The 80/20 Rule is Alive and Well in #Blogchat

by Mack Collier

I honestly don’t spend a lot of time diving into the stats and numbers behind how people are participating in #Blogchat, because ‘what gets measured gets managed’ too often.  But I decided to check out the numbers this week since Paper.Li is on as sponsor for December.

What I thought was interesting was that almost exactly 80% of the tweets came from the top 20% of the contributors.  There were a total of 250 contributors to the #blogchat hashtag last night.  Of those:

The Top 10 contributors accounted for 34% of the tweets.  That means the top 4% of the contributors were responsible for over a third of the tweets.

(Sidenote:  I was the top overall contributor, and accounted for roughly 5% of the total tweets.  Lesson:  It pays to be an active member of any online community you are trying to grow.)

Past that, the Top 20 contributors accounted for approximately 51% of the tweets.

The Top 50 accounted for 79% of the tweets.  Since there were 250 contributors, that means that 20% of the contributors created 79% of the tweets.

In other words, 80% of the content is being created by 20% of the people.  Those Top 50 contributors have a HUGE impact on the entire flow and tone of the larger conversation taking place.  Again, it’s no accident that I was the top contributor because when I take an active role in participating in the #blogchat conversation, I have more control over shaping that conversation.

This is exactly why I constantly harp on the need for brands to actively participate in the online conversation around their brand.  That conversation will happen with or without your brand, so why wouldn’t you want to take an active role in that conversation, and as a result have more control over its flow and tone?

So if you are trying to build an online community, remember to always think about how you can reward the behavior you are trying to encourage.  For example, there’s a couple of things I want to encourage each week with #Blogchat:

1 – Great conversations.  So I try to respond to every reply I get, plus I am constantly asking everyone questions about the topic at hand to get them engaging with me and everyone else.  Plus, I will scan the tweets and see when others are making points, and I will ask them to expound on their point, or maybe I will offer a counter-point.  The bottom line is that there are a lot of smart people in #Blogchat, and it’s up to me to find ways to get them to share what they know.

2 – Participation by newbies.  I will be the first to admit that I never see about 90% of the tweets in #blogchat.  There’s simply too much happening, look at the transcript, there were over 2,000 tweets.  At best, I could see 300-400 of those.  But if I ever see someone tweet that it’s their first time joining #Blogchat, I will always reply to them and thank them for coming.  Because what better way to encourage someone to keep participating in a chat than by responding to their first tweet in the chat?  And I am constantly asking other #blogchat regulars to please welcome new contributors, and to help them with any questions they have.  I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see 2-3 other #Blogchat regulars welcome a newbie before I can even reply to them ;)

If you have started a Twitter chat or a Facebook group or a message board, have you seen similar stats as far as contributors?  What have you done to reward engagement within your community?


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