19 Dec

I’m a lurker. I like to think I’m not a creepy lurker, but I’ll admit I could be wrong about that. In real life I’m shy but generally sociable. Online? Not so much. Some of the blogs I love I’ve been reading for, literally, a decade without ever commenting. I follow over 425 people on Twitter most of whom I never have and never will engage in an online conversation with (even though I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading and enjoying their tweets).

When I first started trying to write with the idea of, someday, being published and maybe sort of asking people to buy my books I decided my days of lurking were over. I thought: I need to engage with people! I need to stop being an almost purely receptive internet presence and start broadcasting! I need to develop an authorial persona and voice for social media! (Putting the cart before the horse is a longstanding hobby of mine.)

It didn’t take me long before I remembered that I am who I am, and I am not a person who enjoys jumping into conversations. I like talking, kind of a lot, but I don’t like introducing myself. And being engaged on social media requires a confidence in what you have to offer that I rarely feel in 140 character bursts. So I’m back to being a largely receptive online presence. (This blog excepted, natch.) And really, forcing myself out of my comfort zone just so I can have the kind of internet platform I think a writer should ideally have is not the best use of my time or my energy. Let us be real here together: I’d be better off spending my time and moxie finishing my damn book.

How do you interact online? Are you a natural internet social butterfly or more of a lurker like me? Do you feel any pressure to build a social media presence for yourself?


Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Idaho


18 responses to “Lurking

  1. Janis McCurry

    December 19, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    I’m very much a lurker on Facebook and Twitter. I like to know what’s going on, but I’m not a “sharer” by nature. “Gut-spilling” is what we call it in my family. I don’t feel a lot of pressure to build a social network presence yet. I’m putting all my eggs in this blog basket for the moment. I have purchased my domain name for when I need to build a website. I just keep renewing it. I won’t spend the money developing a website until I sell.

  2. Corina

    December 19, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    Janis, what’s odd is that I really am a sharer. I’d have no problem spilling my guts on the internet if I thought anyone would want to read the tales my entrails told. (Which I think is an appropriately icky metaphor for over-sharing online.) I just can’t imagine that strangers give a hoot. I think if I ever do get published I might be one of those writers who needs to be reminded, frequently, that some thoughts are better kept private. Great minds think alike on the website front. In a fit of optimism I bought a domain this year but it will stay unused until I have something to put on a “coming soon” page 🙂

  3. Judith Keim

    December 19, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    its important for writers to have an online presence though I admit I don’t post a lot, especially things like I’m at Walmart and you won’t believe….whatever. Or I’m eating my favorite kind of donut. I’m overwhelmed with silly messages and those that say buy my book, and now, with all the epubbing, messages that say please like my book or give it a good review. I really care about my fellow writers and want them to succeed but I cannot spend hours complying with every request when I have a writing schedule to follow. I believe, like everything else in the publishing world, a lot of the frantic requests will settle down into a more normal and truthful routine. (I read an article on Amazon’s desire to make reviews more authentic, so I realize they’re concerned too.)

    • Corina

      December 19, 2012 at 8:07 AM

      Judith, I agree it’s important to be authentic online, and if your authentic self doesn’t want everyone to know what kind of donut is THE. BEST. DONUT. EVER then you’re better off not posting that. I like hearing about people’s favorite donuts. (Yum… now I really want a donut.) I’d rather follow someone who posts about what they’re eating (as long as they’re funny or interesting about it) than who is constantly telling me to buy their book or begging me to do something to help their career. The more I’ve lurked on Twitter and Amazon forums and blog comment threads, the more I’ve come to believe that that stuff doesn’t sell books. I’ve never purchased a book because of a plea to do so, but I have bought books by authors whose Tweets or comments on blogs I’ve found funny or engaging. Desperation is no more appealing online than it is in the real world. Like you, I hope things settle down.

  4. ValRoberts

    December 19, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    Hi, Corina. Congratulations, you’re a writer. To quote Bob Mayer, the opposite of “writer” on the Myers-Briggs (Briggs-Meyers? whatever) personality grid is “salesman.”

