University of Maryland

What lurkers and posters think of each other

Nonnecke, B., Preece, J., & Andrews, D. (2004, January). What lurkers and posters think of each other [online community]. In System Sciences, 2004. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on (pp. 9-pp). IEEE.


This study reports the results of an online survey that generated 1188 responses from 375 online MSN communities. The survey examined the behavior and attitudes of participants who post (i.e., posters) and those who read but do not post (i.e., lurkers). The results of the analysis indicate that posters and lurkers go online for similar reasons. While lurkers did not publicly ask questions, they wanted answers to questions (62.1% vs. 70.3% for posters). However, lurkers were less enthusiastic about the benefits of community membership, with 41.8% indicating they received less than the expected benefit. In contrast, 36.6% of posters perceived a greater than expected benefit.