Even if you’ve read his book, it’s worth watching Clay Shirky’s perceptive piece on how participation is changing the media we consume. However, this article from Jakob Neilsen suggests that only 1 per cent of users of social media are regular contributors, 10 per cent occasional contributors and the remaining 90 per cent lurkers – people who never, or almost never, contribute.
What does this mean? Well this kind of pattern isn’t actually so unusual. Most people rarely use anything other than a small range of features of any electronic device: never learning to program their video recorder or check their e-mails on their phone, even when they specifically bought those devices because they had those features.
However, even though most of the crowd never use the social features you build into a platform, it’s important to understand that they want to know they’re there, they want to feel included, they want to know they can get involved if they feel like it.