The Lurker Emerges

I imagine that you’ve wondered who it is that is reading your blogs and tweets but not commenting. It was me.

Actually, pretty accurate.
Actually, pretty accurate.

I was inspired to start this by this post by Aaron Davis in which he asks, among other things, why I lurk. I’ve lurked for a while now. I’m told that this is a normal phase in one’s emergence as a connected learner, but I feel the need to answer Aaron’s post. By the time I get to the end of it, some sense of its worth may have emerged.

This post began as a comment on Aaron’s original post (which I never actually made) and I’ve written it several times in my head over the last month. I think I’m now resigned to dot points. So, here’s why I lurk:



  • I’m a traditional teacher and traditional learner. I have generally viewed these activities as existing in their own silos. I’m either teaching (which is something I do to teenagers) or being taught (which is something that gets done to me). I’ve never thought of myself as contributing to the development of other teachers. I realise now that this leap is imaginary. That we all contribute to each other’s development in every professional conversation we have. However, In the past I’ve always seen this as a leap.
  • I’m not a writer. Writing is a craft. It’s not something that every teacher is good at. Some people are excellent writers. All the blogs I enjoy reading are by people who write really well. I’ve never counted myself as a writer, but I guess I’ll just have to learn.
  • I’m not trained in any sense as an eLearning coordinator (which is one of my roles and one of the things I suspect I’ll end up writing a little about). I’m a Humanities teacher who’s fallen into ICT and Media teaching, and eventually into eLearning. I imagine that everyone else in my role is actually trained. Is this right?
  • When I read others blogs, tweets and comments, I actually imagine that all these people know each other. I still imagine that this is the case. So responding to anything online actually feels like intruding into a private conversation. Writing this feels like standing up at a party, uninvited, and making a speech justifying why I’ve turned up.

All of this boils down to fear. I don’t like being afraid of stuff, so I’m jumping in.

So, has any sense of it’s worth emerged? I don’t think so. But I had to start somewhere.




12 thoughts on “The Lurker Emerges

  1. I think you have stolen all the thoughts that are inside my head! You have covered the many reasons why I was also a lurker for so long. I too, used to imagine that all the people engaged in the online conversations knew each other and it was their private world. Until, one day, I realised I knew some of the people, and I had magically crossed the divide, I don’t know when and how it happened, but it did. The best thing you can do is jump! The connected world on the other side is worth it.

    1. Thanks, Margo. I suspected that many people felt that way, I guess that, if anything, someone jumping like this and expressing their fears at the same time might help others to jump. Not as much as Aaron’s original post did, however.

  2. That’s a great reflection Eric. I agree with Margo. You seem to capture the way I felt as I moved beyond lurking too. You write, “I’m a Humanities teacher who’s fallen into ICT.” I was a primary teacher who fell into ICT. It wasn’t planned, it just happened, and I’m glad it did. I fell into social media in the same way too. As you say, it all starts with “jumping in”!

  3. Hi Eric, awesome post and reflection. Yep, I know exactly what you are feeling. I too like John and Margo fell into the transformative world of ICT. I’m not officially trained in the sense that I have any formal education in ICT or computers. However, over the years as I developed and became active participant in my personal learning network (PLN), I was able to learn from others. What I do know is that if there are any gaps in my knowledge, be it ICT or teaching and learning, I know that the network of educators et al that I follow will most likely have the answers.

    Thanks for ‘jumping in’ and creating this blog and writing this post.

    1. Thanks, Andrew. Just starting to understand the power of networks and the importance of being present in them, rather than watching them from outside. I’m starting to get it and why it’s important for our students, I think.

  4. What an awesome post Eric. How many ‘computer science’ or ‘media specialist’ teachers do you think really haunt ICT? As I stated in my presentation at ICTEV13 (, I believe that ICT has a way of finding its own. I too had these strange perceptions that everyone knew everyone else and that it was some sort of privileged place. However, at some point I too jumped in. Let go. Whenever I think of the fears, I remind myself of the benefits and it all seems worth it. I have made some attempt to document my journey if that helps (and it isn’t all pretty)
    One piece that I think that you would benefit from reading is Clive Thompson (if Will sends you his link, he actually suggests reading Thompson’s whole book). In it he explains some of the benefits for connecting and blogging from a different perspective (

    1. Thanks, Aaron. My list of things I intend to read just keeps getting longer. But I’d already read your post above, and it’s for your series of posts about becoming connected that I refer to you in my mind as The Blogfather. I’m looking forward to reading your ICTEV13 post. One thing I’m learning is that time gets even more precious as your network expands.

  5. Thanks for leading the way, Eric! I “fell” into eLearning also, when no-one else wanted the job last year, and at times have felt like I’m wandering around in the dark. I posted in the TL21C intro that making connections and asking questions was also my biggest hurdle. More than willing to read about, and discuss issues within the safety of a selected few like-thinkers, but so hesitant to open up to a broader audience. I’ve spent a great deal of time teaching students about confronting fears as part of developing performance skills in Music, and while I can challenge myself in terms of comfort in that domain, I’ve yet to pluck up the courage to really extend beyond that. You new blogging venture, coming from a similar place may be the catalyst I require to get moving! Cheers.

    1. Thanks, Tim. You remind me of the Simpsons episode when Lisa imagines playing with her own supergroup, but in her imagination they are booed off stage. She then asks “Why would they come to our concert just to boo us?”. It think that this is sort of similar. Why would people read my blog just to find fault with it? I think as teachers we’re pretty good and finding the positive attributes about any piece of work; in fact it’s one of the things we should be best at. I can’t wait to read your reflections as we get moving through the course and beyond. Thanks.

  6. Eric, welcome … and thanks for adding your thoughts.
    I wonder what it is you’re fearful of? I think your preceding remarks hit the nail on the head – in these circles people don’t come to judge, they come to support (and learn). That will often be through encouragement, sometimes simply with empathy, regularly with advice and just occasionally by challenging you … in a good way!
    Looking forward to your future reflections.

    1. Thanks, Ian. Isn’t it so often the case that once we’ve done something we forget why we were nervous about doing it in the first place? I’m looking forward to all that you’ve mentioned above, but right now actual class is calling. Thanks for visiting and the encouragement.

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