You know how many comments this blog would have daily if every single visitor actually left a comment? I’d have like 500 comments or so…!
Well, obviously I don’t, and you’re probably right there with me: The chasm between visitors and commenters can often be very big.
These “lurkers” (as they are often called from forum-slang) hang around, consume your content, and then leave without a trace.
But here’s the thing: It’s our job as content producers to provide an experience, culture, and environment where they feel welcomed and at ease to comment.
Why? Because commenting (and contributing in general) can be scary!
We all know the feeling of being somewhere “new” and where you’re the “new guy,” either at work or at school or wherever.
You don’t really know the culture yet, you don’t know who’s “in” and who’s “out,” who’s “cool” and who’s “not” (subcultures) and you don’t speak the language yet.
Or, it could make one feel just plain nervous or anxious about trying something new, like sliding down that big slide…!
That’s enough cause for silence, right?
I think it’s the same way in online communities, and the similar approach needs to be considered. Find creative ways to engage your audience, create low bars of adoption and ask simple questions and create simple activities. Allow others to easily connect with each other, etc.
Help your lurkers come out and play.