There is a 99% chance that you have a social media account (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube Snapchat, LinkedIn or TikTok)
- Do you use any of them?
- What would you classify as “using”?
Putting things in perspective: I got on Twitter in March 2013 because I felt it was simply the insignificant musings of tech enthusiasts. I found a better way to use the app 85months after with close to 7000 tweets (+RTs).
- The reality of Twitter is most people never tweet.
- The reality of Communities is most people never contribute.
According to Pew Research Center Twitter stats, their analysis on personal users, and not institutional accounts, revealed that the top 10% of Twitter users contribute to 80% of all tweets, with the remaining 20% coming from the other 90%.
You don’t believe this? Take a look at these stats from the last tweet from the under listed accounts:
- Ariana Grande: 37.6k Comments, 103.6k RTs and 450.5k Likes
- Barack Obama: 5.8k Comments, 28k RTs and 138.3k Likes
- Cristiano Ronaldo: 2.3k Comments, 12.6k RTs and 169.2k Likes
- Donald Trump: 27k Comments, 40.2k RTs and 128.5k Likes
- Ellen DeGeneres: 82 Comments, 138RTs and 998 Likes
- Fundación Leo Messi: 407 Comments, 247 RTs and 2.7k Likes:
- Justin Bieber: 1.3k Comments, 5.2k RTs and 21.6k Likes
- Kanye West: 4.5k Comments, 19k RTs and 114.5k Likes
- Katy Perry: 739 Comments, 3.2k RTs and 20.4k Likes
- Lady Gaga: 326 Comments, 660 RTs and 4.6k Likes
- Rihanna:2.2k Comments, 21.1k RTs and 206.4k Likes
- Taylor Swift: 7.3k Comments, 20.4k RTs and 126.1k Likes
A closer look will make you realize that most users lurk around. Most users either click on the retweet and/or like buttons. Nothing more.
Currently, I have close to 1100 followers on Twitter and engagement rate could be as low as 2.5%. When it’s all goofy, it goes as high as 35%. This further buttress the emerging (unwritten) law of the internet culture that suggests that if you get a group of 1000 people online, only 10 will create content, 100 will “interact” with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 890 will just view it.
You don’t believe me? Jump on the analytics function of your favourite social media platform and let the statistics speak.
The statistics above is from my most viewed tweet in September 2020.
- 7,737 persons viewed it;
- 82 persons (representing 1.05%) interacted with the tweet.
I am showing these stats to prove the 1% postulation. By no means is this a primary indicator to measure my value on the internet. A better way to judge your value on the internet is your interactions and not likes or RTs.
Do yourself a favour by disconnecting from vanity metrics. Find joy in your creative process, not from the infrequent acknowledgement you might get.
Leverage the internet and find your opportunities. It is important that you accept the fact that community participation will always be unequal and focus on adding value to those who make your community a community.
However, there are ways to better equalize it, including:
- Make it easier to contribute.
- Edit, don’t create.Let users build their contributions by modifying existing templates rather than creating complete entities from scratch. Editing a template is more enticing! It also has a gentler learning curve than facing the dilemma of starting a fresh work. Reviewing a book has a gentler learning curve than having to write a book.
- Reward — but don’t over-reward — participants.Rewarding people for contributing will help motivate them to talk about your community, and thus will broaden your participant base. Although money is always the easiest way out, I do not encourage it. Provide valuable stuff for them! You can also give contributors preferential treatment such as discounts (in case of purchase) or advance notice of a new feature. However, it is crucial that you don’t give too much to the most active participants, or you’ll simply encourage them to take control of your system.
- Promote quality contributors.If you display all contributions equally, then people who post only when they have something important to say will be drowned out by the torrent of material from the hyperactive 1%. Instead, give extra prominence to good contributions and to contributions from people who have proven their value. In the case of Twitter, retweet comments of such followers and focus on comments they provide as a feedback funnel to know what they need.
Aesthetics and format also influence participation inequality for better or worse. Being aware of the problem is the first step to alleviating it, and finding ways to broaden participation will become even more important as the reach and impact of the internet continues to grow.
- Quality interactions and engagement is a better metrics to measure your value.
- Convert followers into friends.
- Schedule calls and embark on collaborative projects.
If there is an important question you should always ask yourself on the internet: How many persons have been triggered to implement your idea? Let impact be your drive.