Reuters missing the point on web 2.0 participation rates

April 29, 2007 at 10:31 am 1 comment

Recently Reuters wrote about a study that claimed, among other things, that:

Web 2.0, a catchphrase for the latest generation of Web sites where users contribute their own text, pictures and video content, is far less participatory than commonly assumed, a study showed on Tuesday.

According the the article, this position was defending based on the following:

  • .16% of Youtube visitors upload videos
  • .20% of Flickr visitors upload photos
  • 4.6% of Wikipedia visitors edit content

This is just another weak article looking to gather eyeballs about the latest trend: social networking (I guess it worked, I looked at it).  Now, I am in the camp of believing there is a big social networking bubble building (maybe more on this later), but I hardly go along with the point of this article and associated study. 

In my view it misses the point of what user participation is all about.  There is a continuum of contribution types from thick to thin that all bring value to the participative web.  So, what is User Generated  / participation?

  • Video uploads? and or the ratings they receive?
  • Photo uploads? and or the ratings they receive?
  • Q/A pairs in forums and newsgroups?
  • Digg votes?
  • User reviews in Amazon?
  • Votes in Dell ideastorm?
  • Blog posts?  Blog comments?
  • Bookmarking in delicious?
  • etc…

I’m in the “it is all of these things camp”…and more.  This article essentially looks only at what I would call “thick” or heavy content contributors.  I believe the value of the “thin” contributor to community is dramatically under-appreciated by community developers/hosters/strategists – and now by researchers.  More people (maybe me included) authoring and talking about the same topics…or more users asking and answering the same questions in communities brings rapidly diminishing value to the overall community.  Over time, the fairly easy contribution of tagging and rating arguably brings the greatest value (think Tag Drafting).  It seems that today the thick community contributors get all the props!  Well, it’s high time props go to the thin contributors!!! 

Keep of the great work tagger’s, rankers, raters, voters, etc….

Sean

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      1 Comment Add your own

      • 1. Howard  |  April 29, 2007 at 7:34 pm

        I’m surprised that 4.6% of people edit Wikipedia content. As that seems much more labor intensive than uploading content to Flickr or Youtube.

        Reply

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