Many of you know Dootsie’s name because she’s one of our more active commenters…. but did you know she used to be a lurker?
Actively participating in online communities certainly isn’t for everyone, and it’s definitely important to take care of yourself and do what’s comfortable for you. But I’m going to share my lil’ story. his may not be helpful for anybody, but I thought I’d put it out there in case somebody needed to hear it…
I’m a former Offbeat Empire Lurker. Since I started commenting and participating (including guest posts), my experience has been overwhelmingly positive!
I always have intense insecurity about commenting and “joining” an online community — a fact that would probably surprise some folks around these parts! It’s just so far out of my comfort zone to actively try to be part of a group and I have a lot of anxiety about what I say.
When I first found Offbeat Bride, I was sort of only vaguely thinking about getting married, and I just didn’t feel like I had much to contribute. I noticed that there definitely seemed to be some “regulars,” and the commenting policy honestly scared me a little. I was afraid I was going to hurt some feelings or have nothing of value to say–which I assumed would be annoying and unwanted.
I was really wrong about that.
At very least, just saying “This wedding is a stunner” makes the people involved feel good, and everyone here supports that. I’ve had questions answered that I never would’ve even asked anywhere else… and I’ve answered some of those sorts of questions, too. And yeah, I’ve made some friends!
And in the interest of full-disclosure, I’ve made some comments that didn’t sit well with some people, and I’ve had comments deleted. But by and large, commenters on the Empire are so respectful and I’m so aware of the moderation end that I came away from each situation a little more informed.
And I feel like that’s why it’s been so easy for me to go from Lurker to Commenter — I know that pretty much every person sitting in the comment section wants me, and everyone else, to succeed and be heard! That’s pretty gosh-darn awesome.
I do get overwhelmed sometimes with the connectedyness of it all, so when that happens… I just take a break from commenting for a while. And there’s no pressure to get back into the swing of participating (which happens a lot on forums, I’ve noticed).
Anyway, all of this to say… I’d love to hear from you if you ever do comment, but we’re all glad you’re out there, either way.