Thursday, 21 July 2011

Online Journeys in Learning

With permission, I re-post here Steve Batchelder's honest and simple story of becoming engaged in the social media and social learning world.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did - thanks Steve!


Okay I confess - I used to be a lurker - there that's it, I've admitted it to the world.

I used to read blogs etc and take a lot of information, knowledge and learning from many of the people I followed but I never participated, made a comment or added my own thoughts to the stream in any way other than beyond sharing what I had learnt through my work - verbally recommending sites and articles to others.

Then I decided to take part in
Share and Learn and that for me was a breakthrough experience. I joined in I shared and I learned. I became active on Twitter, signed up for FB, started a blog, began tentatively commenting on a few other blogs, followed and joined a backchannel or two and more recently joined Google+ where I am again beginning to join in some of the conversations. I've conversed with people I don't know and will probably never meet and whom I would never have imagined myself actually communicating with and have found the whole experience to be beneficial, positive and empowering.

Why did I lurk for so long? I don't really know beyond not knowing if what I had to say would be well received and not understanding the massive added benefit of joining in in terms of shaping thoughts and idea's and contributing in some way to the vast flow of ideas.

This post was inspired by @Sahana2802 who has written a great post on lurkers here at
Lurking is not a static state the post really made me think and it describes some of my own experiences in moving from lurker to being more active in what I do.

The post also makes it clear that lurking is not some form of nasty disease or a behaviour that should be frowned upon instead it is a legitimate form of participation.

This is a very valuable lesson in that even with the relatively small number of people and the 70+ blogs I follow I could not participate or comment on each post or tweet or other form of communication.

This notion is supported by Nic Laycock's recent post on
Communities of choice - dealing with overload & thats why I am a semi retired lurker theres too much going on to join in with everything and so I have to pick and mix what I will respond to based upon my own interests and preferences.

(Steve's post was originally published at

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