Read-Only Web" and that alone creates network effects that are known as "Collective" Intelligence "and" Collaborative Intelligence "are discussed.

For the "1% users", from a qualitative perspective, there are not only much more, but also broader media options for producing and providing content: texts, videos, audios, photos, but also, for example, designs and color samples or software in professional communities. The assumption of responsibility for content as a moderator in communities or the generation of higher quality content through "content aggregation" also belong in this category. The "9% users" can, for example, comment on the content of the "1% users" in Web 2.0, post, annotate, tag and rate their content in "social news" platforms or provide their bookmarks as an RSS feed. And the "90% users" enable the creation of "Top 10 lists" of the most frequently read articles ("Collaborative Filtering") by reading the contents of the other two groups, and make their personal bookmarks available via "Social Bookmarking" platforms or enable automatically generated recommendations ("Customers who bought this article also bought ...").

Web 2.0 is no longer so much about "active" vs. "passive", about "creator" vs. "user". Therefore, in a first step, one should consider calling the Nielsen groups "Contributors", "From Time to Time Contributors" and "Lurkers" in a more positive way as "Creators", "Synthesizers" and "Consumers". Another proposal is to be distinguished, for example, into "Creators", "Customizers" and "Personalizers".

As one of the main points of criticism in the discussion of a simple application of the 90-9-1 rule with regard to Web 2.0, I see that the paradigm of mass communication still dominates and the idea of ​​the "long tail" is not given enough consideration. As one commenter put it aptly:

"User-generated content is not just about 1% users creating high quality content to be viewed by 100%. But about a lot of 0.001% viewing content of a lot of 0.001%."

Another indication that the 90-9-1 rule no longer applies in the Web 2.0 era can be found in Aaron Swartz. In "Who Writes Wikipedia" he pointed out that "in fact the most active 2%, which is 1400 people, have done 73.4% of all the edits". That would support the classic 90-9-1 rule. However, new content is brought in by people who do not belong to the group of "most active" insiders:

".. an outsider makes one edit to add a chunk of information, then insiders make several edits tweaking and reformatting it. In addition, insiders rack up thousands of edits doing things like changing the name of a category across the entire site - the kind of thing only insiders deeply care about. As a result, insiders account for the vast majority of the edits. But it's the outsiders who provide nearly all of the content. "

A Web 2.0 application is therefore not unsuccessful if only a small proportion of the users generate content. Everyone has their role, which can change over time. Rather, we should take a look at the intention of the Nielsen rule, namely to develop concepts of how future applications can be designed with regard to broader opportunities for participation. And with regard to Web 2.0 applications, think about how we can also support "synthesizers" and "personalizers" with good functionalities. And in companies it is not only important to find and implement technological ideas, how employees can be motivated to make their contribution to the company's success.