Aren’t all members of Facebook, in some respect, lurkers and voyeurs? Yes, but some people are less noble about it than others.

In Defense of Facebook Lurkers by Nina BadzinA loose definition of the official Facebook Lurker: one who spends time on Facebook, but avoids making his/her presence known with comments or status updates.  TO GO ONE STEP FURTHER, the official Facebook Lurker is: a person WITH a Facebook account who blatantly mocks Facebook Users for posting information on Facebook, but acts as if he/she is never actually on the site.

So what’s the issue? Why do Facebook Lurkers need my defense? Here’s why: there is only one kind of person permitted to mock Facebook Users, and that is a person WITHOUT a Facebook account.  (Like my husband, who exercises that privilege often).

Some say the Lurkers (especially the ones who make fun of Users) should be forced to participate or sign off for good. Lucky for you Lurkers, I’m here to defend your equal rights to the magical site. But how do you know if you’re an innocent, infrequent User or a full-fledged Lurker?

If half of the statements below match your Facebooking behavior, then your right to secretly view everyone’s  information could be revoked.

  1. Although you never upload pictures, you’re quick to check for new shots of your ex. You also subconsciously or purposely check for anyone who has gained weight or lost all their hair since high school/college/[fill in the blank].
  2. You think, “obnoxious braggart” about anyone who uploads pictures from an obviously expensive vacation, but you look at those pictures anyway. Sometimes you look twice. (see #1)
  3. You find status updates extremely annoying. A part of you even hates people who write them. And yet . . . you scroll through your “friends” updates when you’re standing in line. Or when you’re bored at work. Or when your kids are busy (and by busy, I mean asking you to play Candyland for the 8th time in two hours).
  4. You’ll never write a comment on somebody’s wall unless it’s your real friend’s birthday. And even then you come up something like, “Can you believe I’m writing on your Facebook wall?!?!? Wow, look at me on Facebook!”
  5. Your lack of sharing on Facebook has become a genuine source of pride. You’re known to say things like, “I’m NEVER on Facebook,” your tone implying that people who write stuff on Facebook are losers and freaks with too much time on their hands. Except you seem to know what people from every walk of your current and former life ate for dinner the previous night and what the bridesmaids wore at your old math tutor’s second wedding.
  6. You don’t comment on pictures or updates or “like” them because then people would KNOW you’re on Facebook. And you like your privacy. You question why nobody else values privacy anymore. You miss 1999. And you think this whole Facebook thing is kind of stupid.
  7. BUT, there you are again, logged into Facebook. In fact, you were lurking there when you came upon this blog post.

Ultimately, if Users protected their privacy the way Lurkers do, there would be NOTHING to DO on Facebook.  Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Nevertheless, I’d like all the Users out there to cut the Lurkers some slack. (Alas, the part where I defend the Lurkers.) If everyone filled up the site like we Users do (yes, like most bloggers, I’m quite a User), we’d ALL be overwhelmed with information. In other words, nobody would see our shameless self-promotion. Then we’d have to figure out how to use Digg or StumbleUpon. And that would kill me–I mean us.

See, it takes all kinds to make the Facebook world go ’round. I, for one, appreciate Facebook Lurkers, and I will defend your honor until I overhear one of you making fun of ME.

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at and Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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