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This is the first post from Kelvin Beecroft, head of Mashable Labs. Mashable Labs conducts unique research into social networks, particularly MySpace and YouTube. For now, you can contact the Labs via the existing consulting page.
MySpace gets lots of criticism for flaunting the 100 million+ registered users they have. While that most likely is an accurate number of accounts, those generating the actual content on MySpace are likely far fewer. I took it to task to find out just how many of those users are truly building MySpace with user-generated content.
I recently collected samples for a report on the top video sharing sites on MySpace and will use that for the basis in determining who’s creating most of the content. This methodology could also include photos, MySpace widgets and the like, but I think we’ll have the same results in the end. Looking at the video samples shows that nearly two-thirds of all user accounts are virtually silent.
Take a look at these two tables. The one on the left shows a sample of users reduced from a population of over 1.2 million accounts. The reduction was taken according to the Mashable Labs formula for ranking user activity. With a sample of 362,824 accounts, just 30.19% of the total sample, I found 84.22% of the content-generating users.
To you stat-heads this will look very familiar to the Pareto principle (80-20 rule) which states that 80% of the consequences result from 20% of the causes. We could likewise say that 30% of the causes (MySpace users) result in 84% of the consequences (MySpace content). I’d guess that if we narrow the users down to the top 20% in terms of activity we’d find close to 80% of the content on MySpace. Cool, huh?
This analysis demonstrates three things. First, a majority of MySpace user accounts are inactive. Second, by filtering inactive user accounts it’s possible to work with a much smaller sample for analysis. Third, the Mashable Labs user rank formula works.