Friday, 8 September 2017

Lurking, Commenting, Creating

Lurking can have negative connotations.

I think lurking when online is reasonable behaviour and allows users to understand what is going on, to see how to behave, how to like, post, and what sorts of things people are sharing and commenting on.

gerund or present participle: lurking
  1. be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something.

    "a ruthless killer still lurked in the darkness"

    synonyms:skulkloiter, lie in wait, lie low, hide, conceal oneself, take cover, keep out of sight; More
    • (of an unpleasant quality) be present in a latent or barely discernible state, although still presenting a threat.

      "danger lurks beneath the surface"
    • informal
      read the postings in an Internet forum without actively contributing.

Techopedia explains Lurking

Some online forums show users a count of how many people have viewed or are currently viewing a discussion. Generally speaking, any active discussion is likely to have had many more lurkers than posters. As online forums are, by nature, public discussions, lurking isn’t considered rude like other online behaviors such as trolling and flaming.

The issue I see is when people permanently remain lurkers and don't make the shift to becoming contributors, creators of content. When is it reasonable to expect people to move to becoming a contributor?

Perhaps when people are an active member of a community offline then they should be contributing online. When people choose not to engage, not to like, comment or create they are making it harder for everyone else in the community. 

There are some online communities where I will contribute not at all or only very rarely - I will remain a lurker. These are generally very large communities where I feel my presence or lack of presence will make little difference. 

However it is only when I choose to contribute that I more fully commit to the community and begin to understand what it costs to contribute - yes scary and yet worthwhile. I gain so much more when I contribute. I gain ownership of the group in some way, I am partnering with others, being part of creating what the community will look like. Sharing with the other contributors the risk of putting myself out there in some way.

Sharing other people's great ideas is a good way to start contributing. Thanks for this point +Fiona Grant. Finding some content I appreciate and re-sharing. This allows me to get the hang of the mechanics and to see what the reaction might be. Generally I find the reactions to be supportive and positive. This encourages me to be supportive and positive to others.

How about giving it a go?


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