How many of us are there?

How many of us are there?

I was poking around the Internet Archive yesterday In the text Archive an noticed that last week Beeton’s Book of Needlework was the second most downloaded book of the week with 8,293 downloads.Now these are downloads of this book in one single week. That’s a lot of needleworkers online downloading this book in one week. I would love to know just how many active stitchers are online.
In the industry often the various textile and craft communities are seen as small little backwaters of the net filled with little old ladies who barely know how to click a mouse let alone communicate online. I know this stereotype is wrong and I sense that as a niche it is not as small as even some stitchers think particularly if we take this little statistic as an indicator of interest.
I think there are many stitchers who are active on discussion forums and email groups and yet another cluster who blog but I sense this is just a very small indicator of the number of stitcher who use the net regularly.

Many people simply browse, read and download material but do not necessarily keep a blog or regularly interact with a discussion group. In other words lots of stitchers lurk. As an indicator this blog gets between 1,000- 1,500Β  hits in a day – which it does regularly – often those hits only generate 4 or 5 comments. So there is a lot of hidden activity which I think this download statistic from the internet archive also points to. Think about it for a moment if you think of all the sub categories of textiles knitting, quilting, sewing, costume , and so on. How many of us are there? Of course there is no real way of knowing or linking up such a large group but boy what a social network site it would make if it did and knowing stitchers they would talk to one another- gosh it would be a busy corner of the web! It would be a busy online life indeed – perhaps too busy to get any stitching done!

That wild thought aside why do you think people lurk? By lurk I mean read but never even leave a comment? I can understand how people might find a discussion group or keeping a blog too time consuming but I am interested in those who read but never even comment. If you read something interesting it is easy enough to chip in to the conversation for moment but many don’t. Why do you think? Is it that they feel there is nothing in it for them? Are people conditioned to consume but not participate? Or do we really in a world where people happily take but don’t give back? These are just a few questions in my mind before I bound into the shower and go to work. I would love to hear people thoughts on this.


  1. I lurk. I really never thought about writing comments. Probably because I never felt that what I thought was really of any interest to anyone.
    Also I love to sew but do not feel I can keep up with or sew as fast as others. When I finally finish something it seems that everyone else is two or three projects ahead of me and on to something else.
    I do have a blog but do not write in it too often because again I sew so slow I do not have alot of things to show.
    Thank you for being a wonderful person and sharing your knowledge. Kathy

  2. I am also a lurker.

    For me the main reason of lurking is that this is not my first language. I love to read it but I do not really want write since I fear not to find the right words.

    I love your blog especially the TAST. I am trying to do as many of your TAST stitches as possible on my latest crazy quilt.

    Thank you for sharing so many ideas with so many people

    Regard from the other side of the globe.

    Ellie B
  3. i’ve been trying to comment more recently. especially now that i have a blog of my own. but alot of the time (as people have mentioned), i feel quite shy still. i’m really trying to get past that but i still have alot of self doubt about whether i have something worthwhile to say or that people would be even interested in reading. but having a blog has definitely helped alot. it also helps to keep in the back of my mind that leaving comments will hopefully get my blog out there more.
    i’m so intimidated though! there are so many wonderful blogs that (again) i’m constantly wondering why anyone would want to read mine? it’s nowhere near as good as yours or so many of the others i read!
    i promise, i’m going to make it my goal to comment more often! πŸ™‚ and stop with the self doubt!

  4. Hi Sharon,I suppose I am a lurker too,unwittingly though.Somedays I couldnot leave acomment though iwanted to-family emergencies,telephne etc.Sometimes I would type in a reply only to find the whole text erased inadvertently ,either due to powercuts or an unknowing press of a button.Sometimes I need to take some time to chew on the issue.or it might be a topic I just came to know of (thru your efforts).But I know there are people out there,whom I would meet & maybe make friends of.So till then Love,Sita

  5. I love this post – my blog is only a year old, and I was horrified a few weeks ago when a group of textile artists here in Austin asked me to join – a friend in dallas had sent them my blog site. I thought only the few people who comment are reading it. Oh dear. I have to learn more and do it well and regularly. Spruce it up a bit. I do love yours – but feel you have enough comments without mine. Carry on. As Michaelangelo said, “I am still learning.” I met Allison by commenting on hers last year – and have found a true and wonderful friend!! Great community.

