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?


Amy Schmittauer December 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I will admit that I have a hard time with this chat, but only because there are SO many people. It’s like fabulous content overload! I have mad respect for those top 20% who have figured out a way to have meaningful and benficial conversation in such a busy atmosphere. I think I’ll give this another go next week. Interesting stats, Mack.

Mack Collier December 3, 2012 at 6:07 am

Amy my darlin’ please give it another shot 😉 I think a lot of the ‘power’ users have figured out who the other active users are, and they mostly interact with them. Then mix in a few replies to others as they can, and there you go. I do the same thing.

I will look for you next week, what’s your Twitter name?

Amy Schmittauer December 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm

@Schmittastic. I’ll see you there.

rsmithing December 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Interesting analysis – and good on you for doing the digging, Mack. I’m more active at some blogchats than others, and last night’s is a good example. I was so busy checking out conversations and links that before I knew it, an hour had flown by. Still, it’s useful and relevant stuff, so it’s time well spent. And good to see you make a point of welcoming newcomers. The friendly vibes are probably why this chat is continually so popular.

Tom Martin December 4, 2012 at 7:44 am


Now this is pretty cool data. I’d love to see you do this periodically and maybe encourage some of your fellow TweetChat hosts (maybe Jessica and others like her) to do the same analysis.

The data really brings a different perspective to the chat space and I’d be interested to see if what you found is an outlier or a true trend.

Thanks for sharing it Mack.

Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case December 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

It wasn’t so very long ago that I was a BlogChat newbie, and I certainly remember Mack’s warm welcome. That, and the reminder that “there are no experts on BlogChat.” I.E.: Everyone is welcome to participate. Clearly the formula is working!

Eric Butts December 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Mack, this is interesting data and as I’ve mentioned before, I work with businesses on performance metrics and incentives all of the time. My question to you is based on the point you made about rewarding behaviors. You shared the two things you want to encourage but didn’t talk much about how you will reward that behavior, moreso with point 1 than point 2. Can you expand on that and how you could potentially get “established” bloggers interacting more with the rest of the group.

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