5am, Melbourne airport. On my way to Sydney to talk at Digital Media World and to attend STIRR. Half asleep. Went out with some mates last night to see “Little Miss Sunshine“. Pretty good film, not at all the chick flick I thought it was going to be. Interestingly, Steve Carell shot this before he made 40 Year Old Virgin and The Office.

Guy Kawasaki interviews Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell about their new book Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message. (thanks for the link Jason Van.)

It’s a great interview and I really like this bit:

Question: What inspires people to create digital content?

Answer: We think there are three reasons: The first is that the people who helped build sites like Wikipedia, TiVo Community, or Mini2 aren’t part of mainstream culture. They’re what we call the “1 Percenters,” the people who live at the edges and are different than from 99 percent of the world. Our research for the book led us to create the 1% Rule, which states that about 1 percent of a site’s total number of visitors will create content for it. The 1 Percenters flout cultural conventions. Americans love rebels, therefore the 1 Percenters often become the influencers of American culture.

I think it was Ben Barren who I first heard talking about the 1% rule as it applies to what percentage of your audience will actually participate in the conversation, which seems to be a good rule of thumb. If a podcast has about 1000 regular listeners, it will get about ten people writing comments. They are the 1% of the audience of the 1% of the population who create the original content. It continually bugs me that such a small percentage of people actually participate but I guess that’s just how it is.

Anyway, Jackie and Ben also talk in the interview about MySpace cooling off and say they think people who have invested time into their sites won’t abandon them in a hurry. I don’t know about that. I invested a hell of a lot of time into my Typepad site over two years but dumped it fairly easily in October. Why? Because using WordPress offers me more advantages. How many sites have you had over the years? I can’t even begin to count the number I’ve had and abandoned. But maybe that’s just something about me. Grist for my next session with my therapist.

BTW, I had the pleasure of meeting Jackie Huba and chatting with her on the show (along with Mena Trott and Steve Rubel) back on podcast #55. Listen here.