Learning to love your lurkers

Twitter lurkersMy husband is a Twitter lurker. In the three years since he set up his account, he’s tweeted a grand total of 13 times. He regularly shows up on my SocialBro dashboard as ‘inactive’. If I followed the advice of the many ‘how to spring clean your social media account’ posts that seem to proliferate around this time of year, I’d ditch him.

But aside from the fact that unfollowng your spouse isn’t a great route to marital harmony, here’s the thing: he LOVES Twitter. He’s on it every day, throughout the day. He evangelises it to everyone, including my father-in-law, who’s only just reluctantly stumbled on to Facebook.

He makes time to read every single tweet in his feed. If he likes something he’ll share it – with me, with friends, with work colleagues. Just not on Twitter. He’s the most active ‘inactive’ account I know.

So maybe before you ‘spring clean’ your account and ditch your lurkers, it’s worth pausing and asking yourself why. Lurkers do no harm, they don’t clutter up your feed with nonsense. Give me a lurker over a noisy self-promoter any day.

Why would you unfollow them? The only reasons I can think of are because you want a higher ratio between the number of followers you have and the number of people you follow, or because you’ve followed too many people and Twitter won’t let you get through that magic 2K barrier.

There’s a danger that lies within social media: getting dazzled by numbers. They’re clean and simple. We can track them and judge ourselves by them. We get that little buzz from watching them grow. Follower numbers and ratios, Klout scores. They’re like digital codpieces. They look impressive at first glance, but dig deeper and what lies behind them?

Every follow is an opportunity for a new connection. Behind every avatar is a person, with interests, idea, challenges. Who knows what could happen if you stop chasing numbers and take the time to get to know them? Maybe you can help them. Maybe they can help you. Maybe you’ll bond over a mutual enduring love of Frank Sidebottom.

Ted Rubin explained perfectly why you should embrace Twitter lurkers. All I know is that one day my husband will start tweeting and you’ll be glad you followed him. You heard it here first 🙂

Photo Credit: Brian Auer via Compfight cc

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