Is the term Lurkers a bad word?


Another name for lurker

I’ve been noticing a lot of bloggers encouraging their “lurkers” to come out of the closet and leave comments.

For those of you who may not know, lurkers are defined as people who visit blogs and don’t interact by leaving comments.

I don’t like this term.

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I still remember when a lurker was described as a person who waited and watched from a hidden place. It conveys the idea of a person watching someone through a window at night. It’s a scary term for me.

I prefer to call these people “visitors.”

Post a comment – it’s your choice

I hope the visitors who stop by my blog will enjoy what they read and then choose whether or not they want to leave their calling card by posting a comment. If they choose not to, that’s okay with me. I still welcome them…as Visitors.

I can’t help but wonder why some bloggers push their visitors to leave comments. What’s wrong with someone just visiting, without commenting?

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting comments on my blog and responding to them. I understand why bloggers enjoy receiving comments. It’s an opportunity to connect with their readers and get a sense of what they are thinking and how the post impacted them.

But I also believe that readers should have a choice of leaving a comment or remaining invisible. If a reader wants to use a service offered by a blogger, there are other ways to make contact. Comment sections provide an option for readers to express their thoughts about a post, if they choose to.

Therefore, I challenge bloggers to consider these questions:

What are we saying about our “visitors” when we use the term “lurkers?”

What are our reasons for wanting our “visitors” to leave comments?

What role do blog stats play into our need for our “visitors” to leave comments?