Reading this you could be forgiven for thinking that 'this sounds like a title from a University Essay' but I was sent this interesting principle today by a colleague who pointed out how this principle related to the discovery that '90% of Twitter content is created by 10% of the users' from the Harvard study which surfaced a couple of months ago.
This led me to think about whether this is actually a negative aspect of Twitter or not.
The media sensationalised this to take another pop at people who use twitter, and yet again bring up the boring generalisation that people on twitter tweet about their daily mundane thoughts, which apart from the amazingly dull one I read recently, "I'm having a coffee" (quickly unfollowed afterwards!) is not entirely true apart from the celeb twitter users.
The people who write this tedious and uncommunicative content usually get bored very quickly and generally don't have a lot of followers. They are wasting their time and that of any followers they have.
However, the users who write interesting things and communicate with their followers will be very active and more persuaded to post content and keep coming back again and again. This is the same as any Social Media platform. There are thousands of inactive and stagnant blogs, Facebook pages, Myspace pages etc from users who have dabbled, not got involved, left, and never come back. But the percentage of people active and using the platforms correctly is much less than the Social Media and social networks like to claim. This can generally be a bad thing for marketers but with Twitter, if you can get into it and use it properly you can gain and maintain access to these markets who will give back as much as you give them. So 10% (of 110 million worldwide / 7.5 million UK users) of influential users to dominating the market isn't a bad figure if you can join them.
When you consider that these 10% of users are the influencers who make the content which is then communicated to the other 90%; the opportunities to be one of these 10% or be communicating actively with this 10% to then spread the word you can reach to a lot of people with little effort.
Now you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with the 'pareto principle'. Well the Pareto principle shows the power law relationship is related to the percentage of users on Twitter where the minority of the people have the power to control. In relation to the pareto principle it is money, but with Twitter the power and control is more measured in influence, which is the most valuable commodity on Social Media, e.g. 10% of the people have 90% of the communicative and influencing power on twitter.
The success of Social Media campaigns can be easily related to influence as campaigns that did little or nothing to influence people were dead in the water, where as campaigns which did a lot to influence, interest, engage and communicate with the users were the ones which were hugely successful. This comes down to this 10% power.
The crux of this article of this is that if you're going to use Twitter for your business you need to be a part of this 10% of content producers. Reading tweets is all well and good but interacting, getting involved, and becoming an influencer and influencing influencers is key to becoming successful with Social Media Marketing.