Thursday, December 07, 2006

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

So, I’ve been a part of the blogosphere for a few months now, and in that time, I’ve learned a lot of new vocabulary. Like blogosphere, for example, to describe the wonderful world of blogs. Or meme, those clever little lists and surveys that pull through for us bloggers on those no-inspiration, must-post days. Today, I’d like to explore another piece of blogging vocabulary: lurking.

[Aside: You know how sometimes you say a word so much that it doesn’t even seem like a real word anymore, and it starts to sound really weird, and it always looks like it’s spelled wrong? That’ll happen with ‘lurk’ and all forms of it by the end of this post.]

Lurking was a concept I eventually figured out in context by reading comments on other blogs. People would say things like, “I’ve been lurking for a long time…” or “I’m delurking to say…” A lurker is essentially a person who reads a given blog on a regular basis but does not make his or her virtual presence known by commenting. Most, if not all, of the blogs I frequent have had at least one lurker delurk in my time as a reader.

This was a tough concept for me to grasp. Partially because I love getting comments so much (so I figure maybe other people do too), but more because the blogs I read so often give me thoughts I want to share in response, I don’t think I have ever read a blog without commenting on my first or second visit. For the most part, why would I continue reading something if I don’t have anything to say about it? Well, I guess sometimes I just like knowing what’s going on in people’s lives. And sometimes I may have concerns that making my presence known would be inappropriate or unwanted for whatever reason. And other times I might get a bit self-conscious about commenting on a blog where comments aren’t a part of that blog’s culture. So I guess I do lurk occasionally. But it’s rare. And generally, I like the sense of having a conversation with people about their posts, and I like when people come here to have conversations about mine.

On one of my regular blog spots a while back, the issue of lurkers came up, and I made the comment that I’m pretty sure I don’t have any lurkers on my site.

… Or do I?

I’ve actually come to the decision that I probably do have some readers lurking here, silently observing, but not engaging in the dialogue. So I’m taking this moment to send out an invitation to the lurkers:

Dear Lurkers,

I and the regular commenters are friendly people, and we would love to hear from you. Come say hello! I’m sure we’ll give you a happy “Hi!” and “Welcome!” in return. I’m not asking you to make commenting on my posts a regular part of your day or anything. Just stop by, give a little wave, and then you can happily return to your lurking.

Hope to hear from you soon!


P.S. If you don’t want to delurk, I will understand. I’m still glad you’re reading, even if we don’t interact and you feel the need to stay in hiding.

So regular commenters – did you see how I volunteered you to help me welcome the lurkers when they work up the courage to delurk? Let’s make these folks feel welcome, shall we? And while we’re on the subject, do you have lurkers? Have they ever delurked? How do you feel about lurking?

And, the most important question: Has ‘lurking’ started looking and sounding like a made-up word yet?


Day 7 of LaBloShoeMo: The Pink Kitten Heels

In further hopes of inspiring lurkers to delurk, I give you one of my cutest pairs of shoes. The first day I wore these babies to school, my students went crazy talking about how adorable my shoes were. And I didn’t even have the matching purse with me:

This is the second of the three pairs of shoes I mentioned for which I have exactly matching purses (the first was the tweed ballet flats). Again, the dainty bow in the front is just precious, and a kitten heel gives a dash of femininity without adding too much height. Not that these really needed the added femininity – they are, after all, bubble gum pink. Yes, I’m a girly girl – I loves me some pretty pink shoes.


Dallas Blue said...

I lurk on some of the blogs where there are so many comments, I feel like I have nothing new to add.

On blogs where there's 0-10 comments per post? Oh, definitely... I LOVE comments so I give them to people so that they can be happy TOO!

Anonymous said...

More feet!

I'm delurking as a foot fetish connoisseur.

Anonymous said...

Get off this site Foot Admirer! don't "get off" from the site. Just LEAVE!!!


Always a presence, never a lurker.

aMom2E said...

