Saturday, January 07, 2006

I'm a lurker

Okay, I admit it. I lurk. I can't help myself.

On my travels through cyberspace, I've found certain forums and discussion boards that I'm drawn to, but for some reason can't bring myself to join. I return again and again to the point of knowing the regulars, their tone, likes and dislikes. It all becomes a bit addictive. I'm drawn to these sites like bees to honey, ants to a honey-covered body, vampires to blood, Canadians to hockey, . . . well you get my drift.

So why don't I just join in? Possible reasons: I'm a chicken. I won't fit in. I'm not smart enough. They'll hate me. I have nothing to say. I'm too lazy.

The real reason: some or all the above.

Strange how the list reads like an adolescent's highschool whine. It only goes to show that certain insecurities never die. For as much as I think I'm self-assured and confident in who I am, there's still a bit of me that wants to be liked and to make a good first impression. Once I'm part of a group, I am who and what I am, but there's still the initial hesitation (see above) before I dive in. I have absolutely no problem initiating one on one conversations with perfect strangers, whether at a party, supermarket or travelling in foreign countries (much to the chagrin of my signifant others). It's the group thing that seems problematic.

I wonder if this is true for everyone - or is it just me? I need to think about this some more.

Meanwhile, for you forum administrators who see hundreds of 'guests' appearing regularly on your site, it's probably me lurking.

6 comments:

Hay said...

I only have one site where I'm a lurker and I have to reasons for it. There are far to many users and posts for me to be able to keep up. The people there are talking at a level to high for me to be able to do anything but read and try to learn.

ell said...

Reading and learning is a 'good' thing.

jane said...

i do know what you mean. it is the feeling of the new kid in school. i feel anxious that i don't know all the jokes, and hate that feeling of "oh you missed that one". i don't know how you ever get over it other than diving in.
i lurk on sites that i am a member off when i have hurt feelings, or am feeling put out. so what does that say about me? lol.

ell said...

Yes, hurt feelings - me too. I stayed away from a place we both know when a couple of my creative efforts was given a "terrible" rating of one star - no comments - just the rating. I can handle constructive criticism, but it just seemed like someone wanted to be nasty for the sake of being nasty. I need to grow a thicker skin.

jane said...

no i think people need to grow some couth. lol.

Ronny said...

I lurk too, mainly when I am upset or waiting out a negative phase at a forum. I don't like confrontation much and so I'll lurk and wait for the upset to die down. It seems that many join forums for no other reason than to be hyper critical of everything, so when that starts becoming the tone I move elsewhere. How often do you think we're all lurking together at the same spot?