The 1% Rule and Our Blogging Dilemma

It has been said that one in 100 is a content creator, or so i read today from Mindy McAdams who interacts with the 1% Rule from Charles Arthur:

“It’s an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will “interact” with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.

It’s a meme that emerges strongly in statistics from YouTube, which in just 18 months has gone from zero to 60% of all online video viewing.”

08010271521Well, having one percent do the content creation is all very well, but our little group at High Leigh Conference Centre has a problem . . .

We are group of 35 people having an interesting conversation about the emerging church in UK and how it compares with emerging church USA, especially as presented by a book written by Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs called Emerging Churches. Its a book that i once said was the BEST BOOK ON EMERGING CHURCH. And , this is our dilemma . . . we cannot find anyone who wants to blog an entry with all the participants and their corresponding hypertext links. What we really need here, is a GRUNT blogger, a peon blogger, a newbie blogger with no credentials who will put in the necessary work to create an informative blog post that we can all point to. But so far our group, being far shy of 100, has not produced such a person to create the content.

But jonny baker, says it will probably be mark berry.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Kester says:

    Boy does this sound like old school church! “We really need someone to do this crappy job cos all us big leaders are so busy being gods. Is the LORD calling YOU?!”

  • kester
    if you were here, we would ask you to do it

  • What, exactly, do you want; and might I be able to help?

  • thanks andrew
    i think that we are mostly bloggers here and we are all being honest with each other about our lack of enthusiasm of blogging anything at all about this event
    good event – but none of us feel any obligation to share the results, and are not apologetic about it
    perhaps its a new level of honesty – or maybe just laziness. dont know.

  • saabinmike says:

    It could be a new level of honesty. When I got back from a house church conference in Atlanta, everyone wanted to know what happened. I really felt like saying, “Stuff.”
    The honesty, at least in my situation, was simple; I really felt that people wanted to live vicariously through me. My hesitancy came the need to preface every event that took place with the hows and whys and then finding it just didn’t have the impact I thought it would. I want people to experience it for themselves.
    Still, there is a need for others to hear about what happened at the conferences, both mine and yours. Some people may just be looking for a cool story, but others may be searching, looking for something akin to a mark, or a blaze on tree to let them know they are on the right path.
    So maybe all of you can share something?

  • Kester says:

    Many a true word spoken in jest?
    The ‘lack of enthusiasm’ is perhaps a pretty widely felt thing… Maybe raises some interesting questions. I say may be because obviously I’m not there, and obviously there’s a funny element! But are we reaching the ‘norming’ stage, where the ‘stormers’ and ‘formers’ get itchy feet, and start wondering what’s next? Be interesting times if so…
    Still – thanks for the honesty/openness. Keep it realโ„ข!

  • djchuang says:

    What you’re looking for is not so much a content creator, but a knowledge capture person, a scribe, a transcriptionist. The other way to shortcut this is to audio record or video the 35’s conversations, and post them online as podcasts and vodcasts.
    Of course, if you’re willing to feed the grunt, I’d be willing to work for food. Just bring the conversation to my neighborhood here in metro Washington DC, ok? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • way out west says:

    24 hours of Emerging Church

    So… last week I was elitist …now I’m a grunt!… along with around 30 others (‘leaders’, ‘behemoths’ or maybe even ‘dinosaurs’ of the EC???) I am atย  ’24 hours of Emerging Church’ย  get together… the time has two aims 1)

  • Andrew says:

    Kester, you make an excellent point. But it ain’t just in the church. That’s the way the world of “marketing” works. You get a bunch of muckety mucks in the room with the big ideas, and several minions at levels beneath the muckety mucks, and at the bottom of the inverted pyramid are the scribes who are expected to create the content, then send it back up the chain for review, massaging, deconstruction and further editing. That’s the beauty of organizations. They all become hierarchies at some point.

  • David says:

    In the Civil Service – which has a few merits – we have someone to take the minutes!
    However the principle remains the same, only one in 100 actually does any work.

