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This chapter explores the unpaid digital labour of moderators and how moderation style encourages or discourages a reader’s visible participation. This chapter examines three specific case studies – affinity groups (online communities where members share in a common goal), health communities, and neighbourhood groups – and introduces sensemaking to the discussion of lurker literacies. The chapter also offers critical content analysis of the evolution of Facebook group features and the corporation’s community management training programme to offer insights into the challenges of active Facebook moderation.

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This concluding chapter explores the question: can lurking be valuable if participation is not publicly (and easily) measurable? This chapter unpacks value as a social and economic construct and discusses the impact lurking has for platforms, companies, society, and ourselves. Rather than disband the use of the term lurker, the author argues that understanding ourselves as lurkers offers the possibility of more sustainable community relationships on- and offline.

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This chapter historicizes the myth of the lurker, tracing its roots from real-world abuser to surreptitious online reader by contextualizing a range of cultural texts from 14th-century poems to 21st-century memes. Lurking is perceived as malignant when its motives resist anthropocentrism, imperialism, and capitalism. This chapter sets out to problematize the negative connotations of lurking and illuminates the ways that lurking can be an active, participatory, and valuable act.

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Ignoring lurkers can invalidate critical social science research in education, health, and psychology, which often use social media participation as part of their data collection methods. If data collection does not account for lurkers, researchers reach only 10 per cent of social media users within the confines of their study. This could compromise the validity of the results and findings, thus having a detrimental effect on health and learning outcomes for people whose care and education rely on practitioners accessing accurate data. This chapter offers concrete strategies for ways to expand datasets to include the literacy practices of lurkers. It also explores the limits of platform sponsored tools like CrowdTangle for data collection and offers suggestions for how to ethically engage with lurkers.

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Beginning with an autoethnographic overview of the author’s personal lurking habits, this introductory chapter gives an overview of the research on lurking as a normal and participatory social media act.

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Lurking as Digital Literacy Practice
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We all sometimes ‘lurk’ in online spaces without posting or engaging, just reading the posts and comments. But neither reading nor lurking are ever passive acts. In fact, readers of social media are making decisions and taking grassroots actions on multiple dimensions.

Unpacking this understudied phenomenon, this book challenges the conventional perspective of what counts as participatory online culture. Presenting lurking as a communication and literacy practice that resists dominant power structures, it offers an innovative approach to digital qualitative methods.

Unique and original in its subject, this is a call for internet researchers to broaden their methods to include lurkers’ participation and presence.

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This chapter explores the relevance of transactional and sociocultural print-based literacy theories to the digital reading experience. At the centre of this discussion is an illustration of the shifting notions of author and reader on social media and how theories of print-based literacy are necessary for understanding the efferent and aesthetic motives of readers, which includes the decision of when to engage in specific lurker literacies.

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This chapter argues that the internet is a colonized space and, within that space, lurking is a privileged participatory act. Global media literacy standards are centred on acts of public participation and must adopt a more inclusive approach. Building on the work of media literacy scholars, this chapter seeks to broaden media literacy assessment from skill development and identifying bias to include the teaching of lurker literacies as resistance to surveillance and the amplification of misinformation.

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Utilizing data from neighbourhood Facebook groups, this chapter analyses the ways that offline relationships influence online behaviour. This chapter argues that receptive reading, protective curation, and participatory restraint are lurker literacies readers engage in on social media to gratify desires to preserve their offline relationships with members of their community. Receptive reading occurs when a person wants to closely, and anonymously, read a social media commenting thread with the express purpose of understanding a divergent point of view. Protective curation is when a person reads to collect information to protect their socioeconomic status. This includes gathering information to professionally advance in one’s career and/or to maintain the perceived quality of their community life. Participatory restraint is a strategic choice whereby a person will purposefully not respond to an inflammatory social media post. A reader will purposefully refrain from commenting, liking, or sharing their dissent via publicity metrics. These efforts are sometimes taken individually and are sometimes collectively decided by a group using alternate, non-social media, communication methods.

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Dementia affects memory, language and motor functions, engenders behavioural and psychological disorders, and progressively weakens the ability of older people to communicate and interact. Simultaneously, maintaining residents in social exchanges and enabling them to behave as a ‘person’, a status to be understood in moral terms, is a main objective of care work in nursing homes. Based on an ethnographic study conducted in a long-term Swiss care facility and by focusing on professionals’ inquiries, this article uncovers two ‘arts of doing’ used by professionals to make contact with residents and maintain them in the fabric of relationships. First, ‘sensitive arts of doing’ are in play when professionals seek to interpret a situation from a resident’s gestures and emotions in order to (re)establish the fine-tuning necessary for continued interaction. Second, ‘hermeneutic arts of doing’ are employed when professionals try to determine how residents perceive their environment and elucidate how to make sense of what they are doing together. Highlighting these two ‘arts of doing’ gives depth and substance to the relational activities undertaken by professionals and proposes concrete methods that can support care, interaction and value-based practice with older people with dementia.

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