I am a lurker…but I am changing…

Am I a creator or a consumer?

I have  a confession to make…I am a lurker…but I am changing…



Throughout reading chapters 1  & 2 from Jeff Utecht’s Reach I was thinking over the phrase “lurker”.

Was I one? Did I intentionally lurke? If so, why did I lurke?

After some soul searching I googled ” lurker”  to see if I indeed was an online lurker, a quick google and wikipedia offered the following definition:

In Internet culture, a lurker is typically a member of an online community or PLN who observes, but does not actively participate.

I had a little think about the social media that I use in my personal life. Where do I fit into all this:-

  • Facebook – lurker ( I tend to consume information rather than create or share – my only post last in the past 12 months has been to inform friends of the birth of my daughter. )
  • Twitter –  lurker (who has dabbled a little at being a participator via retweets, favourites etc – but still falling short of creating content for others)
  • Instagram -lurker ( not posted anything on there for years
  • Linkedin –  definite lurker (who has only updated his page once in the past 3 years)
  • FaceTime and Skype -( hard to lurke when family and friends want to see the kids )

Unfortunately it looked like I was a consumer.

Why lurk? 

So then I thought why do I have a tendency to lurk with regards to social media. Is it because I am not sure what to post on twitter, or Facebook? Is it because I prefer to consume information rather than create it?

Reading further I came across this article, on AllThingsD.com  “The End of online lurking” which makes me wonder even more about de-lurking, becoming accountable on the internet and being one of the 1% of people who create content not just consume it. Wikipedia helped to calm my thought by adding

Lurking allows users to learn the conventions of an online community before they actively participate, improving their socialization when they eventually de-lurk

So I guess it is time to de-lurk, it is time for active mode, it is time to become a creator of content. Coetail will make me push out of my safe bubble, I will begin to make comments on peoples blogs, I will begin to post regular blog posts and I will begin to use twitter in the correct manner rather than checking the latest football gossip.


The 4c’s

My thoughts then turned to the classroom. What do I expect the children in my Grade 1 class to do when they use technology? Do we use the iPads that we have in class as tools to consume information?

In the classroom I ask the children to use the iPads and technology  to “show their learning” as a tool to be able to share what they know. The iPads are not used just for the children to play ABC songs, or watch videos. They are used for a specific purpose to show their knowledge in all areas of the curriculum. With the help of the amazing ICT facilitator, who works in our school, we talk about the 4C’s in the classroom when using technology.

  • Create
  • Collaborate
  • Communicate
  • Critical Thinking

I ask the children to create in my classroom. Yet I was not.

I ask the children to collaborate in my classroom. Yet I was not to other educators around the world .

I ask the children to communicate. Yet I was not with the world outside of my classroom.

I ask the children to critically think. Yet I was not.

Last year all the children in my Grade 1 were blogging. Sharing what they had created in school, communicating with a wider audience for a real purpose, sharing their collaborations with other people around the world, and critically thinking about the work they were producing.

The children were creating.

It is time for change

Technology moves so quickly and the children in my class need me to change to help them on their learning journeys. After watching a brilliant video with Sir Ken Robinson, Author and Creativity Expert and reading am excellent article taken from Wired. I have decided that the time for change is now.

I have  a confession to make…I am a lurker…but I am changing…It is time for action. It is time to de-lurk!

Anyone care to help me on my way?















18 thoughts on “I am a lurker…but I am changing…

  1. Great post. I especially like the quote, “Lurking allows users to learn the conventions of an online community before they actively participate, improving their socialization when they eventually de-lurk”. And let’s be honest, lurking is easier. To create and contribute it takes thought, effort, and honesty, all of which are harder than just scrolling through a feed.

    Congratulations on de-lurking! 🙂


  2. Welcome to COETAIL if nothing else we force you…at least while you’re going through the program to de-lurk.

    I love your reflection of what you ask your students to do in your classroom and how you realize you’re asking them to do what you yourself do not participate in. What a great open reflection and there’s no time to change then the present.

    Seeing that you have your students creating all this content, they have blogs, etc. I believe part of being a teacher today is helping create those connections to others for our students (That’s a C that needs to be added)

    Are you a connector for your students?

    When they create something can you connect them to a community that will give them feedback.

    When they share something can you help them connect to others who might share something in return.

    Maybe that’s your goal for this first course…how are you going to learn to use these social networks to connect your students to other students? To help them spread and share their ideas. That’s the end of course 1 reflection I want to read. 🙂


    1. Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for your comments. It really is a big learning curve being here but I am enjoying the ride!
      Making connections is certainly something that I would like to work on in the next couple of weeks. The children do post their blog posts and we do get comments from parents, grandparents, etc. To help parents with the type of comments/feedback that the children receive, we this week hosted some Kidblog workshops for parents. Hopefully this will help. But I would like to make more “real” connections with other children across the world – this is something that I would like to focus on – connecting my students to other students.
      I also really enjoyed the example in “Reach” about Ms. Hellyer’s PLN helping her in her Third Grade Class. I am thinking of ways of incorporating that idea into my classroom too!
      Lots to think about…


  3. I am doing same thing as you, encouraging students and teachers to share, collaborate, communicate while i don’t. It is fascinating to know from your blog that 90% of the internet population is Lurker !!.

