make-believe.org

Joining the ten percent

According to Jakob Nielsen โ€” whose official title is 'Usability guru', in case you didn't know, by dint of a decade of mainstream media reportage of human-computer interactions, though to be honest I fall into the category of young upstarts who think that Jakob's pedestal is perhaps higher than deserved, even if he does bring rigour to this profession of self-proclaimed experts who base their usability analyses on their own particular tastes and not much else, 'oh look, the command line is making a comeback' โ€” maybe I should start again.

According to Jakob Nielsen, usability guru, 'user participation often more or less follows a 90-9-1 rule' when it comes to big socially constructed edifices on the web. On YouTube, on Flickr, on Wikipedia, and so on, 90% of users are 'lurkers', 9% contribute haphazardly, and 1% of users dominate the production of content. If it is true (actually I think it varies widely according to the type and identity-building attributes of the content being produced, but his ratios are a useful generalisation of the splits) โ€” if it is true, this is an imbalance with really interesting consequences down the track. None of which I'm going to discuss.

My internet profile is indisputably lurkery. I've been lurking since at least 1997. It's not creepy or anything, and occasionally (like now) I do pop my head up, but by default I'm much more a consumer than a producer. Hell, I don't even have a MySpace.

Anyway, I must have seen a thousand YouTube videos in the last couple years. Tonight I thought I'd upload a couple, so I could join the 10 per cent, just to see what it's like. Here they are:

This is some Unionist choir, singing the Billy Bragg staple at Melbourne's Trades Hall, for the otherwise good fun launch of Shane Maloney's 'Sucked In' last Thursday (yes, that is Shane getting his head in the way the whole time).

These events are no place for a computer programmer, but after a few beers and a few wines, Kel and I did have an enjoyably vociferous dialogue with Tony Wilson, Angela Pippos and Ray Cassidy about the ramifications of Costello's budget on the forthcoming Federal election. Bananas were discussed, as was Dustin Fletcher and SportsBet. We were there because Inventive Labs recently developed Shane's site, and because there was an open bar tab. Anyway, the camera is a bit shaky because I was laughing so hard. Union choirs are an hilarious artefact of a bygone era in Australian politics.

And this is my token Wii video, which is the new picture of your cat. Enjoy:

Joseph | 12 May 2007

Sun 13 May 2007, 1:53PM Vincent

Looks like you guys are playing Supermodel Spat '07. A good game.

Who's Ray Cassidy, though? You like to drop names like sacks of flour, but this one had me stumped. Sports-related? Google failed me!

Sun 13 May 2007, 2:31PM Joseph

Ha, gotcha! He was just some guy. I don't distinguish between these various sacks of flour, Vince. It's all about the bread, innit?

Mon 14 May 2007, 4:54PM Secret admirer

Who's that guy in the wifebeater in the second clip? He's HOT.

Mon 14 May 2007, 5:03PM Joseph

According to the annotation on the video, he's a future Australian Prime Minister.

But you know, don't believe everything you read on the Net.

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