Missy Caulk wrote a nice post on Active Rain over the weekend “introducing” Agent Genius to the many many real estate professionals that read and participate on AR. Thanks Missy!
In the one hundred plus comments to that post, “Lurking” is mentioned a couple of times, which got me to thinking…
According to TechWeb, “to lurk” means “To view the interaction in a chat room or online forum without participating by typing in any comments”. The more Websterish pre-internet definition is “to lie in wait in a place of concealment especially for an evil purpose… specifically: to constitute a latent threat”. It’s that “traditional” definition that tends to give lurking a bad name.
Is lurking wrong?
Let’s face it. The vast majority of visitors to a blog or web forum are lurking. As an example, I get between 800 – 1000 unique visitors a day on my blog. On a normal day I may get 10 comments. Over the 3+ year life of my blog I’ve had over 500,000 unique visits, which has resulted in about 7,300 comments. That means only about 1.4% of my visitors leave a comment. I comment frequently on blogs and forums, but I read significantly more articles than I comment on. Maybe I comment on one in 25, at best.
The simple fact is, most blog readers never comment. Ever.
People lurk for many reasons. Often, you really just don’t have anything to add to the conversation. Sometimes people are afraid of “sounding stupid”. And on many blogs and forums, people simply aren’t ready or willing to face the potential backlash and abuse that joining a comment stream can produce (clearly, I hope, people realize that won’t happen here or on the blog of any AgentGenius contributor).
Whatever your reason for lurking, there is nothing “wrong” with it. Of course the authors here and elsewhere like to get comments, and the comments are what have made many Ag discussions so worthy. But you oh avid lurker, should not feel guilty for never or rarely laying down a comment. If you visit, and you read, and you learn and you take something away, then (speaking for myself only) I have done my job here as a writer.
Now that being said…
Here’s an open invitation to comment. You don’t need to add anything profound. No one will attack you, and you won’t sound stupid. A simple “Hi, I’m here” will suffice. Who knows, you may make a new friend, you may find out how easy it is. You may even like it (be careful, it’s addicting AND fattening!).
But if you prefer to not comment, lurk away. There’s nothing wrong with it.