A rule about online engagement has floated around the internet for a while, called the Rule of Participation Inequality, or the 90-9-1 Rule. The rule goes something like this:
User participation in any online internet community generally follows the 90-9-1 rule:
- 90% of community members are lurkers who read or observe, but don't contribute
- 9% of community members edit or respond to content but don't create content of their own
- 1% of community members create new content
For anyone new to community management, this is a discouraging benchmark. If active participation is this low, what’s the point of creating an online community at all?
For organizations who’ve already launched an online community and don’t see high engagement, this rule might lead them to accept it’s the norm.
But we see communities generating impressive results for their organizations every day. To do that, a community needs to have solid engagement. The 90-9-1 rule just doesn’t align to that.
We decided it was time to re-look at the data so that we could have accurate expectations for engagement levels today.
Here's a sneak peak of what we found.