Do you scroll through your Linkedin or Twetter feed, read inspiring stories, and think “Hey, this could be me?” Do you feel like you’ve got something valuable to say, but decide to remain silent?
That probably means you’re a lurker. And this is not bad at all, because 90% of the internet users are using social media purely to consume.
But if you feel like you want to share your voice more often (because your voice matters), then 2023 is going to be the year where you transform from a lurker into a creator.
Back in 2020, I started creating my own content. Since then, I’ve expanded my network with valuable connections, learned a lot, and improved my writing. In this blog post, I’ll share my story with you and I’ll give you some tips along the way.
Why are we lurking?
Lurkers are internet users who generally remain silent online. As a lurker, you aren’t creating, sharing, or interacting with online content.
We lurk for multiple reasons: we simply might not have the time to create and engage with content. Or we might not be interested in doing so. And this is perfectly fine.
However, there are also users who want to create, but don’t know what to talk about. Or they might find it scary to share their online voice. Understandably so, because when you share something online, you’re opening up to many people you don’t know — and you might be afraid that someone hates on your contribution (which — in many cases — won’t even happen at all).
Why I lurked
When I got my Master’s Degree in Media and Business, I wanted to learn more about Marketing, Copywriting, and SEO. I discovered Twitter, a place full of smart Marketers who publish content that help me grow professionally.
At the very beginning, I was only consuming, reading and taking notes. I appreciated all the helpful contributions, but I didn’t give the creators my appreciation: no likes, no comments, no shares.
By the way, if you’re a creator and don’t get any likes on a social media post, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your post wasn’t useful to anyone. In 2021, I argued why lurkers are secretly your biggest fans.
Previous social experience (both in real life and on social media) have made me think that my online contributions didn’t matter. So I remained silent, even when knowing that sharing you voice and building a personal brand could be very helpful.
From lurker to commenter
But the more I read about the benefits of building a personal brand and creating content, the more I wanted to create content myself. However, I still felt like I didn’t have anything to create from scratch.
So instead, I started commenting on other people’s posts.
On Twitter, you have these so-called Twitter chats. These are weekly events and the rules are as follows:
- The host asks multiple questions about a specific topic
- Participants have to answer these questions
- There is no right or wrong. Each contribution matters.
Twitter chats like ‘PopChat’, ‘Chat About Brand’ and ‘Twitter Smarter’ allowed me to share my own takes on Marketing and Personal Branding by answering simple questions. What I like about these chats is that the hosts and participants always encourage one another and give credits when credits are due. When your contribution is useful, they’ll be the first ones to tell you that.
And this made me realize that most of the times, people do care about what you have to say.
Try it yourself: when you see a social media post you find entertaining or helpful, thank the creator for their contribution! Not only will you do the creator a favour (Receiving a compliment is the best feeling, I swear!), but you’ll also get noticed by the creator and their fans. It might be the beginning of a friendship.
And when you feel like you could contribute to someone else’s post by sharing your opinion, perspective, idea, or sharing a source you found helpful — do it!
From a commenter to curator
The more time I spent on Twitter, the more people started following me. I felt like I was building a little audience of people who cared about what I had to say. I was comparing myself to my favourite creators and I felt I could become a creator myself. But I still felt like I didn’t have anything authentic to say.
So I started curating the content of my favourite creators.
In 2021, Twitter launched ‘Spaces,’ a social audio feature. It is like a live podcast. Marketers would use Twitter Spaces to have a live 60-minute discussions about any given Marketing topic.
I found these sessions extremely valuable. But I can forget things quickly. So I decided to take notes while attending these Marketing sessions. I would write down everything I found useful. Later, I would turn these notes into short Tweets and I’d share them with my followers.
It was a great way for me to practice my writing and to give the creators I admired some more publicity. And these threads also resulted in me being highlighted by my favorite creators. Soon, I had become the ‘notetaker of #MarketingTwitter’ and more and more people started following me.
Try it yourself: have you read an interesting book or article lately? Did someone’s podcast episode give you a great epiphany? Did someone write a valuable LinkedIn-post? Share it with your followers! And ideally, add your own thoughts to that shared post as well.
From curator to creator
The more I commented and curated, the better my writing became, the more people started following me and the more confident I became. During the process, I’ve also experienced a lot of things worth writing about, like my job hunt, my imposter syndrome, and my obsession with writing.
When you keep commenting and creating, you’ll slowly find out who you are, what you stand for, and why people want to connect and interact with you (and if you won’t, people will tell you).
You’ll also realize that you don’t need to be an expert before you can start talking about a specific topic. Everyone’s journey is different. People love following the Marketing gurus but also the ones who just started their career.
Try it yourself: If you feel like creating a newsletter, podcast, or a website, just go for it.
As you comment, curate, and create, you’ll feel uncomfortable from time to time (yay, imposter syndrome!). But the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Nowadays, it takes me 3 to 6 hours to write a blog post I’m truly proud of. In 2020, it took me days to write one.
So keep going. As you progress, you’ll become more confident. You’ll realize that interacting with like-minded people and learning from each other is fun. And you’ll also discover the benefits of commenting, curating and creating. Think of:
- Appearing in a podcast episode
- Being noticed by other marketers and recruiters
- Expanding your knowledge
- Being asked to write blog posts for a social media community
- Being a panel member in an online video session
- Building online friendships (and meeting some of your followers in real life).
So what are you waiting for? Start sharing your voice, because yours matters just as much as the ones of your favourite creators’!