I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I interact on the internet. I’m mostly what is considered a Lurker. I watch, I read, I scan as people Twitter and Facebook and blog and chat and Reddit. I occasionally say something. Sometimes I say more than usual, but for the most part, I’m just scrolling through other people’s words.
I hate that word.
It’s kinda negative. Its connotation makes me think of a dude in the shadows watching women through windows. I’d very much like to change the general term for people like me from Lurker to “totally shy person, they’ll talk when they’re ready”. TSPTTWTR. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it’s more accurate. For me, at least.
I’m not here to just peek in voyeuristically. I’m here to try to maybe say something that maybe you would think is funny or thoughtful or poignant. Maybe. “Lurker” suggests I’m here to steal your secrets. Except, I don’t want to steal your secrets. I want to read your public tweets. Totally different things.
I rarely say anything because I don’t think that I have anything to add to conversations that are happening, to points being made, or to thoughts said out loud. You’ll find me mostly retweeting/sharing/upvoting other people because they say things better than I could. Why would I add my own thoughts on something when someone else has already spoken them? I mean, there are times when I’ve expressed my opinions about stuff. Sometimes I regret it, sometimes I don’t, but most of the time I’m just saying the same thing someone else said better. And I’m not a big fan of regurgitating previously made points.
I’m the quiet one that sits by the side and takes in everything she hears so that she can learn and understand better. I don’t like the idea of speaking out of turn. I don’t like the idea of butting in and adding my voice when there are people out there who know more about… well, whatever the topic is.
Yes, I have my own experiences, but I often feel like those are not enough to give me the right to speak. I suppose I could blame the patriarchy for teaching me that my voice doesn’t matter because “female” but I also know that some of it comes from my own insecurities. My fear that when I speak, no one listens or no one hears or the other voices are so much louder that I’m ignored. That I’m not important enough to listen to. Like I said, insecurities.
I don’t write this for people to feel sorry for me. I don’t need that. I don’t want that. This is just a ramble about the internet, my interactions, and what goes on in my brain any time I’m on social media.
I’m not going to force myself to speak up when I don’t want to. I’ve tried that before and it felt… Not genuine. Not exactly fake, but like the words were forced and not felt. Awkward. And UGH… Just no. Never again.
So, if you see me around the internet, just know I’m waving at you, but likely won’t say anything. And on the internet, a wave is represented by a “Like” or a “favorite” or an RT or an upvote. I’m there, I’m listening. I may be lurking, but it’s mostly just TSPTTWTR.
How do you handle social media?