The Lurker to Contributor ratio

I picked this up courtesy of Beth Kanter’s blog, regarding a recent survey conducted in the education sector on use of Web 2.0 tools. The survey summary analysis is available under a Creative Commons license from David White, JISC funded ‘SPIRE’ project 2007 Survey. I was particularly interested in the data on the ratio between contributors to lurkers for on-line communities, an area I’ve previously commented on (Re the "1% Rule"). The survey reveals a much higher proportion (20%) who regularly contribute to social networking sites (e.g. Flickr, YouTube etc.), which I suspect might be skewed due to the demographic (education sector plus majority of respondents under 21?). It certainly doesn’t reflect my own experience in setting up communities of practice in the public sector (local government) where it’s closer to the 1% rule.

It’s difficult to avoid making generalisations on a survey of this type, but it was also apparent that even within this survey demographic, there was a remarkable lack of knowledge about Web 2.0 social book-marking tools, looking at the high proportion of respondents who said they had never heard of or stumbleupon, and a strange inconsistency between the high proportion of respondents who had never heard of a wiki, and the relatively small proportion who had never heard of wikipedia. I would have thought they could have deduced some connection from the wikipedia name. Ho hum!

Download online_tool_use_surveysummary.pdf



  1. Beth said:

    I like the pie charts though. What other research studies regarding the adoption of web2.0 tools have you found useful?

    March 23, 2007
  2. Steve Dale said:

    To be honest, I haven’t followed many research studies. I have been mainly interested in the take-up and use of Web 2.0 tools, and try to keep up with what the big vendors are doing (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Google). I used to be a member of KIN ( who are affiliated to Warwick University. They are involved in various research activities, but more form the knowledge management perspective than purely Web 2.0

    March 23, 2007
  3. Ed said:

    As well as this, something always worth noting when comparing participation rates in communities/networks is the context – professional networks will always have less participation proportionally than play ones – I reckon this is part demographic, part context, and part common sense. Now, what was I doing, oh yes, putting some photos up on flickr 🙂

    April 5, 2007

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