In the last few days, a report on “consumer generated media” by analysis firm Hitwise is doing the rounds. Snaps like the low-looking participation at YouTube and Flickr (0,16% upload videos, 0,2% upload photos respectively, or so Hitwise finds) have helped it make it to the headlines. The 4,6% of visitors that purportedly edit or add content to wikipedia is cause of curiosity too. Their conclusion that social and “Web 2.0” media is gaining traction seem contradictory.
In the face of it, Hitwise’s numbers are counterintuitive. I simply don’t believe (based on experience) that 4,6% percent of Wikipedia visitors have ever edited or created content. The real figure is probably quite lower. The other two might pass muster, I’m not so familiar with them.
Community-generated content is a very interesting issue. Participation has long been a key index of community health, and indeed a nice proxy for quantity of content. Quality content has often been the main draw for community visitors. While that’s not the whole picture, and communities of practice follow different dynamics, those figures are relevant.
There was a recent study on community participation from some serious university; I’ll try to post the download link here to complement this.