If you are a social networking lurker you already know who you are, but just in case there is any doubt here are the symptoms.
– You have a LinkedIn profile but your name is hidden.
– You ignore connection requests – or worse yet – you have a LinkedIn profile but never sign in to manage your profile.
– You have a Twitter account but your tweets are private. Requests to follow you produce a shudder and immediate blocking of the dastardly would-be connection.
– You check your Facebook privacy settings weekly to ensure no one can find you.
Lurkers do all of the above as if to negate their online presence yet they spend time reviewing others’ profiles and watching networking activities. I can think of a couple of reasons why this behavior is not in your best interests.
1) In today’s connected world it’s tough to attain trusted advisor status if your legitimacy cannot be corroborated by a public persona. I don’t have any hard data to support that claim but I can tell you that business prospects have returned my phone calls and told me that they checked me out on LinkedIn first before they decided whether to call.
2) You may be missing an opportunity to connect with someone who can provide good advice or a service that you need.
3) The most important reason not to lurk is this: Lurkers don’t give back to the community — and sharing is what social networking is all about.
Consider this an invitation to decloak and join the community.