  6. Oh Me again – some days if I had a brain I would be dangerous –
    I meant to say if any bloggers write about this topic on their blogs leave a comment here with your URL I am sure people would love to read your views I know I would –

  7. Here is a note to myself – I should not ask questions or go into musing mode the week I have a hundred or so students to mark, have Eve return home, and have to pack the car for a folk festival and do all the usual stuff like washing!
    I am trying to put together a post on this as it has caused quite a bit of interest that I think is interesting for all bloggers.

    I was not looking for praise about this blog as such but was interested why so many members f the community are happy to remain invisible as I am a noisy nosey parker who is always interested in how other think –

    Coral your question “How should I respond to comments left on my blog? When someone has taken the trouble to comment, it seems rude not to reply, but I’m not sure if I should reply to each one individually, and how. What do other bloggers do?”

    Since I think of comments as conversations I try to keep them on the blog as other people might have other ideas and respond differently with other ideas, tips, links etc I do however occasionally drop people an email
    “sometimes it is shyness in such a professional crowd, sometimes I am reading for relaxation and have no brain left to comment and sometimes lack of time at the end of a busy day” yes I know that feeling too sometimes I feel tired and I read someones post and I either push myself to respond or skip it – so I am guilty of that too

    Paula – your newbie status and feeling like you might be gatecrashing on a regular crowd is interesting as firstly you would be seeing the community with fresh eyes but also I have this thing about bloggers getting clicky – you know in crowds and those on the outer I would hate them to become like high school agian yet I have no idea how not to prevent that feeling –
    That said all new folks are always welcome here

    There is lots of comments I would like tease out in a longer post and as you can see this is turning into a longer than normal reply for a comment so I had better leave it there

    keep them coming – I have to dash, take a shower and go to work

    thanks everyone for leaving a comment and thanks for all the praise about this blog

  8. When I first discovered blogs (about 18 months ago) I would lurk. I didn’t like to leave a comment because I felt a bit like an uninvited guest at a party. I still fell a bit like that when I discover an established blog that I did not know about before, especially if it is about something other than thread embroidery. But I am too nosey to remain a lurker, eventually I had to put in my two-pennies worth somewhere.

    Originally, I knew of only a few blogs, they were stored in my favourites; I dropped in each day to read new posts. Now I use bloglines, and subscribe to nearly 200 sites. Some days there are 50 or 60 new posts and it can take time to read them all. I do like to read what someone has taken the time to write, rather than browse the pictures, so I don’t have time to comment on them all as well. Mostly, I commented when I have something I would like to contribute to a discussion or when I particularly want to express how much I liked a something I have seen.

    I quiet often delete a comment without posting it. I tend to respond with a comment about my own experience and think that my comments contain too many β€˜me’ and β€˜I’ so don’t sent them.

    Since I have started my own blog and know how thrilled I am when a complete stranger leaves a comment to say β€˜I like your work’, I make a point of doing that when I see something I like, especially when I discover a fledgling blog.

    A related question: How should I respond to comments left on my blog? When someone has taken the trouble to comment, it seems rude not to reply, but I’m not sure if I should reply to each one individually, and how. What do other bloggers do?

    One more reason I delete comments without posting them, I go on waaaaaay too long!


  9. Hi Sharon
    I am a lurker too. I read your blog regularly (2-3times a week), but only tend to comment on the TAST work as I am going along. (I am still hanging in there, but my camera has died…hope to update my stitches soon).
    I find that the others have given my reasons and normally would not comment at this stage, feeling that the conversation has moved on and I have nothing new to add.
    For me, sometimes it is shyness in such a professional crowd, sometimes I am reading for relaxation and have no brain left to comment and sometimes lack of time at the end of a busy day.
    Your blog has become part of my routine and enriches my day.

