Friday, 9 October 2009

Lurk: To exist unobserved or unsuspected

It's Friday! Woohoo!

I feel like I've had an unproductive week. And I hate those. I've actually got quite a lot done for the morning job, but almost nothing accomplished for my freelancing. Blegh.

Anyhoo... I have a question that often goes through my head when I'm thinking about blogging (which is often):

Why do people lurk?
I usually come up with a bunch of answers (yes, it's like a little dialogue in my head. And yes, I am fully aware that makes me sound crazy. If the straight jacket fits...). Some of the possibilities I've debated are:
  • People are voyeurs. We like to see without being seen, or read blogs without alerting anyone to our presence (I'm using the royal 'we' here despite the fact that I don't actually lurk on anyone else's blog).
  • Perhaps lurkers feel no real need to comment. This might be particularly true on a blog that gets gazillions of comments on every post. It's kinda like, "Why should I bother? Everything's already been said." Or on blogs that focus on news, sports, tech or other info stuff.
  • Maybe lurkers don't feel their comments would be funny / wise / insightful enough. I know that on some of the blogs I read, there are posts where I don't comment for this reason.
  • I guess some lurkers can't comment / interact even if they want to. I know when our internet connection was running at dial-up speed, I couldn't comment on anything becuase it kept timing out.
  • And I know that lots of lurkers don't know that lots of bloggers (like me, for example) prefer them to show themselves.

Any thoughts from any of you on lurking? Lurkers? ;-)

Well, have a fab Friday. Let's hope it goes quickly until close of business. Then things can slow down for the weekend.

Have a good one.

PS: See that pretty blue badge on the right for Blog Action Day? Dare you to join! This year's theme is Climate Change. Sign up NOW as it happens next week. Please? And thanks to Damaria for the reminder.

26 comments:

Glugster said...

If I only comment every now and then, am I still seen as a lurker?

Or just a half-lurker?

Tamara said...

Hehehe... No, Glug. You still interact. You're not a lurker. I don't comment on every post I read, but I try to comment every once in awhile so that folks know I'm still reading and enjoying.

Wenchy said...

I do not love lurkers. Period.

momcat said...

I often lurk on those sites where there are a lot of comments by the time I read the post, sometimes hundreds. I enjoy the post but I feel any comment I have will already have been made.

po said...

Often I feel what I say in the comments is totally lame and does not contribute to anything but I have learned that bloggers like comments more as an "I was here" indicator.

Ches said...

Sometimes I don't read, I just comment!

What was your post about again? :)

Anonymous said...

I read your blog everyday and never comment, its not lurking, it's reading for entertainment purposes, it's a web-site that's accessible by everyone so I don't think lurking is an appropriate term as one browses lots of different web pages. Anyways, sometimes I think of comments I'd make but I don't bother, coz it'd come out as anonymous as I don't have a blog and some people don't seem to take anonymous comments as seriously as their "loyal other blogger 'friend' readers" :P

But sometimes I decide to comment like with Spacebook's daughter dying, I felt really bad as I'd read about the whole pregnancy, so the first comment I ever left there was the other day saying I'm sorry etc.

And since I enjoy your blog alot and you're asking for people to "de-lurk" I am leaving a comment :)

But now it's still just an anonymous comment so.... :)(oh wait I just remembered commenting on when you were in Durban and you wanted to go to ooh la la etc) so here's comment number two then.

Mellisoo said...

"And I know that lots of lurkers don't know that lots of bloggers (like me, for example) prefer them to show themselves."

Noted :)

& My bad :/

Have a lovely weekend :)

Roby Rabbit said...

Sometimes I don't know what to say but try write something. I am new to blogging and I have know idea if anyones reading what I write so if they are I would like them to leave comments.

mywindowsill said...

ah you see you are such a fabulous writer so we type a comment but then edit and delete and rephrase and re-edit and then the phone rings and we disconnect. LOL

you really are a fabulous writer, nicer than the trash you read in magazines.

Tamara said...

Wenchy: You deleted your blog?!

Momcat: Yup - totally understandable that.

Po: Yes, I'm like that. I don't particularly want people to comment on every post, but I do want to be able to move people to voice an opinion occasionally. Does that make sense?

Ches: Beats me. Can you not tell I never have a clue what I'm on about?

Anon: thanks for the comment. I really love anon comments, actually. Keeps me guessing. My mother once left an anon comment and only admitted to it a year later. I had no idea she'd ever actually visited my blog ;-)
That's one of the reasons i didn't think of for not commenting - not having a blog or profile of your own. Good one.
Good to know you're out there!

Mellisoo: Thanks, lady. You've commented before, so I don't count you as a lurker. And I'm not anti-lurkers. I'm just trying to understand lurking. Have a great weekend.