I have only been lurking a few days, but I really enjoy what you have to say. Thanks for the invite to pop in. I am curious to know what you teach--I realize I may have missed a post about this--sorry! I teach introductory journalism writing and just LOVE having students, so I love your comments about students! Random, sorry!

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I've been blogging for more than a year and I still lurk on some sites. It's a matter of time more than the fear of commenting, I just don't have the time to comment on everyone's blog all the time. When would I sleep? :)

Love the shoes!

Dee said...

I just found your site a few days ago and I honestly can't remember if I've commented yet so I may or may not be delurking.

I'm the same as sassy student. I tend to lurk on sites where there are a million comments because someone else has already said what I would have said but on those that just have a few comments I'm more likely to leave something.

Anonymous said...

Do I need to de-lurk if you already know that I'm lurking? And you're right, 'lurk' starts looking a little funny. Lurk, lurk, lurk. Lirq, lerc, lourque. Nope, none of those look better.

Mama said...

Great shoes:)

I only lurk on sites where there are already a bunch of comments:)

dancing dragon said...

I was considering delurking a few posts ago, and now since the invitation is out, I guess I will. I'm pretty sure that any blog that is searchable or is linked from someone else's page has many lurkers. That's how I end up lurking... if you just keep following blog links, eventually you'll find the blog of everyone you know who has one.... I end up lurking if the writer is a good writer and the topics intellectual or somehow helpful.

However, the awkwardness of lurking seems to be greatest when you're somewhere between a total stranger and close friend, because you end up reading about personal things you normally wouldn't know. As a blogger myself, though, I know I wouldn't post a public blog if I minded such....

I feel a bit weird that I've read some very personal stuff, but as you mentioned a few posts ago, that maybe your writing will help someone through her own struggling, that is true. Though my struggle is quite different, it gave me some hope that suffering can turn to healing.

Lara said...

sassy - yeah, i frequent those types of sites, but i'm just arrogant enough to feel like what i have to say is worth adding anyway. occasionally that's not true, and i don't comment. but mostly, i feel i have something interesting to say, so i do. so does these mean if too many people start commenting here, you'll leave me? don't leave me, blog friend!

foot admirer - um, i think you already delurked with your foot fetishness, thankyouverymuch.

OP - thanks for getting my back with the creepy dude. and yes, you are most definitely always a presence.

ffbgirl - thanks! i'm glad you enjoy what i have to say, and glad you took up the invite. as i said over at your place, i teach 11th grade english right now, and i like it a lot. and never, ever apologize for being random in my comments section. if you can't do it here, where can you?

mrs. chicky - yes, that's definitely true, the comments do take time. and for you especially, if you really do read every single blog you have on your blogroll (plus some that aren't on there, like this one!). so i can understand the need to lurk sometimes.

dee - you are, in fact, delurking, and i'm glad you did! so i pose to you the same question as i put to sassy: if i start getting to many comments, are you going to go back to lurking? that would be sad...

TB - well, without delurking, i don't actually *know* you're still lurking, do i? also, i meant to ask you recently: what are your thoughts on sabbaticals? do you think it's better to take a break for a while, to refresh and regain some perspective, or better to push through, even if it means total burnout? do you think when someone decides he or she needs a sabbatical from something, the people left behind feel insulted? (there i go again, talking without actually making a point. sorry about that.)

jo - thanks! and so i ask, for the third time: if i get too many comments, are you going to leave me too? your site tends to already get 10-20 comments per post, so what's your definition of "a bunch"?

dancing dragon - i'm so glad you delurked. like i said on your site, i wouldn't have known what you were going through without that. i'm glad you've been reading, and if it really has brought you some measure of hope, i'm even more glad. here's a hug for you: *hug*

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm Beth. And I'm a lurker. Pretty much everywhere. I read too many blogs to comment frequently and still make it through the rounds daily. I know. It's bad. And I can't stop.

Lara said...

beth - welcome! i remember reading your blog exchange post on HBM's site, right? i'm glad you delurked, even if you do plan to return to lurking. :-P