Open Invitation To Internet LurkersThere is an ever-growing group... collection... cult, if I may, of parasites on the Internet. People who consume until they can consume no more, but hardly ever, if at all, contribute to the medium that sustains them. They are the lurkers of the Internet, and they show no mercy.
I would group the users of the Internet into three main categories: the professional content creators, who get paid for creating content such as news articles or television shows, the amateur content creators, who create content just for fun but also consume a fair amount of content, and the lurkers, who only consume content.
Why did I make these two distinct groups and one hybrid group? Well, it's rather simple. The purpose of the Internet is to house information that others can access. That information is made by the content creators and is intended for everyone. The content creators don't have bruised egos and don't expect to hear how good their work is every second of the day, but they do want to hear something.
As an amateur content creator, I probably feel this more so than the professionals. I'm not doing this for a paycheck; there aren't even ads on my site. I'm doing this for two reasons: because I like to and because I want to help other people. I don't have a timeline. I don't have a quota. I don't have to meet a certain number of words or a certain rank in Google's list. But I do strive for quality.
Excluding the posts with family pictures and the like, I try to write articles that will, among other things, make others laugh or help them through a technical problem. This is how I create content. But what does this have to do with the three categories of Internet users?
I don't know what each and every person finds funny. I don't know what operating system everyone uses. I don't know what applications everyone likes to use. Basically, I don't know my userbase. But how does a content creator begin to understand his userbase? The answer... comments.
This is why an exodus is necessary by all of those in the "lurker" category into the "amateur content creator" category. It is necessary for content creators, in order to produce meaningful content, to hear from their audience. What do they like? What do they dislike? Is the article too technical or too n00bish? Do they want to see more similar articles or something completely different?
Most lurkers, the people who never leave comments, think that there is no way they can be a content creator. Most think that they just want to be a lurker and don't want the hassle of actually creating anything. Imagine, though, if this trend continues. The content creators will continue creating, but without input from their audience they could be producing meaningless and unwanted content. The lurkers, who just want to consume what others create, begin to find everything on the Internet boring and without meaning. There's nothing left that they want to consume.
Extreme, yes, but the point is valid. Lurkers need to come out from under their rocks and start contributing. You don't have to start a website and make daily posts, just comment on the articles that you read. I urge every single visitor to my site, and to every site, to leave a comment. Even if your comment is, "You suck," or "This is the dumbest thing ever," I want to know. We, as content creators, want to know. That is the only way there will continue to be meaningful content left to consume.
I will take a big step and speak for every content creator on the Internet. Be opinionated, be honest, just tell us what you think.