How can you turn a lurker into an active contributor?

How can you turn a lurker into an active contributor?

(I saw this asked somewhere else and thought it would be worth adding here to get input from the community, I’ll come back to it shortly.)

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Perhaps avoiding the term ‘lurker’ may help. The term seems rather pejorative and if a lurker becomes aware that the community leaders think of them in this way, it is more likely to distance them, than move them closer.

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Sure, I don’t like the name either, but it’s also one that people recognise.

What would you use instead?

‘Observer’ or ‘audience’ springs to mind.

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They both sound better than lurker. I imagine that many of us are observing/following/monitoring more communities than we are actively engaged in.

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I do like all the ideas @rosiesherry gathered, suggested and created for the “Lurkers are people too” diagram.

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I agree lurker is the historically recognized word for non-contributors. I wish community professionals could agree on a better term.

I usually reframe the word lurkers as learners when community planning because they are the majority of my audience.

Then I ask myself/my team - How can we build a community they want to contribute to? Are we using non-inclusive language that is stopping interaction?

Next, I think of other ways people can contribute.

  • DMs,
  • Emails to send thoughts or replies to
  • upvoting/liking
  • Contribute to docs, spreadsheets, wiki
  • Forms where they can share ideas or thoughts
  • Reach out to lurkers/learners and ask why they aren’t contributing (are there barriers I can help with)
  • Events like AMAs or office hours that people can attend and ask questions
  • Notice content they are sharing elsewhere that would contribute to the community and reach out to ask them to share

I find when I give members a bit more scaffolding and attention, they are more likely to start contributing. And if they contribute, I do my best to interact with the post, even calling on internal team members or moderators to comment and interact.

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Great list here…a few other thoughts:

  • member interviews
  • send an email to member who are opening emails but not responding
  • contribute to polls (anonymously)
  • offer opportunities & work
  • offer to help them

“legitimate peripheral participation”

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My favorite tactic ever: Lurker Week.

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“Love Our Lurkers Week” – what a fantastic idea and initiative. Thanks for sharing, @evanhamilton.

For those reading, here’s the article that supports the talk: https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/activate-community-members/