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wildviolet

Lurkers on Social Media

10 posts in this topic

Do you find it weird when people lurk on social media (say, FB)?

 

So a colleague of mine has a FB account and rarely ever posts anything--which is fine, they can do what they want. But, I find it a little strange when said person remarks on something I posted (to my face) and yet does not leave any likes or comments. To me, it feels like spying in a way... said person apparently follows his/her news feed yet never leaves a trace of him/herself. Is that weird, or am I just being paranoid?

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If you aren't comfortable with being spied on by randoms...don't put the information up on Facebook!

 

The person might well think it is more polite to have a discussion to your face about what's going on (since you presumably see each other every day) than leaving messages via social media. Isn't it kinda weird to be sitting in the same room as somebody but only "talk" online? 

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I put up only information that I am comfortable with... spying is not quite the right word... however, I still feel like it's just weird. I do see this person quite often (maybe not every day), and I understand what you're saying about politeness.

 

At the same time, this pattern of lurking on social media is also consistent with other patterns of behavior, like hardly ever sharing personal stories. This behavior is just a contrast to other people (grad students) that I meet, who share openly about their struggles in life during our first meeting! I suppose that kind of behavior is more comfortable for me since I am more likely to share things about myself than not. Again, this might just be a case of me being overly analytical instead of just accepting people for who they are.

 

On the other hand... maybe due to my relationship experiences in the past, I am leery of people who seem to hide (even basic) information about themselves. I'm not saying that I need to know people's whole life stories! But, when the conversation is flowing in a certain direction and people are sharing personal experiences or thoughts or feelings... I don't know. I'm not saying it's wrong for people to be private about their private lives, but it does feel weird to me, especially in the grad school setting where people are trying to make human connections with others (away from their families, friends, and perhaps even loved ones--it's amazing to me how many people are separated from their spouses for grad school).

 

I'm curious if others think this way, or if I am truly losing it!

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Hi WildViolet,

 

I think it is a big stretch to extrapolate online behavior with general personality traits...there are just too many confounding variables.

 

It is perfectly normal for people to be reluctant to express themselves on social media. Many people in fact find it really weird when some people keep flooding their FB with their entire life stories ( I for one really do not want to know or see pictures of what people ate for dinner everyday!).

 

It also seems perfectly perfectly normal for people to read FB posts without commenting on them - I mean most people I know have an average of lets say a few <small single number> hundred FB contacts, even if 50 of these put up something daily, would you expect them to comment on 50 items daily?

 

[For example, hope you are enjoying your Muscato :)..although I must say I did comment on that thread too!!!]

 

Of people in general - perhaps it is too much to expect everyone everyone to hold the same behavioral traits in esteem that you do?

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With regards to privacy and opening up. 

 

* It's something that varies by culture, by region, by family, by individual. I won't judge someone as "better" or "worse" by what they do and don't share with you.  

* Different people open up and share things at different rates, and under different circumstances. It might take me a couple of months to a year before I feel happy telling someone something I consider private. Or around another person I will tell them everything about my in the course of a single afternoon. I may clam up when confronted with a direct question, but will volunteer lots if the same question is addressed indirectly. Sometimes it's easier for me to talk about personal things when I'm walking alongside someone instead of sitting adjacent (simply by virtue of the fact that there no eye contact). Folk might prefer to share personal intel over email/blogs/phone conversations etc rather than doing it in person. 

* Not all people evaluate the quality of a friendship based on the volume of personal info shared. Some of my friendship I value because we have really hilarious banter, others because our life experiences/personalities match. If someone isn't sharing private info with you it doesn't automatically mean that they value your friendship any less. 

* Not all people make & strengthen personal connections through volume of personal info shared. These people might build their friendships through shared experiences, common interests, etc. I don't have to know everything about a friend to enjoy time their company. 

