Reviewing the definitions of "lurkers" and some implications for online research

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Sep;16(9):645-9. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0362. Epub 2013 Jul 12.


Little research focuses on lurking in the online environment or considers lurking as a valid and important form of online behavior. This may be due to the fact that there are a number of definitions, and most of them focus on a lack of participation or contribution or see it as a problematic behavior that needs to be changed. Such definitions have given lurkers a negative connotation. They need to be considered as an important factor in online research, starting with a clearer and more positive definition of lurking. It is also necessary to understanding why users decide to lurk, what activities lurkers engage in, and whether the online environment is more valuable by turning lurkers into posters.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavioral Research* / methods
  • Humans
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Participation / psychology*
  • Terminology as Topic