Participation on Web 2.0 sites remains weak

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Web 2.0, a catchphrase for the latest generation of Web sites where users contribute their own text, pictures and video content, is far less participatory than commonly assumed, a study showed on Tuesday.

A tiny 0.16 percent of visits to Google’s top video-sharing site, YouTube, are by users seeking to upload video for others to watch, according to a study of online surfing data by Bill Tancer, an analyst with Web audience measurement firm Hitwise.

Similarly, only two-tenths of one percent of visits to Flickr, a popular photo-editing site owned by Yahoo Inc., are to upload new photos, the Hitwise study found.

The vast majority of visitors are the Internet equivalent of the television generation’s couch potatoes — voyeurs who like to watch rather than create, Tancer’s statistics show.

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(via Bruce Nussbaum)

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  1. These stories fail to mention that participation is defined rather narrowly, since participation on a social website involves more than just uploading photo’s or video’s – it’s unique for each site. You don’t have to upload photos to contribute to Flickr, and a lot of activity is going on behind the scenes which is aggregated meaningfully, eg. by commenting or marking a photo as a favorite. The participation ratio is thus not as binary as suggested by these statistics.