* Sharing lots of personal details about yourself does not guarantee that the other person will respond in kind. I could imagine a shy person thinking to themselves: "Gosh, if she's that keen to talk publicly about her own private thoughts & experiences, just imagine what she'll do with mine!" I'm more likely to share personal information with somebody I consider non-judgemental, who I trust to keep private information private.

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With regards to privacy and opening up. 

 

* It's something that varies by culture, by region, by family, by individual. I won't judge someone as "better" or "worse" by what they do and don't share with you. 

 

I'm not saying that it's better or worse. I'm saying that it feels weird to me in particular (maybe because it doesn't make sense to me), and I'm wondering whether others feel the same. As you and zapster have pointed out, maybe I just need to be more accepting of people. I agree with much of what you say.

 

Generally, I feel that I am accepting of others, as long as (uh oh, here's the caveat) their way of doing things, which may differ from mine, makes sense to me on some level. So with social media, there's a range of what I find comprehensible.

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Hi WildViolet,

 

I think it is a big stretch to extrapolate online behavior with general personality traits...there are just too many confounding variables.

 

It is perfectly normal for people to be reluctant to express themselves on social media. Many people in fact find it really weird when some people keep flooding their FB with their entire life stories ( I for one really do not want to know or see pictures of what people ate for dinner everyday!).

 

It also seems perfectly perfectly normal for people to read FB posts without commenting on them - I mean most people I know have an average of lets say a few <small single number> hundred FB contacts, even if 50 of these put up something daily, would you expect them to comment on 50 items daily?

 

[For example, hope you are enjoying your Muscato :)..although I must say I did comment on that thread too!!!]

 

Of people in general - perhaps it is too much to expect everyone everyone to hold the same behavioral traits in esteem that you do?

 

No, I do not expect people to comment on 50 items a day. However... if they would comment in person, then do you think they should comment online as well? When I look at my news feed, I "like" things that I like, and I comment on things I would normally comment on in person. I'm not saying it's a 100% correlation, but I do try to "support" my friends and family, especially if they are far away from me or we are in the same boat (i.e., grad school woes and triumphs). Social media has actually become a somewhat big thing in my department since we are huge (100+ doctoral students)--I've met great doctoral students outside of my cohort and my area through the social media network we created this past year.

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I'm one of those people that prefer to comment face-to-face rather than via fb. This is especially true when I see the person on a regular basis. If one of my fb friends posts a picture or a comment and I have something to say about, I typically tell them the next time I see them, or even give them a call/text...and therefore never put it in written form on FB. This isn't because I don't like fb, because I do. It's more that I think things on fb often seem disingenuous (even tho I realize that's not often the case.) Take wishes of happy birthday for instance. I actually find it somewhat annoying when people tell me happy birthday on fb, because I feel that they only know it's my bd because fb told them...which is fine since it's difficult to keep track of so many birthdays...there's one everyday! But I would be more flattered if they called/text/emailed...because that takes slightly more effort; especially since quite a few people spend quite a bit of time on the site already -read, me on gradcafe lol

 

I don't think I've told my friends what I've written here, so maybe they do think I'm weird when I talk to them in person when I could have very well just posted it to social media for them to read...but I don't really care if they do...( I am kinda weird lol) But if they did, I wouldn't mind them telling me so. And to address that this person doesn't post much about themselves...that's cool too. I don't post that much either...The last thing I posted was in May about my car battery being dead...lol My friends typically just call/text when they wanna know what's up or better yet, I call them up and we have a good old fashioned conversation. There may be a some kind of cultural gap between you and said lurker...so they may think it's more polite to speak to you in person as has been mentioned...or maybe they just don't want to leave a big technology footprint...or maybe he/she is a secret spy... Also, if you feel that he is being weird or creepy, just block her/him and they they wont be able to talk to you about your fb things in real life unless you bring it up in conversation yourself.

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However... if they would comment in person, then do you think they should comment online as well? 

 

Not really; many people are far more comfortable with one-on-one conversations than putting up a comment for the whole world to see.....

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It just depends, for some people it may be weird, and others not so weird.

 

Interesting topic though.

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