  • Mark Berry says:

    Let me start by saying… in the last few months I have got to know Andrew and am well aware that this post is heavily laced with irony… and we have spoken about the above post… I could take it as a complement (being seen as a content creator) or as an insult (being seen as a grunt with no credentials)… Whatever, that’s my problem!
    Putting that aside and acknowledging the irony (therefore this is not a criticism of TSK)… I find myself increasingly uncomfortable… I guess it is the fact that both scenarios would give rise to a network that I would not want to be part of… one that is sustained by the creativity of one member… or one that uses elitist language like Peon (a pretty derogatory term in any language!)
    My greatest concern about this intentional network thing is that it becomes elitist and/or dominated by particular voices for whatever reason… one of my obvservations from years of youth ministry is that it is often the ‘Newbie’ voice that has the most significant things to say, but they are often not heard because they are unable to communicate in the language of the elite! If the ECC loses sight of this is ceases to be valuable for me… it will simply repeat the mistakes of it’s Fathers… it becomes about experts dictating/prescribing to the ignorant… and what is more ‘modern’ than that!? The biggest struggles for me of the 2 days was a sense of ‘institutional’ foundations being laid… those foundations being Ordination and Academia… the latter concerns me more… I heard several conversations which (in my ears) implied that ‘credentials’ in the ECC come from collecting post graduate degrees. I honestly left High Leigh wondering whether this was a conversation I wanted to be part of… this is no criticism of individuals, just a growing discomfort with the direction of the ‘network’ at the end of the 2 days.
    I want peer explorers I can share struggles and stories with, praxis theologians/missiologists who want to wrestle with contextual mission in emerging culture, sacrificial hearts whose concern is to deconstruct church in order to incarnate a gospel which liberates others to grow church in their own language… ooops ranting now!

  • chris haw says:

    what i thought you might be pointing toward is the ruling content of emergent discussions:
    the example is above: the emergenters in some place get together and talk about emergent (in another place).
    from my experience, most folks who are “emerging” and most of their gatherings are rarely talking about content, context, Jesus, economy, politics, practice, etc. they are often talking about emergent, its history, its definition, etc.
    that would seem to be point at which many bloggers miss the mark on content. it is talking about talking.
    when a movement (or whatever it calls itself) becomes largely self-referential in conversation, it needs to re-introduce itself to discussing context, lifestyle, and social meaning.
    sincerely, chris

  • Kester says:

    Thanks for your honest Mark – graciously and truthfully put. Chris – excellently put. And frighteningly accurate.
    And AC is right – this is generally the way organizations evolve and develop. What we need to try to do is change the ‘governing dynamics’ – the root processes – in order to give the network the best chance of growing in the right way.
    Again, I want to caveat this strongly with the points that a) I wasn’t at High Leigh and so have no solid idea what happened and b) I really wanted to be there because it would have been great to catch up with so many great people and friends… but, was it the right sort of process to encourage growth in the right direction?
    I guess this was, and still is, the main concern behind The Complex Christ thing – is it possible to grow something in a new way, in the incarnational way, in the gospel way? I really hope so and, like you, I really hope it doesn’t mean I have to have a bloody post-grad qualification or wear a dress ;^)

  • David says:

    As a ‘newbie’/outsider someone just on the edge of this conversation I wholly agree with Mark and Chris. To enter the ‘conversation’ is daunting in the extreme, it feels like someone is already doing a Phd on something I might have observed. I only write for the people I know outside of this conversation. Most of these people are still struggling to understand the concept of post-modern. I think there is a big challenge for the technorati theologians who are way ahead, to stop and wait for people at the back and to do this with genuine humility which allows people not in the know to contribute.
    This is the same for all of us. Among my friends I am the one who is ahead in this thinking and must wait for them to be in a place to begin to contribute – and when they do I must be humble enought not to say ‘yeah I know there is a really good diagram explaining that…’

  • Sue says:

    Maybe its just that we aren’t really sure what happened yet? I feel like I need to process. Maybe next year I’ll have worked out who I am, who we are, where we are.
    But on the plus side I did work out where I was geographically and manage to get there without getting lost at all. This could be a world first.

