gerund or present participle: lurking
According to articles on the subject of lurking, there is a 1% rule of internet culture: Only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk.
How is it that the creepy term of lurking - started around1990 in a chat room - continues to be used for picking up information on the internet? When you go shopping and don't buy anything, but you are interested in what's on sale or in fashion this season, you aren't "lurking" in the stores, but rather doing something fun like window shopping, browsing, or mall walking. And if you go to a webinar or meeting and get information without asking a question, you are simply attending a webinar or meeting, not lurking.
Using the word as a way to describe all people who are using the internet with low interactions seems unfairly negative. There should be a difference made between people who are lurking in a creepy way (perhaps the types of chat rooms or message boards that are focused more on adult content) is different from people gathering information for educational or self-edification purposes. With the rise in the various ways we can educate ourselves and increase our everyday learning on the internet, I propose that we use a term that differentiates this purpose: Learnking.
Last week I dropped in to two short self-paced Canvas network MOOCs to pick up some information, completing one and not the other. I have taken several MOOCs and comleted them, but more often than not, I am dropping in with the intent of looking at the course design, seeing how the tools are used, and in general checking out how the course is taught. As an educator with a passion for engagement, these things are first and foremost on my mind in any course I encounter.
I recently navigated to the Canvas Community space looking for an answer to a question I had, but - as often happens online - I ended up reading a bunch of other posts about other stuff people are asking about. And I ultimately learned even more than what I had come for. Almost every day, I spend a few minutes scrolling through my twitter feed and checking a couple of groups on Facebook for teachers. When there happens to be an alignment of time/brain/need I will actually contribute to those sites. But more often, I am just leaernking. Picking up information and seeing what's up in the minds of others. (If you follow the right people, those minds can be astoundingly insightful and inspiring.)
I think we need to add a new informal term to the dictionary, that would look something like this
gerund or present participle: learnking
Using the internet with the main purpose of collecting of information for future use, mainly pertaining to educational purposes