SmoothSpan Blog

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The Rule of 10’s Makes the Internet an Early Adopter Amplifier

Posted by Bob Warfield on July 1, 2008

There is a rule of 10’s at work with participation on the Internet.  If we have a community of 100, it works like this:

1 user creates new content:  A blog post or a Wiki page, for example.

10x that, or 10 users, interact with the content:  They leave a comment, for example, or edit the Wiki page.

100x that, or 100 users, read the content.

The moral of that story is that very few of the participants actually produce all the value.  About 10% in fact, and of those, only 10% (or 1%) total, are creating the fabric on which we all depend.  The content, in other words.

Don Dodge calls this the Social Pyramid.  I’ve seen it written about in many other places and even derived the numbers for myself from data on communities I’m attached to.

Interesting stuff, but what’s my point?

Flash forward to Louis Gray’s post about the rapid adoption of FriendFeed in his readership.  Apparently, it’s reached a point where 78% of his comments come via FriendFeed.  At the same time, we read Scoble is declaring blogging comments dead for similar reasons.  (Hmmm, don’t see a way to Trackback for Scoble, that has other interesting ramifications, but it’s off topic.)

I’m struck by the relationship of the rapid uptake of FriendFeed and the Social Pyramid.  I have to conclude that not only are the very few, the 10%, doing all the work, but that they are also Early Adopters.  How else to explain that uptake for Louis? 

For the marketing savvy out there, that would tend to imply that you need to invest in the new new things like Twitter and FriendFeed well before they become mainstream if you want to reap the benefits of lots of buzz on the Internet.  For others, it is interesting just how much the Internet empowers the Early Adopter crowd.  Part of it stems from the fact that they seem to be the one most willing to vote.

5 Responses to “The Rule of 10’s Makes the Internet an Early Adopter Amplifier”

  1. benkepes said

    Bob – agree that investors need to get in early on these rapidly accelerating offerings, however I can’t think that the faster the early adopters jump on to new products, the more “while noise” we enter into the equation. Basically I question whether some of these products will cross the chasm from early adopters to mass market – part of the reason for this is a distortion caused, in part, by the speed of uptake.

    It’s a concept that is begging for one of those beautiful diagrams you seem to product so easily – would be keen to hear your thought on this…

  2. Louis Gray said

    Just for clarification purposes, the comment % from FriendFeed is 78% of the number I get from the blog, not 78% of the total.

    FF = .78(Blog), not FF = .78(Blog+FF)

  3. smoothspan said

    No question there are chasm risk inherent Ben, but that’s okay. Look at it this way:

    By giving the early adopters a disproportionate voice, the Internet amplifies their ability to impact the later adopters. Your challenge as a business is to provide enough interest for the early adopters that they’ll talk loudly about your offering which is still capable of appealing to the larger later adopter market.

    Of course there may also be enough early adopters for you to have a nice business. Somewhere I have a link that indicates the iPhone is still an early adopter phenomenon. For a lot of companies the iPhone business would be a very happy thing even if it could not be grown any further!



  4. […] Kann ich wirklich nur empfehlen und muss ihm da vollkommen zustimmen! Es geht um die sogenannte “Rule of 10″ und einen Blogartikel von Bob […]

  5. […] In sum, let me quote: […]

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