  • carmen says:

    heh, i’m not sure if andrew intended this, but this conversation is a God-send. for the last week i’ve been feeling blue and discontent and this conversation has articulated much of the reason why. as a newbie to the em (as of january), i’ve got that kind of left-behind and how-do-i-enter-a-conversation-with-those-folks feeling, yet, like david, i am ahead of many of my friends in this line of thought. also, there are several us local folks having the how-do-we-do-church-like-God-intends here-and-now conversation, and the tendency-to-instutionalize-and-structure aspect (as well as the its-easier-to-talk-about-talk aspect) of this exchange helps me too. so this ad-hoc conversation has given me a lay-of-the-land moment as well as a holy-chiding to be sensitive to those around me (which perhaps a lack of was a cause of some of that blueness this week). it’s also a bit more fodder on how to approach my own writing/approach on the em. thanks, andrew–and david and mark and chris . . . blessings.

  • rudy says:

    as someone who likes Andrew cuz I only see him in cool, exotic locales (Malaysia, Colombia, San Francisco), my two cents:
    — a little capitalism would help here, capitalism in terms of providing some sweet incentives for the grunt
    — btw, I think “peon” and “grunt” is a great way to describe the task. “civil service” is fine, too
    — it works if the “grunt” recognizes the opportunity inherent in such a task
    — i’ve done lots of stuff for free, little acclaim, but knowing that it would, how should i put it, “pull the thorn out of the lion’s paw.” the lion remembers. with gratitude. trust me.
    — whoever steps forward and volunteers should not be (very much) constrained by those who did not choose to volunteer
    just the managing editor in me speaking out… and perhaps I’ve violated the ethic herein (i.e. I have no idea what facial contortions readers may have made when I used the c-word)… but just hoping to see the good energy from this gathering distilled for the masses who are not in Ph.D.-land

  • Is a peon someone you peon?

  • Mark Berry says:

    LOL Simon… not far off… it’s someone you crap on from a great hight!

  • Does it really have to be this difficult?
    Forget content creation or commenting. Have each of the 35 ask one question that he/she is “pondering” as a result of the book and/or conference. No qualifiers, explanations or balancing statements…just throw it out there in raw form.
    Invite the 1% and 10% OF YOUR READERS to create content and interact with comments.
    Problem solved, right?

  • i guess
    i think the problem is that naming all the participants and their corresponding blogs takes a long time to track down all the hypertext links [have to be polite] and its easier sometimes to wait until someone does the work of linking all the names.

  • Mark Berry says:

    I’m not sure it really matters, why do we need to have a list? Seems a bit ‘institutional’ to me ๐Ÿ˜‰ would its purpose be be to give the conversation significance, or to make others feels that they missed out, or were excluded… someone asked the lighthearted question at the gathering “is it sensible to have so many EC leaders in one room… you could wipe out the EC in the UK in seconds?”… of course this was a joke… but… the whole point of the of the gathering was to draw together voices… and thats OK, it was mentioned that Blah has begun to draw more ‘interested onlookers’ making ‘family talk’ harder, so we do need to have different networks with different purposes… but at the same time it doesn’t matter to those who weren’t there who was… much better to leave it to whoever was there to reflect publically on the conversation if they want to, or not if they don’t… and link to whoever they want to (or who they felt said something of particualr interest/significance to them)… rather than have some kind of official minutes published… it makes it feel way to closed/complete for my liking… Jonny B mentioned that the invitations to this particular gathering were based on his and Ben Edsons links and for future ones that anyone there may want to add their own invitations.
    I for one do not consider myself a Leader of the EC, nor a ‘significant voice'(neither do I consider anyone to be a ‘grunt’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ )… just a participant (as I believe we all are)… I would want to stop short of having a structured response (even one like Eric suggests) much better to strive to make the conversation open for all, (see what difficulties ‘Emergent’ has got itself into with formal statements/responses etc. – i.e. you can’t make corporate statements and then claim to be an open conversation! – and/or having ‘Friends of…” which means you must have some sort of stated position for people to choose whether they are able to allign themselves with the group or not)… in other words leave it organic, please!

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