In the world of Web 2.0 a Lurker is one who spends time consuming content online using social media without taking the time to create content and share.
I know many self-proclaimed lurkers. You may have also admitted to spending time doing ‘a lot of lurking’. If I am honest with myself, I also have to admit spending a lot of time as a lurker.
Why do I lurk? I lurk as a way to filter through all of the material that is being shared. I have found that it is impossible to share, comment or raise questions on every thing that I read. I simply do not have the time or energy to do that. Therefore, I lurk to help me sort through the content in order to determine what is relevant and what I find interesting. I lurk while I am reflecting and assimilating the information presented to me. I lurk while I consider how or what I might say in response. I lurk while I think of the questions I have or the comments I would like to make.
I do not think any of us really think that there is anything wrong with lurking while using Social Media. The difficulty is when a person never takes the opportunity to ask questions, make comments or shares what he/she has learned. The potential problem is when a person is an exclusive lurker.
I think there are other challenges when participating in an online community like Twitter that also need to be raised. I have grown in my appreciation for Twitter and the educators who are a part of it. However, there are times when I find Twitter overwhelming. There are so many discussions happening. I can understand if a member of the twitterati is uncertain what to say or where to say it. I can understand it when there are some who are uncomfortable within this online environment and do not venture beyond their safe group of personal friends and peers.
My response to those who may be intimidated … relax, and feel free to continue to lurk and learn. I look forward to the time when I have a question that you are able and comfortable to answer. I look forward to finding an online medium (perhaps micro blogging is not your strength) where you feel confident to be able to express yourself.
Feel The Wind … Harry