Twitter and the 80/20 Rule

New research by Bill Heil and Mikolaj Piskorski  over at Harvard Business School suggests that the old 80/20 rule is alive and well on Twitter – They surveyed 300,542 users, during May 2009 and found, among other things that:

10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the content. (This is compared with Wikipedia where the top 15% of the most prolific editors account for 90% of Wikipedia’s edits)

Over 50% of the sampled people updated their page less than 5 times a year (i.e. less than once every 74 days)

The statistic I’d like to know is ‘What percentage of the very high (and much disputed) number of daily Tweets sent  is high value-add content  and what % is distracting, albeit perhaps worthy noise?

Check out the Harvard working paper behind this information here:

I’m curious, what’s your favourite 80/20 take at the moment? Add your comment below.

By |2009-06-16T08:33:17+00:00June 9th, 2009|Uncategorized|2 Comments


  1. Richard Maybury June 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks Laura, your response and a conversation with my friend Benjamin Ellis, who I regard a pragmatic social media expert, has prompted me to blog further on this – once I get a meeting out of the way … more later.

  2. Laura June 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Richard, in fact 80/20 would be nirvana for tweeters!
    The perceived wisdom in online communities is 90:9:1 where 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action. See this site:

    BTW my 80/20 challenge today was.. 80% of a bid document I was working on did nothing but confuse me, caused 80% of my stress load and I’m only 20% certain that I understand half of it!

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