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A central web 2.0 principle

Students at LIAFA University in Paris partnered with a team at Orange Labs to analyze Flickr (a web 2.0 application) using data from 2006. They produced this paper.


Web 2.0 works with the principle of weak cooperation, where a huge amount of individual contributions build solid and structured sources of data. In this paper, we detail the main properties of this weak cooperation by illustrating them on the photo publication website Flickr, showing the variety of uses producing a rich content and the various procedures devised by Flickr users themselves to select quality. We underlined the interaction between small and heavy users as a specific form of collective production in large social networks communities.

Here are some of their findings.

- 20% of users account for 82% of all photos,

- Pro users make up just 3.7% of users, but account for over 59% of all photos

- 39% of users are inactive

- 23% of users have no public photos, but have used the site to communicate

- 64% of contacts are reciprocated

What the research shows is the power of a small group of users to shape the community. This group puts a lot effort into tagging, commenting and discussion which turns Flickr from a photo storage site into a vibrant community.

What's your experience with web 2.0 or social software applications?