It was nearly 2 years ago that I was sat with some colleagues and the notion of the “LinkedIn Lurker” was raised. I’m not sure if the term was ever in common parlance but the notion of social media lurking has stuck in my mind ever since.
Then this morning the wonderful and very engaging @AlisonChisnell tweeted confessing to a bit of LinkedIn lurking. Later on @James_Mayes, @lesanto and myself got into a chat about career & business coaches lurking on Twitter or roaming networks without engaging with people.
I’m not aware of a conventional definition but for me you are lurking if you choose to observe discussions rather than participate, engage & contribute. Nothing wrong with that perhaps – we all choose to participate in a manner that suits us.
However, if LinkedIn is akin to a business conference, and Twitter is like a cocktail party, why would you bother to go to either and say nothing? To engage with no-one, only to watch. To take what you can but contribute nothing at all. You wouldn’t deliberately… in fact, if you did lurk at a conference or party people might actively avoid you!
My experience is that when you engage you build relationships and mutual respect. When you contribute you get so much more back. When you do both you grow and develop. When you do neither you are irrelevant.
What are your thoughts on social media lurking? When is it ever a valid position to hold? Would love to hear your thoughts!