Fear of being wrong or self-doubt
One of the most common reasons people do not ask questions in a meeting is the fear of being wrong or lack of confidence. “What will others think if I ask an obvious or silly question? The same applies to online forums too, where people hesitate to share info or ask questions. Even though lurking is not that bad, it would still help team collaboration if lurkers start participating in discussions actively.
Who can help?
Community managers as well as members can help lurkers by just taking good care of new members. Be kind to them when they violate community etiquette, do not use strong words that may discourage them from participating in the community. Encourage posts by liking and commenting on them. Have a dedicated person to greet new members and help them understand community guidelines and etiquette. Once lurkers and new members realise that the community is very friendly they will start joining the matrix.
So, lurkers and new members, shed the fear, make mistakes, learn from them and celebrate the learning.
Image source – http://etsy.me/11TSYA8