  10. I have only just in the last fortnight had access to the internet – for the first time since leaving work to have babies.(8years). Things have changed a lot, I have never realised what a wealth of information is out there. Im not even sure how I found your site, but Im really glad I did. And I would never have left a comment until I read this page, for most of the reasons stated above (nothing to say/too shy/didnt know what to do) but also as a newbie to blog, I felt like Id be ‘gatecrashing’ into an already established group. i love your site, keep up the good work, and i expect you’ll be hearing more from me in the future! PMH

  11. By reading some of the more recent responses to your question, I noted that a lot of people who admit to lurking say they don’t have their own blogs. I guess that is another reason to comment on other people’s blogs. I try to leave my addie as well so that that person will perhaps pop over to my blog, and leave a comment on it, and that starts an interaction with that person. As I said, the PC has probably taken over as my main method of communication with people other than my most intimate friends, and I’ve made lots of web friends through comments and reading blogs.
    I was quite ignorant on computers till I found Y. Groups and then blogs like yours, Sharon. Now I think I’ve almost learned how to do most things, although I haven’t tried to youtube yet, lol. So yes, perhaps it IS a confidence issue after all. I’m quite happy to comment and post to my blog, just don’t ask me to post to youtube, I’d like to stay just a little bit private, thanks, lol.
    Hooroo, Christine in gorgeous sunny Sydney

  12. Hmm Sharon – your blog is fantastic – I’m curious as to why you think people WOULD comment. It looks a bit as if you have assumed that commenting is the “accepted” behaviour?

    I have always assumed the opposite – that most people would NOT comment. Would you care to comment on why you think they would?

    I am always interested in your opinion.


  13. Hi Sharon
    I don’t know how I missed this part of the post before but I did –I must have skipped the bottom bit.
    I started my blog because of the TAST challenge and I will be eternally greatful to you for that.
    I have made some wonderful cyber friends through blogging-people who encourage me along the way.
    I do lurk a little bit but I have a bloglines feed which has the sites on it that I like to read and I check them when they post a new item.
    BUT I don’t always comment on them.
    Even though what they have been blogging about is great sometimes it doesn’t speak to me so rather than make a comment I don’t say anything.
    I don’t mind “me too” comments on my blog because it still tells me that someone took the time to leave a comment.
    Another thing that I do is I always e-mail the person and thank them for dropping by and leaving a comment(where possible)and I also add a little bit more than just the mere thank you.
    Sorry for rabbiting on but I just wanted to add my bit albeit belated.

  14. My….what a firestorm! On my end of things I just cannot keep up with the ton of information that is out there. Plus, as some have stated, I don’t want to risk saying something that someone might misinterpret and then have to spend “forever” mending it. I will risk one thing here tho. A portion of our society is very selfish and unwilling to give or help let alone care. I applaud YOU for all you have done for the fiber arts! I ought to have said “thank you” long ago… Keep up the great work!

  15. I mostly lurk and rarely comment. There are several reasons: I read only English blogs but English is not my first language so it takes much more time to formulate my thoughts. I also think that a written word has much more weight than a spoken one: if I spoke to a blogger in person I would comment all the time but I feel that I should write only if I have something “important” to say. Also I find it easier to speak than write, to put my thoughts into nice sentences. In writing I miss nonverbal means of communication.

  16. I wonder if perhaps a simple “thank-you, I appreciate your work” could be considered highly relative to any who take the time to contribute to the great body of information that is afforded to us on the www?

  17. I consider myself a champion lurker. I am one of those people who have surfed and dug through internet discussion sites since darn near the beginning . . . and Rarely leave a comment! I guess the major reason is that it fits my personality. I am quiet and shy in person and it takes quite awhile for me to warm up and let people know what I think. Not always a good thing, but there it is.

    Another reason has to do with the magnitude of groups and blogs that catch my interest. I try to limit my blog time to once a week (or I’d get nothing else done!) and any comment I make is often no longer timely. Besides many times someone else has already said what I was thinking – and said it pretty darn good!

    A couple of weeks ago, I took a deep breath and started my own blog. I am beginning to understand how important comments can be. I enjoy your blog so much and it will be interesting to see what you pull together on why lurkers lurk! Keep up the good work Sharon.