    Am also ready to change, lets us start de-lurker ourself and reach out.

    Good Luck!!


    1. Thanks Shaza, It really is complete change of mindset to create content to a wider audience rather than consume it. I think what does make this possible is the wonderfully supportive nature of COETAIL. Good luck with your de-lurking!! We are in the right place!!


  4. I think the idea of learning the social norms on online communities is a great reason to be a lurker. It makes total sense and I think you’ll find so many of other COETAILers to be lurkers. But I think being a participant is way more rewarding. I believe strongly in online karma…you get back what you put in.

    And as Jeff states above, the idea that we push our kids without doing the same is an interesting one. We want our kids to be creators, to don’t be zombies in front of an iPad, but we have to show them what that looks like.

    Can’t wait to see what you do next!


    1. It is difficult to think that people think your thoughts are of interest. A video that you posted in the flipboard magazine for course 1 has made me think again.This will make me post more and de-lurk!


  5. Hello Joel

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. I too am guilty of not really practicing what I preach and I’m really interested to see that even in grade 1 you have your children blogging. I think there can be a tendency at Primary school level to imagine that these skills can be taught as they move into secondary, however if we want children to grow up with a natural awareness of their online footprint and develop a natural ability to build networks, we have the responsibility in Primary to embed those skills from an early age. My class are blogging this year but I have not been able to let go of the reigns for fear of things like child protection. As the year goes on I think it may be time to let go of those reigns and focus on educating them about what should and shouldn’t go on their blogs and start to engage them in the 4Cs that you so rightly outlined in your post. Do the children post through you or do they have their own log-ins etc?


    1. Hi Iain,
      Thanks for your thoughts. I must admit it has been a challenging ride getting the children blogging. This is my second year blogging with First Graders and all of the children have their own log in. We create a simple password that they can all (hopefully!) remember and slowly throughout the year take them the process of blogging, adding content, showing their learning. We really try to use the blog as a portfolio of their work and use it as a base for our Parent Teacher Conferences. Also try to make connections with parents, grandparents etc by getting them to post comments on their children’s learning. To help in this process we have just hosted our first Kidblog workshops for Parents with the aim of showing them how to log in, what sort of comments to make. It really is a work in progress but the children enjoy posting content to a wider audience. A target for this year is to begin getting more comments from people who are not related to the children. This could be a real mind shift! Good luck with your blogging this year. What platform is your class using to blog?


  6. As I read through your post on de-lurking, I found myself nodding in agreement with the way you ‘use to’ behave with social media. I think one other attribute which makes me a lurker, is that feeling of being judged. I had this conversation with a peer yesterday, and the same feeling was discussed, however we both said, no one judges, it is more about identifying ideas that you can take and use to empower your learning. So, for me, I need to make that personal mindset change, of get out there and just do it.
    The way you made the comparison to your student expectations in your classroom was a good reality check for me too. You have inspired me to start with my students, and help connect them to experts on-line to help them with their current research projects.

    One baby step at a time, thanks for getting me to look at becoming ‘de-lurked’ through my students and not just directly through me!


    1. Hi Bettina,
      Thanks for your comments. It really is a change of mindset for us all. We can not change in one giant leap but like you say “baby steps” are important so we do not feel overwhelmed by the changes that we are making for ourselves and our students.
      Good luck with your de-lurking!


  7. Joel-
    As you wrote this article, were you channeling me? The consumer/lurker in me was brilliantly splashed upon your blog giving me two trains of thought, 1-Thank God it isn’t just me and 2 – I’m so embarrassed to have a title that I didn’t know about until reading your blog and then Jeff’s article Reach.

    I do find myself being the hesitant lurker who hovers over jumping into the pool and getting it over with. Maybe there will be a better way to jump in, maybe I should dive, maybe it’s better at the shallow end/deeper end, maybe if I went off the diving board instead.

    Why is it that people do feel better when there are others in the same boat? Self-preservation? And don’t get me wrong, as much as I am glad that we are in the same boat(because I am going to DO THIS through COETAIL), I am still nervous about putting myself out there, to put my comments, thoughts, and ideas out there for everyone to read – not just friends who know me and understand me. Why is it?

    I am soooo glad you found the Wikipedia line that gives hope to lurkers like myself. I aspire to be one of those that will ‘…actively participate, improving their socialization when they eventually de-lurk.” There is hope for me!

    Thank you so much for verbalizing my thoughts! (do the Lurker shirts come in blue?)


    1. Hi Valya,
      We are certainly in it together! I agree it really is hard to press that push that publish button ( on a Sunday.. for me) on my blog. But once it is out there I do feel much better. After all no-one has to read it! I find it even harder to add comments to other peoples blogs. Why would they be interested in my opinion when they have written so eloquently and succinctly? What can I share with them that it going to question them further to make them reflect? This de-lurking lark is hard work!!
      Good luck on your de-lurking journey!


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