Let’s hear it for lurkers
So apparently round umpty-zillion of “people are killing fandom by not commenting” is going around, and I’ve seen a few posts trashing people for lurking/viewing/reading instead of actively participating.
My journal and my fic has always been a lurker-friendly zone. I think lurkers are great and people can fight me on this. Here’s why:
We all started out as lurkers. Or at least most of us did. Come on. I’m sure some people out there must’ve jumped into fandom with both feet and started writing and commenting right away, and good for you if you did! But I sure didn’t. I lurked for YEARS. And even now, though I’ve been in fandom since before Y2K, whenever I get into a new fandom or a new social media platform, I still lurk. I hang out around the fringes for awhile to get a feeling for the place before starting to participate. Back in the mailing list/bulletin board days, it was usually recommended that people do that on purpose, watch and listen and learn the local lingo and social rules before diving in. So you know what? You are not doing anything wrong and you are not doing anything that most of the people you see out there commenting and creating and reccing things haven’t done themselves.
We all have lurker days, weeks, months …. Nobody is 100% “on” all the time. Participating in fandom (commenting, reccing, creating content, and so forth) is WORK. It may be fun work, but it still takes effort! Even if you’re sometimes very active in fandom, then you’ll have life fall on your head or the brain weasels flare up, and you won’t have the time and energy to give. Don’t feel guilty about not being able to give fandom your extra spoons. No one in fandom has a right to demand a single spoon from you that you don’t want to give.
Some of today’s lurkers may be your friends tomorrow. How do I know this? Because I’ve made friends with some of them myself! I’ve had people delurk in my comments to say hi after YEARS of reading my fanfic without saying a word. Which I am totally okay with, by the way. And some of these people are good friends today.
So, in conclusion:
- It is okay to feel too shy to come out of lurkerhood in fandom until you feel more comfortable there. It is fine, in fact, if you never do.
- It is okay to be too busy and have too few spoons to comment or create stuff. You still have a perfect right to be in fandom and read and reblog whatever you want.
- It is okay if you meant to comment on that fic or go back and press the kudos button but never got around to it.
- It is okay if you have too many accounts already and don’t want to create a new one just to comment/participate on a social media platform.
- It is okay if your personal situation (a stalker ex, controlling parents) makes it unsafe for you to create an account or comment on things.
- It is okay if you can’t or don’t want to comment or do any of the other things that constitute non-lurkerhood, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation for why.
- IT IS OKAY TO BE A LURKER.