Roby: As a new blogger, you're onto one of the best ways to get people to visit your blog and comment - visiting and commenting on theirs ;-)

Tamara said...

mywindowsill: *blush* That is so sweet of you. Thanks for commenting! And for the (very undeserved) compliment.

Damaria Senne said...

I often lurk when I've found a new blog I like & I'm still trying to decide whether the nice kids will want to play with me cos I'm actually shy. And yes Tamara, I lurked here for a while before I finally said something:-)

And there's one blog where I've lurked for years. I'm learning quite a lot from the blogger, but the comments seem to come from the same people who seem to know each other well. And I'm not saying they are a closed club or anything, but I feel a bit lame when I think about commenting there.

Tamara said...

Damaria: I've done that before too, I must admit. You lurked here for a bit? See, I find that so interesting! I love knowing things like that. So glad you decided to comment in the end - it meant I could find your blog.

Louisa said...

I read EVERYTHING...and I'd probably comment on everything too even if just to say "I was here" but sometimes the bloody comments just don't want to post for some reason (especially on blogger blogs) and if I don't have anything extremely significant to say I move on.

@Wenchy: Hey! Why did you delete your blog?! Not very proper at all. :-(

Goblin said...

Okay I'm a guilty lurker.

Most of the time I don't comment though is because I don't have anything to say about the topic...or I have nothing nice to say.

Gill said...

Okay, I'll 'fess up - I only comment sometimes, reason being that I subscribe to waaaaay too many blogs and if I left a comment on each one every time I read it I would spend my *entire life* commenting on blogs!! How sad am I???

Slyde said...

also, i think many people just subscribe to us in their readers, and read the post and then move to the next. they dont feel the need to actually go to the site and comment..

angel said...

I am a serial commenter!
:D
Lurking never occurred to me. I was like "Ooh, I can add my 2c too!" and that was it for me.
I also can't not read everything...

totally cooked said...

sometimes it can be a pain to comment - like when you have to register and go thru 14 security checks and 7 windows saying are you sure - know why, just saying - sometimes time is limited - plus I don't smaak when the whole thing doesn't feed thru google reader and you HAVE to go to the blog to see. I'm going there anyway. I'm just collecting on G.reader so I can see who has updated and when I have time then I park and look at all the pretties ...

Wenchy - not proper girlfriend - not proper

sleepyjane said...

I lurk on some blogs. Fos different reasons. I don't think I'd really have anything to add to the "discussion" (for example: fashion and crafts blogs) and in those cases I really just read the blogs for inspiration and a nice break from personal blogs.

On personal blogs, more often than not there is a regular stream of people that seem to comment and I feel shy, like Damaria said. :)

And I don't always regularly comment on all the blogs I comment on because sometimes I really just don't have anything to say which doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading the blog post.

Like on Po's blog. LOL I mentioned it to her once. She's really witty and funny and I never know what to say. She knows I read though, don't ya po!? ;)

sleepyjane said...

I lurk on some blogs. Fos different reasons. I don't think I'd really have anything to add to the "discussion" (for example: fashion and crafts blogs) and in those cases I really just read the blogs for inspiration and a nice break from personal blogs.

On personal blogs, more often than not there is a regular stream of people that seem to comment and I feel shy, like Damaria said. :)

And I don't always regularly comment on all the blogs I comment on because sometimes I really just don't have anything to say which doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading the blog post.

Like on Po's blog. LOL I mentioned it to her once. She's really witty and funny and I never know what to say. She knows I read though, don't ya po!? ;)

Helen said...

I am lurking at the moment as my connection is really erratic and getting as far as word verification is a miracle! But tonight it seems to be ok, so I'm jumping in while I can!

I don't know why people lurk, I guess there are some good reasons, but I'd far rather interact than sit and watch. Obviously some blogs have a scary huge following and it seems pointless, but I try to put in my 2c every now and then!

And it's nice to have someone respond - makes me feel le I'm not writng to myself :)

po said...

sleepyjane: you are a very welcome lurker!

Laura said...

Lurkers are the most infuriating thing about blogging! Especially when someone will mention something on twitter or in real life that shows they are reading but you know they never comment!

They are like peeping tomos!

Tamara said...

Louisa: It drives me mad when Blogger's comments functions act up.

Goblin: Thanks for delurking ;-) Heading over to your blog now...

Gill: Not sad! Normal for a blogger, methinks ;-)

Slyde: That's why I only make the first bit of my posts available to read.

Angel: Hehe... me too. I love being able to comment.

Sleepyjane: I totally understand. Po's wit leaves me speechless sometimes too ;-)

Helen: I agree with all of that. Especially the bit about enjoying a response.

Laura: Hahaha... I know a lot of bloggers that feel that way. I don't mind lurkers, actually. I really enjoy it when folk de-lurk though - it means I can see the link to their blogs (if they have one) and it's a little bit of a confidence booster - to know someone else thinks what I write is worth a read.