An article at Time’s web site asks Who’s Really Participating in Web 2.0.
The writer then goes on to present some evidence that very few web users are actually contributing to the content.
According to Hitwise, only 0.2% of visits to YouTube are users uploading a video, 0.05% visits to Google Video include uploaded videos and 0.16% of Flickr visits are people posting photos. Only the social encyclopedia Wikipedia shows a significant amount of participation, with 4.56% of visits to the site resulting in content editing.
Those numbers are interesting but I think he’s missing the bigger picture.
The participatory web include far more than just the few high profile sharing sites spotlighted in this article (and practically every other one on the topic of web 2.0).
What about the 70,000,000+ blogs in the world, both the posts themselves and the comments? Can we ignore all the material being posted hourly in MySpace, Friendster, and other social networking sites?
Digg, Delicious, Twitter, discussion boards of all kinds.
Now I doubt that all of these contributions reflect more than ten percent of web users. (I’m certainly not going to estimate quality :-) But that’s still much larger than the 1% claimed by this writer.
A more important way to assess the read/write web, however, is to look at the explosive growth in participation over the past five years, or even the last two.
Sure the numbers of people building the web is small. But it’s getting less small every day.