Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on Facebook

Why I am a Facebook “lurker”?

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on Facebook

I discovered today that there is a name for people like me – Facebook lurkers.

While researching a story I am writing called Six ways social media drives sales, when I came across this report, called From Social to Sales, and discovered I am a lurker – a Facebook user who only rarely posts.

From the terminology – “lurker” doesn’t really sound like they love me, right? – I’m guessing that people like me are annoying.

Here’s the problem with lurkers:

  1. They are in the majority. According to this research, 68% of Facebook users are lurkers
  2. It’s hard to discern the influence of social media on their purchasing decisions (I knew there was a reason I liked being a lurker.)

While I feel a bit smug about being hard to discern, the problem is that researchers everywhere are trying to prove there is a business model behind social media and answer the question: is the amount that companies spend on social media justified by a commensurate uplift in sales?

A good question – and here’s why lurkers make it hard to answer.

One measure of the social influence on sales is whether social media users buy online or in-store after “favouriting” or posting about an item. Turns out 40% of them do that, and within a week, too!

Given that I am so unhelpful to marketers, while as the same time wanting them to be successful in their research efforts (I too want to link social to sales), I thought I could help out by explaining why I lurk

Three reasons why I am a lurker:

  1. Post-traumatic Twitter disorder. I have never quite recovered from my horrific first tweet in which I confessed to exactly how I felt at that moment – suffice to say, not all that great – and then realised that I did not want the entire world, and certain people in particular, to know this. I couldn’t work out how to “untweet” so I had to delete my entire account. From then on I became more circumspect … (to the point of paranoia)
  2. I don’t like receiving updates of a commercial nature. Call me old-fashioned, but I am not keen on receiving Facebook updates about products. For me, FB is a social network – a way to keep tabs on my family and friends, whom I call too infrequently. I don’t want ads, and I don’t want referrals unless I ask for them. So I don’t “like” commercial products that I use – which cuts out a lot of potential posts.
  3. I lurk, therefore I am. This is just me – I’m an observer. It’s part of what I do as a journalist – check out stuff, write my observations. When I create content, I like to think carefully (like I am right now) and to inform and entertain my followers. I’m not a blurter (although some of my best friends are, God bless ’em).

So, dear marketers, I hope this is a snapshot of my “lurking”  will help you understand why we lurker do what we do.

Calling other lurkers … can you relate to my reasons?


You might also like

Get out of your blogging rut

There’s a lot of ways to write a story. A blog is an online form of what we journalists call opinion Read more

Brexit: A sad failure of followership

It’s hard not to blame Britons for voting themselves into decades of misery and regret with their choice to exit the European Union. The decision looks so clearly divisive, costly Read more