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Nov 24

Watch first before you jump into Social Media

binocularsOn the internet, it is perfectly acceptable to lurk about before you jump into using social media.

To lurk means to join a network, look around, read and watch other people without contributing anything yourself.  Not only is this behavior acceptable, it's a good idea before beginning to contribute and interact with others.

But before you can begin to lurk, you will need to sign up for an account, invite a handful of people to connect with you and become your friend. Once you've invited some friends, now you can move around and see how they are using the network.  What kind of status updates do they write? How often do you see them interacting with others? Do they post videos, photos, links to other sites?

Observing others is how we learn what is acceptible behavior in any social situation. When you join a new organizaiton, you attend the first meeting and mostly observe. You don't immediately assume you will get on stage and lead the meeting. You watch, see what activities are on the agenda, look to other group members to know when it's okay to chit chat and when it's time to quiet down and begin the meeting.

The same applies to social media. You don't want to sign up for an account and immediately start posting updates about what you ate for breakfast. Once you've watched for a while, you will be able to see that this type of update would usually be considered uninteresting and fails to start a conversation or add to one. When you've lurked for a while, you will know how to post something of more interest that may entice a friend to comment.

Have you found lurking to be helpful as you began using social networks?

2 comments

  1. Niall Harbison

    Yeah I agree that this is very good advice. Lurking is a good way to get a a feel for a network. Along with all the “how to” guides out there it can really help and empower you with the knowledge before you jump in! I do advise some people to just jump in and send their first tweet though as if they are not a big company and just have a personal account it can be a great way of learning on the job as it were :)

  2. Deborah Richmond

    Yes, there is a point where you do just want to get started and see what happens. Because I’ve found that after using the networks for a while, you slowly get a better understanding of how best to use them for your purposes.

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