Is the 1/9/90 rule still true?

I picked up an interesting BBC story this morning via Econsultancy

The BBC have conducted a survey to look at the levels of participation on the the internet. They discovered a few things:

  1. The model which has guided many people’s thinking in this area, the 1/9/90 rule, is outmoded. The number of people participating online is significantly higher than 10%.
  2. Participation is now the rule rather than the exception: 77% of the UK online population is now active in some way.


If true it makes that mediums like Twitter much more valuable. The 1/9/90 principle meant a response on Twitter was coming from a sample of only 1% of your audience, which is pretty meaningless. Now it is 77% which is more worthwhile.

That is if it is true, which I’m dubious about. My issue is that those most likely to contribute to the web are also those most likely to fill out this survey. I think 77% is mostly likely an over-exaggeration but also that 1% is too low. Participation has become too easy, especially if you count something as simple as a re-tweet with no additional comment included.