Do You Know Your Lurkers?

This blog is about home business – starting and running one.  At times, other notable issues need discussion; these are usually related to current events or previous posts. The recent revelation of this blog’s reader base is a timely reminder about the pros and cons of writing for the public.

In television and radio, anyone in front of the microphone or camera follows a cardinal rule: “the microphone is always on.”  Hopefully, this mindset limits major mistakes and loose lips that one may later regret.  Blogs, wikis, websites, and social media sites that contain digital opinions and articles are no different.  Internet content is available to anyone around the world with general Internet access; rules for appropriate language and content must be followed. This post is for content writers everywhere – this scribe included – and is a reminder to consider the audience.  Personally, I assume my strict Catholic mother reads every word that I write.

The Internet – awesome in scope and size – presents wonderful opportunities while creating pressures and magnifying problems.   Postings on the Internet are assumed to remain resident perpetually, either in active status or in “cached” pages, and can be retrieved. The college drinking binge caught on video and posted on YouTube was harmless fun at the time, right?  That little video may be seen by a human resource manager that was going to hire you.  Remember former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner’s photo blunder?  His racy image and additional media mistakes compelled him to resign his office.

In contrast, my circumstances reflect the positive side of readers in the blogosphere.  Homepreneurs has about 55,000 visits since its inception and gets roughly 1000-1500 readers per week.  Other than commenters and a few friends that read regularly, I couldn’t possibly identify the thousands of other readers.  Those anonymous people – sometimes called lurkers – find this site by searching, via referral or by random chance.  Wikipedia defines a lurkers as people “…who read discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing, social networking site, listening to people in VOIP calls such as Skype and Ventrilo or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates actively. Research indicates that lurkers make up over 90% of online groups.”1

I’ve been fortunate.  My lurkers include Karyn Pettigrew of Unity FM Radio and Patti Riggs Hale (Howtofindworkfromhome.com)  These two wonderful women – my champions – are responsible for my (Homepreneurs) appearance on a radio show – Beyond Blind Spots – and the weekend blog recognition award.  Through recognition, they validate this blog’s effort and approach. Hale and Pettigrew – or their proxy – were lurkers – reading, watching, and deciding if they wanted to take a chance with Homepreneurs.  Karyn took a risk by putting me live on the air though I had no previous radio experience; Patti’s list of work at home blogs is now on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and likely in front of millions of readers.  Karyn and Patti are well-known with established reputations for quality and excellence in their fields.  By promoting this or any blog, website or person, their reputations are necessarily challenged.  Patti and Karyn believe in what Homepreneurs is trying to do; as the face of Homepreneurs, I am obliged to “do it right” every post, every time.  Not just for my two champions, but for this blog’s entire reading audience.  If I want success as a blogger, I must remember that anyone, anywhere can read any post at any time.  Heady concept, isn’t it?

My message is simple: those anonymous readers – those lurkers – may be someone that can help you or promote you.  Those same lurkers may also be put off by coarse language, opinion or biased views.  Assume your audience is someone that can make a difference for you.  Always write with passion, with knowledge, and because you care.  You can make a difference or impression; good or bad is up to you.

By Dion D. Shaw

Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunity.

Reference

1) Retrieved 8-6-2012.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lurkers

Image Credit: Preparing to Pounce by Gracey

Image Source: http://morguefile.com/archive/display/81652

Disclaimer

Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services or persons listed except as noted above.  Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its opinions or suggestions.  Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.

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