  18. I think I’ve noticed a change over the nearly three years that I’ve been blogging. When I started, I read maybe 10-20 blogs regularly and commented on most of them. Now it’s more like 100 and simply don’t have time unless I I have something positive to contribute! I think the blogosphere has just got so huge, especially the stitching one – three years ago, yours and Layers of Stitch were about the only ones I knew and then about 2005 lots of people started blogging and there was a great sense of community because we were all doing it together, especially if we were in one blogring. Then it just got so huge, you couldn’t just read all the ones in the blogring because there were too many… then more and more blogrings…

    Sorry, a bit rambly, hope it makes sense! Liz

  19. Gosh, even when you ask specifically why so mnay of us lurk, I still cannot find anything useful to contribute! I have composed and erased about 7 comments as a response. Even as I am typing this one, which I am determined to send, I have typed and erased several sentences. It is just too hard to come up with something original and meangingful.
    OK, I have just erased lots more sentences – my comment was threatening to turn into a novel as I tried to find the right words. But I couldn’t find them, and kept erasing and re-typing. Every time I type a sentence, I think of a better way to say it, so I erase and start again. Enough!
    This is why I don’t usually comment. I am now going hit Submit. Either that, or I shall hit the Back button, as I usually do in such circumstances, and not leave a cmment at all. Which button is it going to be……..

  20. Sharon, I read your blog fairly regularly (and love it) but have never commented because, like some other people here, I don’t have anything substantive to add to the topics. I am not primarily an embroiderer-I spin, weave, sew, knit, garden, am trying to learn a little botanical illustration and do some embroidery now and then. I do participate actively in a Yahoo sewing group and on the Stitchers Guild website, but I don’t feel that I can commit to maintaining a conversation on too many sites or I’d never have time to get any actual work done. I don’t want to just post and then disappear.

    So, let me take this opportunity to thank you for having such an inspiring site with so many wonderful links.


    Linda H.
  21. Hi Sharon:
    There’s been a myriad of answers to this one for sure, many of which I agree with, so not to be repetetive I am offering another perspective Another point that was once mentioned to me by a fellow guild member was that some people who blog have a ” me me” attitude” about them. Yes, they are extremely knowledgeable and we all know that a little self confidence is a plus but it is how they respond to comments etc. It is like they are the sole experts in their field and when they have been written to, they can only comment with a one upmanship type of attitude like their opinion is the only one. So people get tired of commenting. We’ve already established that talking on the internet is not like talking across the table to someone. So perhaps it is not a matter of lack of confidence in not making comments but a presence of overconfidence on the part of the blogger or the manner in which they express themsevles? I have not experienced this type of attitude much myself but this could be a valid reason for not wishing to comment I suppose.

  22. Wow…you brilliantly got many of us to admit to lurking. After I had been lurking only a short time, I went back and read your whole “inaminuteago” website. When you moved, I found that I was already hopelessly addicted. I like just about everything you do and everyone you do it with! I rarely comment: mainly if I think someone needs my experience, strength and hope. My life spins out of control quite a bit, and coming here, kind of brings life back into order. It is nothing short of a spiritual journey, nothing less than walking into a room of marvelous activities and wanting to do them all-right now..and not having to decide right away…a dreamer’s world where you can say – I can do that!…And the proverbial candy store that is soooooo full of beautiful things that you rush there after school each day, just to see what new candy is in the window…and yet, sometimes, it is a hospital where when you have been beat up by the world so severely that you feel there is nothing good left, you come and are reminded – goodness lives! Your site is truly a gift – one that I cannot thank you enough for!

  23. Well, we’ve all come out of the woodwork now! The way I see it the reason people don’t leave comments is often because of shyness; or feeling that what they were going to say has already been said a number of times already; or they/ we simply can’t find the words to express ourselves the way we want to; or a chronic illness prevents greater participation. Love your blogs they’re a huge component of the life of my limited life.

  24. In my case, time is a large factor. I have two teenagers and a 13 month old. I get about one hour, sometimes two, per day to myself. In that time, there is just too much I want to do. There are crazy quilt blocks to stitch on for fun and relaxation. There are a few quilts to finish in various stages of progress, from almost completely pieced to a stack of fabrics and an idea. There are scarves and slippers to knit and totes to sew and embellish for Christmas presents. There are blogs to read for inspiration. There is my blog, which is mostly a diary of my projects. I leave comments when am inspired to or when I have something to share, but not as often as I’d like. I may be able to steal a few minutes to check the blogs if the baby is playing with her dad or sister, but it’s rare that I am able to finish typing anything when she is awake, so I usually don’t bother. Like now, baby woke up, teen came home, husband came home, and dinner needs to be started. I almost got up and forgot I was even commenting.

