I stumbled on another, similar, rule today. Not the 80/20 rule, but the 1% Rule. From Church of the Customer: Roughly 1% of your site visitors will create content within a democratized community.
Ben McConnell goes on to say,
It would appear that small groups of people often turn out to be the principal value creators of a democratized community. Over time, their work fuels widespread interaction that engages the non-participating community and attracts new ones. If continually nurtured, the community can become a self-sustaining generator of content and value.So what's this tell us? One thing it tells me is that while many people might use a particular community tool, very few will actually add content to it. I think of the Coast Guard's CG Central initiative. CG Central is an intranet portal which is supposed to provide a one-place-for-everything initiative. It only works, of course, if it's populated. From the 1% rule, we might see that only 1% of the community members -- all military members and civilian employees -- will actually add content through microsites or other CG Central tools.
Beyond the 1%, evidently 10% will "synthesize" the content, or interact with it, according to the post. So, nearly 90% of the community will merely read it, another 10% will perhaps comment on the content, and only 1% will actually create content.