When I talk to customers about how to ensure they get new social software platforms such as wikis and bogs adopted in their organisation, I often set their expectations around the 90-9-1 rule. This has roughly corresponded with most consumer based platforms such as Flickr which shows only 1% of users actively initiate new contributions. A further 9% will ‘follow’ and are happy to contribute once they see the 1% in action. A further 90% will only ever take content out of a system, they will not contribute. This seems to follow most people’s experience in a seminar. At the end when the speaker asks for any questions there is an uncomfortable pause, then 1% of the audience might ask a question. Once the mould has been broken, a further 9% are keen to ask the second, third, fourth question etc. The remaining 90% may never ask a question (if they are desperate, they may hang around after the seminar to try and grab the speaker privately!) I use this analogy to try to set expectations around usage, but also encourage organisations to find that 1% early and nurture them as champions and evangelists.
Sherif Mansour has posted a great blog post about his experience of wiki adoption in his organisation. What was exciting for me was he saw 90-9-1 hold initially, but with internal adoption it’s more like 60-20-20. This is great news for enterprise wiki adoption. I think I’ll stick to 90-9-1 for now to set expectations, and if they end up with 60-20-20 they will be pleasantly surprised!