  25. Some of us are just too busy with everything else in our lives (or is it just that I am not in the slightest bit organised?) so all we have time to do is duck in every now and then and have a quick read and only sometimes have time to throw a quick comment in, but other times it is often a case of thinking “I must go back there tonight/later/whatever and read the rest of that/add a comment” … but sometimes “later” is weeks later and it is either forgotten or way too late …
    sneaking a peek at the blog at work, so I could print off the TAST stitch to do at lunch time, and sneaking in a comment (or 2) while I am at it because at the moment nobody is in the room with me to notice that I am not actually working right this second πŸ˜‰

  26. Wow what a lot of comments – I am sifting through these ideas and I am going to pull together a longer response on this in the form of a post – I am also digging around in some academic studies to see what they say. I won’t bore you with them here but some take time to read!
    Thanks to everyone who has added to this – and particularly to those who de-lurked to leave a comment

  27. I read a lot of blogs, and lurk on most of them. I just came across your blog today. But I’m commenting to say that often I don’t comment, because then I feel obligated to come back and check the comments, to see if someone commented to me, so I can reply, because I feel rude if I don’t. And then, I’m not sure how many back-and-forth replies are Proper before one can stop responding without being perceived as rude. πŸ™‚ It wouldn’t be difficult to keep track of if I only read one or two blogs. There are a *lot* of crafters with blogs though… heh.

  28. I lurk as well – often because I don’t feel my comments will add anything and that others have said it as well or better than I would.

    also some blogs require you sign up and I try not to sign up for something I’m not going to use (blog) at least at this point.

    your blog is one I read each and every day – love it!

  29. Hey, Sharon! As you know, I’ve been reading (and occasionally commenting) for a few (!) years now. I don’t always comment on other blogs unless I have something useful or specific to say about the post. Although I may admire the skills of a blogger, I also don’t always feel a “connection” to that blogger and so I don’t comment.

    I am also very shy, and don’t always feel comfortable opening myself up for criticism… internal though it may be! I may be opening myself up for criticism now, when I say that it is entirely possible that many needleworkers are shy and withdrawn… the usually solitary nature of needlework gives the quiet, shy person something to do that doesn’t require other people. If you are an outgoing extrovert you may not understand the inability to interact with other people that can cripple those of us who are introverted and shy.

    Whew… sorry to go on so long… hope you can make sense of my ramblings!

  30. Hi Sharon,
    I am also a “lurker”. Read you blog every day but have never left a comment. For me, it is more than anything a lack of confidence. If I don’t have something meaningful to add to the discussion, I don’t say anything. I get a bit intimidated,
    which is funny as I have had my own art in galleries, but CQ, art journals, etc. are outside my sphere, so I am quiet and try to learn from you and your blog.

  31. I tend to think that there are two general mindsets: that of “Producer” and that of “Consumer.” I think that producers tend to leave more comments in the blogosphere, because they understand, from producing their own projects, the value of their participation in other people’s work.

    People who operate under a consumer mindset, on the other hand, tend towards lurking, because they see media as something presented to them, not necessarily as something they can participate in.

    When I teach blogging classes locally, and I ask my students why they don’t comment on blogs, the discussion always reveals a hidden belief that they “aren’t allowed” to comment on others’ posts.

    Thankfully, the internet offers so many tools and encouragements, more and more consumers are crossing the synapse and becoming producers. It’ll take time to happen on a wide scale, but I believe the transition is afoot.

