Thursday, October 22, 2009

Calling All Lurkers--Let Your Voices Be Heard!

One of the reasons I love blogging is it caused me to go cold turkey on online lurking. I was a virtual long-time listener, first-time caller when we began the Paper Wait well over a year ago. I fervently followed a number of blogs, sopped up tips and traumas from Verla Kay's Blue Boards, and breathed agent and editor preferences in and out better than any Lamaze coach. But my internet voice was, well, silent.

Fast forward to today, and I can't believe it took me so long to speak up. I love being part of different online communities (most especially this one) and I find that commenting on blogs or on the Blue Boards makes me think more deeply about the issues under discussion.

Adding my opinion to any blog roll or forum was intimidating at first. And sometimes, it still is. But I like being part of the conversation.

So tell me, how did you come to tame your inner lurker?

Photo: Ian Britton


  1. I hate the term "lurker", it sounds so negative, like I'm sitting here in a trench coat silently plotting the demise of everyone else who comments.

    What can I say? I'm shy even in cyberspace, but I have been coming out of my virtual shell. The Blue Boards are great, it's easy to congratulate people and offer advice or commiserate. And I've been doing more commenting on blogs too - when I have something to say. I'm not into arguing or flaming anyone though. Things can get out of hand too easily!

  2. I think I'm the opposite. I used to spend a lot of time on the Blue Boards and checking out other people's blogs, but now I just don't have the time. The internet, for me, is a HUGE time vacuum. So I'm continuing with my internet diet and limiting the time I spend "lurking". It is a wonderful community out there, though. And I do miss it.

  3. I'm with Meg. I have to be judicious with my internet time or I'd get lost in cyber-space. However I do enjoy "talking" with so many different people in so many different parts of the world.

  4. I agree with you all -- I've gone on internet diets, too -- both before I joined the conversation and since. But now I look at it like taking a break. Writing is a solitary occupation. After a few hours, I'll get another cup of coffee or a glass of water, and see what everyone is talking about. Fifteen minutes later, I'm ready to go back to work.

    And Robin, I hate flaming, too. It just seems so doltish and immature. People hide under anonymity and write things they would never say to anyone's face.

  5. To me, there are two different sorts of Web comments - the ones you leave for an individual, and the ones you add to a general discussion.

    If I were to spend more time in cyberspace, I would probably concentrate on the comments to individuals in a place like the Blue Boards.

    As for the general discussions, after over 200 people have commented on a Nathan Bransford or Editorial Anonymous post, I'm sure I don't have anything new to say. And I don't want to take the time to read 200 comments anyway!

  6. I was lucky... I started reading blogs last November during MotherReader's 21 Day Comment Challenge. So I never lurked! I got in the habit of commenting right from the start.

  7. Like Corey, once I made the decision to start blogging I jumped right in posting and commenting without going through a lurking phase. Where I spent the most time lurking was on the Blue Boards. It was a year before I posted my first comment. I was so nervous! The Blue Boards were a good training ground for making my voice public.

  8. Gale: Like you, I rarely read through hundreds of comments on blogs with followers numbered in the thousands. There are only so many hours in the day. But I do try to comment regularly on the thoughtful discussions that are taking place on lots of writers' blogs. I really appreciate the different flavors of discussion, depending on who is leading it.

    Corey and MG: Never lurked? You're my two new heroes!

  9. I don't make it to all the blogs on my blogroll every day or even every week, but with the feature that lets me know when they last updated and the title of their post, I can pick and choose so I make it "sometimes." There just aren't enough hours in a day!