Are you a lurker? I am. For the most part. Especially when I’m on deadline.
A lurker, as defined by the web in general is someone who visits websites but rarely if ever comments or participates in any way. In the case of yahoo groups, you might read all the messages that go by but never offer your own opinion. Perhaps you read blogs but don’t comment on them. You may visit an author’s website but never sign their guestbook or send them an email.
Lurking isn’t bad, I don’t think. But I do think it’s good to occasionally exit lurkdom and step into the light.
Some are of the opinion that lurking is impolite. But I think lurkers just lead busy lives. And I’d rather readers lurked around my website, buy and enjoy my books than feel the need to comment on every blog I post.
My good friend Pam Labud chimed in. "I’m a lurker, too. I read all kinds of posts but barely comment."
If you’re like me and Pam and don’t comment too often, is it because you don’t have the time? Or perhaps you don’t feel like you have anything to add? Or is it because posting/participating can be difficult?
I have one more thought about why people might lurk. There’s nothing to comment on. Blogging "experts" encourage bloggers to ask questions at the end of their posts to generate comments. Other experts tell bloggers to hold information back to generate discussion.
Does it take a controversial topic to get you to participate? What about contests? I typically don’t like offering a prize in return for posting comments because to me…well, I’d rather people just join the conversation. But perhaps I’m not witty enough to inspire conversation.
I’ll admit that it can be frustrating for me at times. As an author, I want to connect with readers. I like knowing my readers. Talking to them. Understanding them. I feel like knowing my readers lets me write better books. When readers lurk the conversation is severely stifled.
So how about it? Care to come out of lurkdom for a day and introduce yourself? I won’t bite. Promise!