updating the 1,9,90 rule from the BBC

The BBC released some interesting research around participation online. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2012/05/bbc_online_briefing_spring_201_1.html


One of the defining characteristics of digital media is interaction. It enables us to be active, make choices, build connections, express ourselves and exercise a new level of control over our media experiences.

But how active is the UK online population really? And how might this change in years to come?

With these questions in mind, my team and I conducted a large-scale, long-term investigation into how the UK online population participates using digital media today - from sharing links, to writing blogs and uploading photos. And it revealed a fascinating, and at times, surprising picture.

Like the population itself, the picture is nuanced but six striking themes emerged:

  1. The model which has guided many people's thinking in this area, the 1/9/90 rule, is outmoded. The number of people participating online is significantly higher than 10%.
  2. Participation is now the rule rather than the exception: 77% of the UK online population is now active in some way.
  3. This has been driven by the rise of 'easy participation': activities which may have once required great effort but now are relatively easy, expected and every day. 60% of the UK online population now participates in this way, from sharing photos to starting a discussion.
  4. Despite participation becoming relatively 'easy', almost a quarter of people (23%) remain passive - they do not participate at all.
  5. Passivity is not as rooted in digital literacy as traditional wisdom may have suggested. 11% of the people who are passive online today are early adopters. They have the access and the ability but are choosing not to participate.
  6. Digital participation now is best characterised through the lens of choice. These are the decisions we take about whether, when, with whom and around what, we will participate. Because participation is now much more about who we are, than what we have, or our digital skill.