  32. Well I confess, I’m a lurker. I think your blog is the first I have visited regularly. Started about one year ago. Blogging was new to me, and I did not realize I could left a comment. When I understood that, it was complicated, I had to have an account somewhere to be able to do so.
    Then, I started visiting more blogs (6 months ago), and quickly realized I had to blog myself to return what I was taking from others’s blogs. And since I had a blog, I had an account that made it easy to comment.
    But still, I rarely comment on your blog. Because I feel intimidated. I admire you and your work too much. I would not miss reading your blog everyday. But I find it hard to comment on what you say. Because you are “too professionnal”. Don’t take it bad. Clearly, you make everything to help your readers, to bring clear information, etc… It is so clear and so well expressed that I don’t know what I could say. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t say you are cold, or that you are on your own tower, or anything negative. Not at all. I just don’t know what to say.
    On the other hand, except for encrusted crazy, I’ll register on a course with you without any hesitation. When I talk embroidery with other ladies, I start by advising a visit to your blog and how much I have learnt from you. Since I met you on the web, I’ve made huge progress in embroidery, and I’m very thankfull for that.
    But you make me shy.
    Since a couple of weeks, I force myself to comment from time to time on your blog, and I’m glad to do so, but it’s not easy.

  33. Right here, at the point where I’ve read all the other comments, is where I stop. As I read your entries, I always have things I’d like to say running through my mind, but unless my comment offers something new to the discussion, it goes unmade. The reason I decide not to comment is because someone else has already said what I wanted to say. Had your post not been explicitly about leaving comments, I wouldn’t have left one. I have a problem being a “me too” and if what I do isn’t at least partly original, I just won’t do it.

    I would say that for every comment a blogger receives, there are at least 100 — possibly thousands in your case — comments that go unmade. I think it’s human nature. You have the quiet ones and the gregarious ones. I also think with your blog in particular, there’s the awe factor. Some readers won’t think their work or ideas measure up to your work or talent, no matter how nice and encouraging you’ve always shown yourself to be.

    There’s one other reason I don’t comment. When a blog or website helps me germinate an idea for something new and different, it may take me a long time to put my idea into fiber. If I tell someone about my idea and they like it, pretty soon they’re doing it and by the time I get around to doing it, it’s already been done by one or more people and I look like the follower instead of the idea person. That’s really hard for me. I’ve found that in my local “in person” group of stitchers, and I’ve taken to keeping my mouth shut around some people who aren’t so generous when it comes to owning up to where they got an idea. You can explain the lack of posts on my own blog by the fact that until the idea has a finished object to photograph, and process to be explained, it’s not going to be seen by the rest of the world. That’s just my nature. I’ve leared that I’m something of a square peg in a round-peg world, and I’ve accepted that. Most of the time I even like it. At our house, we call it the Kermit effect. It’s not easy being green, but usually it’s way more fun.

    Thanks again for all the inspiration, both mental and “in fiber.”

  34. I’m with Jen Funk Weber. Which violates my own #1 reason for not commenting.

    Another reason is that it rarely feels like conversation to comment. One makes one’s comment, but *if* the blogger writes back in the comments, one rarely re-reads the comments to see the remark. (Never when we’re on a reader; we don’t even see the old post.) So while the medium may seem to encourage participation, it’s not truly conversational.

  35. It seems clear that you get more comments when you ask specific questions. It sure is interesting that so many former lurkers responded to your question, especially since they are the only ones who can tell us why they haven’t commented. I leave lots of comments, not because I think I have something original to say, but because I think most people appreciate feedback.

  36. I frequently don’t comment because I feel I have little new to add to the dialog. Another reason is often others have made the same point I might wish to make. Then there is the time factor. I don’t have internet access at home and I only have a limited time to read on break or at lunch. And now that I have commented I will go and see if any others have listed the same reasons that I did.

  37. I read too many blogs to comment on them all. I too have a lot of lurkers on my blog. Partly, on Blogger, you have to have an account to be able to comment and lots of people don’t want to bother with that.

  38. Sharon, how interesting as I have often wondered that myself. My theory is that many people see the internet as an information resource, similar to a library. Basically, they grab the information and run.

    I’ve been blogging for several years now. I average between 500 – 1,000 hits a day on my blog. You know, I am quite generous with my own complimentary pattern designs. Yet, when I compare the amount of downloads for each pattern, (often over 800 in a weeks time)with the amount of “thank you” notes that I receive for the pattern, I’m blow away. 800 downloads generates only an average of 2 – 5 “thank yous”. Sometimes none!

