When I first read the word “lurker” I had a somewhat adverse reaction. I am quite familiar with the term from being a long time lurker on Reddit. When I did try to connect and contribute to the community there was some very unnecessary and negative feedback. It was actually quite shocking, and without going into too much detail I simply suggested a book as one of my top five only to be called a very derogatory terms. This was also when I learned about trolls. Anyways, I still stood by my opinion that “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov is one of the most fantastic books I have ever read and brushed it off.
I suppose one thing that has stopped me from contributing more frequently to digital media could be that fear of rejection, negativity, confrontation, not being accepted, and the list of issues I am discovering about myself goes on. When thinking about our students, how many of them could be afraid of contributing to online discussions because of similar reasons or experiences, and in the context of the classroom how this can affect learning? We want our students to be creators, not consumers and I see these two terms as almost one and the same with a connector and lurker. As a learner, I need to overcome those trepidations and begin contributing more frequently to help me not only get feedback from others but also reflect and learn about my own practice. We know that so much learning takes place during the reflective process. How can I find the time and right platform to take a quick step back and think about my practice and share ideas with others?
Has the one percent grown or shrank since 2013? Reading Utecht’s article had me think first about how I disconnect, and also connected to my own practice of how I encourage my students and even daughter how to create on the digital tools we use together. I disconnect as much as I can, from leaving my phone in my coat at home to not even bringing it on vacation (except sometimes for music). I think I am on the right track in my own teaching practice, but as a creator that remains a goal.
When I think about the research in Online Personas a question that came to mind is don’t we all want our students to be connectors in their digital world? Don’t we want them to bring the world together, to seek out ways to find information and connect that information with others who need it? Mavens are also awesome. I had a student find a resource and a technique in the classroom today and immediately airdropped it to the class. All of a sudden students started sharing all sorts of tips and tricks, they love to be the expert. Just some small glimpses of actions on the level of a nine-year-old inspired me to think about how I can take baby steps to move away from lurking. We wouldn’t expect our students to just be consumers so it is time to move out of the comfort zone.