Victus Spiritus


The Motivation for Contributing to User Generated Content Sites

25 Jan 2011

Why post to Facebook, Twitter, Hacker News or Reddit? Why blog on Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr or Posterous? Why answer questions on Quora? All of these activities can be traced back to social motivation. The desire to share something cool with other folks is a big part of what drives the commercial internet today.

The following riff is inspired by a Quora question and my comment on Mark Suster's answer/post The 1/9/90 Rule of UGC & Why It’s OK to Have Lurkers. In the post Mr. Suster elaborates on the motivators for contributing to third party owned networks, my contribution follows:

Power users are a disproportionally influential and resource intensive group. They prove that inequality is a fact of life on the web, be it from platforms, content, or hacker skill. Services that remain valuable to the other groups (lurkers / contributors) always end up having to balance features with the power users in mind.

MMORPGs are a perfect example of this effect on a network. They (developers) spend 80% of the time generating fresh content for 1% of the users (in this case dedicated raiders at level cap).

But more important is the fact that individual users can't always understand the motivation behind other groups. They understand their own group but the others appear incomprehensible.

"One Percenters" are the most affected by this clustering, because 99% of the rest of the user base has no idea why they go so nutz over a given service.

You (Mark Suster) mention:
- enjoyment from being a creator rather than just a reader
- creation of social status within the organization for having contributed
- rewards or perceived rewards for achieving status (kind of like collecting airline miles)
- self promotion
& socialization with other "One Percenters"

I think there may be other psychological reasons for extreme users. People like familiarity and confidence in predicting our surroundings. Extreme users intimately familiarize themselves with a service and actually shape the way more casual and lurkers interact with it.

Who are the "extreme users" or One Percenters of the investment world? Why do they do what they do? Creating investor value or growing one's own wealth is just the game of making more than x, y, or z after achieving FU money