    People who can be relatively happy sitting by themselves long enough to write novel-length stories are not people who can easily go out and sell those stories. When they try to, the results are often awkward and grating to passersby and almost always torturous for the writers (I hope the people in publishing who decided that writers have to be their own marketing departments rot in Hell; they are clearly Eeee-Villll).

    So don’t worry about it; go write and be happy.

    • Corina

      December 19, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      Heh. Not a Salesman might have to be the name of the personal blog I will never get around to writing.

  5. Peggy Staggs

    December 19, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    have to admit that I don’t follow much of anyone on Twitter or Facebook. It just doesn’t occur to me to check in on Twitter or Facebook. I confess the only reason I got a Facebook page was so I could see the pictures my son posted on line when he was in Iraq. That and being able to see him when he called on the computer were the only things that kept me stable-ish when he was over there. This is the only blog I visit on a regular basis.

    • Corina

      December 19, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      I don’t think of Facebook in the same way as I do Twitter or blogs. For me, Facebook is strictly people I actually know in real life and want to keep in touch with, but Twitter and blogs are more often people I have never had off-line interaction with. Twitter and blogs are reaching out, Facebook is holding on.

  6. Paty Jager

    December 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    I’m a lurker like you. I do, however, prefer the internet to face to face encounters. I do better in small groups. I click like a lot on FB and do make comments now and then. I do more retweeting than tweeting on Twitter and rarely if ever get in a conversation there. I like blogs because I can say what I want and if people respond fine, if they don’t that’s fine too. I’m trying to make am more conscious effort to comment on blogs. As you say, in this day and age it is how you get seen and make an impression on people who may become your readers.

    • Corina

      December 19, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      It is easier to overcome shyness online, but I find it so much harder to feel like I really know people I’ve never seen in person. There’s something about the lack of body language cues that makes online interactions feel a little awkward sometimes.

  7. stephaniebergets

    December 19, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Clicking like and retweet are a major part of my internet presence. In the same line, when I was asked to join this blog, my heart nearly stopped. Write something every month and put it on the internet for everyone to see? I agreed because it scared me. I’m not adventurious by nature, but I’ve decided to put myself out there in spite of the fear.
    Great blog, by the way.

    • Corina

      December 19, 2012 at 8:51 PM

      Stephanie, blind terror is exactly how I responded to the blog invite as well! I’m glad I said yes, which makes me think I need to do more things that scare me.

  8. maryvine

    December 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Good thoughts, Corina. I tell you what I think is important. Get a website started before you publish. I wasn’t ready and it slowed me up once I was published. Perhaps you could start putting in your blog posts, especially after you finish your manuscript. I wouldn’t worry about marketing just yet, however, I would compile all the information on the subject I could get and put it in a folder, so you’ll be ready.

    • Corina

      December 19, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      That’s great advice! Maybe setting up my website will be a good investment in/present to myself once I finish that first manuscript.

  9. Lynn Mapp

    December 19, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Corina, my day begins at 5:15. By the time I drag home at about 5:30, I am really, really, really, tired. All I want is some alone time. I’ll read Gem State Writers, and try to come up with…something understandable to say. I am shooting for logical.

    • Corina

      December 19, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      Lynn, you get a pass on all internet involvement ever.

  10. marsharwest

    December 20, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    Y’all know I’m pretty regular here, and you’re not the only blog I follow, but yours is the most consistant. I do feel like I’ve gotten to know you all over time, even though I only have the small picture, Cornia, and can’t read body language. I feel almost obligated to post. I mean if you take the time to share something of yourself, why should I read and then not give back? And yes, we know, I write long. LOL For that reason I seldom tweet, and what I read there is mostly X#@ tags I can’t intertpet. I like FB,(though I swore I’d never partake.) Like you, Peggy, getting the pics of kids and my grands is priceless. Now, for securtiy reasons I almost never post a picture, certainly not of the grands. I don’t think their parents should, but hey, when they do, I enjoy. 🙂
    Maybe because I’ve lived quite a while and worn lots of different hats, I think I have a lot to share. I look forward to when I sell that first book and then I’ll start my own blog. Now, I have to run over to another blog. My former CP is on a blog tour for her first book, The Green Eyed Doll, and I try to always stop by.
    Have a good writing day.


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