August 23, 2015

By: 
Lauren Galli

Lurkers, Take Note

By Lauren Galli, #Strella Creative Director

social media lurkerWhen I was a little kid, I suffered from excessive curiosity, or in laymen’s terms; I was nosy.  My mom was constantly whispering “MYOB” in my ear, her abbreviated way of telling me to ‘mind my own business.’  She liked to let me know I wasn’t supposed to be in other people’s conversations; listening, but not contributing anything (like a fly on the wall).  This principle seems to have fallen by the wayside as it seems we’re all about other people’s business now!

I will say that my own personal Facebook is a point of contention for me.  Not only do I work in the social media field, but I am also a member of the health care field.  I’ve used Facebook to befriend some of my co-workers, and to say it’s come back to bite me, would be an understatement.  There is a simple reason for this particular bother – and that’s lurkers!

I detest lurkers, especially those that just want to stir the pot.   They relish in the drama in other people’s lives because their lives they lack validity in their own life. You know the type. They sit back, crunching popcorn as they scroll through their news feed, judging, but not commenting.

The reason I feel so strongly about lurking is threefold.  Number one, I’ve had a lurker turn around and use the information against me, simply in an effort to make their lives a little more exciting or as a way to purport that they know me better than they actually do.  In this instance, someone close to me professed to believe something controversial and I commented on it.  A mutual friend saw both the initial status and my comment and ran to my mother to tell her all about it, which prompted a rather angry call from my mom.

The second reason is because I know that lurkers aren’t harmlessly watching what is going on… there is always an ulterior motive.  Whether the motive is to simply judge that person or if the motive is to save the information and use it for personal gain, neither has a favorable outcome.

Finally, my distaste for lurkers is due to my personal Facebook.  I don’t frequently post, but when I do, it’s usually something I wish for people to pay attention to, or it’s something that’s important to me.  Reading my post, absorbing my post, and not commenting makes me feel like they don’t care. Its equivalent to listening to someone tell you, in person, that their grandmother passed away and to simply raise your eyebrows and walk away.

If someone on your friend list is a lurker, there are a couple steps you can take to eliminate the problem.  Begin with posting statuses that are completely benign, and when you have something juicy to post, block them from seeing it.  Another certain way to get their attention and let them know that you know, is to unfriend them.  It may sound harsh, but lurkers can actually be quite damaging if given enough reins.

Social media shouldn’t be a forum for judgment. I would prefer that if someone has something to say – good, bad, or ugly – that they tell me. My message to lurkers is simple – MYOB!

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