Lurkers & Web4Lib

Sloan, Bernie bernies at
Mon Feb 14 16:36:45 EST 2005

In an earlier note Bill Drew said:

"It makes me wonder how many lurkers are out there."

It's my impression that the vast number of subscribers on any list are
lurkers. I have an old file that I got from running some ListProc
commands about two years ago. It was basically a count of subscribers
and how many times they had posted a note to Web4Lib. The time frame
covered almost seven years (April 1995 - January 2002). Over that
period, one percent of the subscribers who posted at least one note to
Web4Lib accounted for 25% of the messages posted to the list. The top 25
posters, representing only one half of one percent of the number of
posters, accounted for 22% of the total messages sent. Nearly 90% of the
subscribers who posted at least one message posted ten or fewer messages
over the course of those seven years. Nearly 60% posted only one message
during that time frame. The median number of postings was 2, or about
one every 3.5 years, and the mean was 6.36, or less than one per year.

This is just an FYI. Like Bill said, there's nothing wrong with being a
lurker. And if the posting rate was higher, Web4Lib would probably
collapse under the volume of message traffic. If even only one out of
every ten subscribers posted on the average of one note a day, we'd all
be getting over 300 e-mails a day from Web4Lib!

Bernie Sloan
Senior Library Information Systems Consultant, ILCSO
University of Illinois Office for Planning and Budgeting
616 E. Green Street, Suite 213
Champaign, IL  61820

Phone: (217) 333-4895
Fax:   (217) 265-0454
E-mail: bernies at

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