    I have honestly never understood this. And it’s not that I’m looking for expressions of gratitude but it has always been my habit to take a moment and thank the designer when I’ve downloaded a pattern so I guess it’s a bit surprising to me as I’m a firm believer in “what goes around, comes around”.

    Again, I chalk it up to what I said in the beginning: the internet is like a library, people grab the info and run.


  39. I to am a lurker. I read your blog daily expecting to find a fasinating stitch you have shown due to your expertise, as well as all the interesting websites you have find.

    I have learned so much from you and I thank you. I apologize for not posting comments as I too feel that my writing skills are not the greatest. I also do not have a blog, therefore think I wouldn’t be missed by not posting.

    I hope you don’t feel unappreciated because of a lack of comments. You truly are a gift to those of us who aren’t has creative and your site offers so much inspiration.

    Thank you for your site!

    Kathy R.
  40. Hi Sharon,
    I am also a “lurker”…. πŸ™
    Somehow I understand that it must be so frustrating for you to see that 1500 or so people read a post of yours and the response is so limited.
    I read the blog since ages with Bloglines and commenting then becomes a bit difficult with my slow internet connection. Also, I dont feel comfortable in contributing “Thanks”, “Yes, me too”, “Very beautiful” on some sort of a day to day ROUTINE. I do comment though if there is something which directly relates to my work or experience.
    But there is also something which I wondered a lot about lately. Bloggers frequently ask for comments and encourage people to leave their remarks somehow aiming for some sort of “communication”. But leaving a comment on a blog does not mean that I engage myself into a discussion or conversation or dialog. How would you define or explain such an interaction? Usually there is no follow-up of a comment. Or I myself loose track of where I left a comment. So leaving a comment is actually also a very lonely task unless one writes a blog oneself and sees it as some sort of public relations tools for his/her own endeavours.

    Sharon, although I think I have never commented on your blog (but have sent an email to you ;)), be assured that I highly appreciate your efforts in putting together such a wonderful blog whith so many great ressources!!!!!!!!
    A daily reader from Vienna, Austria πŸ™‚

  41. I’ve always participated in newsgroups and mailing lists and never felt I shouldn’t join in there. I do comment on blogs but if I only read intermittently I’d be commenting when the theme has already moved on and that feels pointless.

    Kate in Somerset
  42. hello sharonb

    I am one of this lurkers here! this is my first comment on your site.

    the reason why? it isn’t such a problem for me to read and understand your blog, but so far I’m not able to pack my thoughts in this language.

    it isn’t so easy to say things about creativity in my own mothern language – a foreign language made it not easyer at all.

    but I would thank you that you allow us to take part at your creativity.

    thankfull greetings from another end of the world, eve

  43. I think the reason I don’t comment a lot on blogs is a mix of most of the reasons above.

    I originally started out on Usenet, where lurking was positively encouraged at the outset to avoid upsetting exisiting users by rehashing old ground etc (and that might say more about Usenet users than anything else…) and “me too” posts were frowned upon. It’s quite difficult to say something new when all you want to say is something short and admiring, an acknowledgement of a post. Being in the UK, for example, I’m likely to be asleep if someone in the US posts mid evening, and by the time I get up in the morning, there might be half a dozen comments along the line of “nice work” – so do I add to them?

    I have a blog of my own, but it’s mainly just there as a record of the pieces I’ve worked, especially as I give many of them away as gifts. I don’t think of it as a contribution to the blogosphere, and equally I don’t think my comments are either – so both tend to be brief and infrequent.

    I would love for there to be a site for stitchers along the lines of ravelry, as it seems to me to be a database and social networking site all in one.

  44. I, too, read a lot of blogs, but rarely comment. Some of my reasons are:

    1 – Personally, I find a long string of “I love this!” “Great job!” “Me, too.” to be a mind-numbing waste of time. If I don’t have something new and (to me) interesting to say, I don’t want to waste other readers’ time.

    2 – As Vicki already said, I worry about some unknown consequence of something I might say in haste. For instance, how many people read #1 and think ill of me for ragging on those kinds of comments? Lots of people leave them. Did I offend all those people? Again, unless what I have to say is somehow significant, I’m probably better off keeping my mouth shut and my fingers still!

    3 – Often, I don’t think of something that might be worth contributing until I’ve had time to digest a post, maybe try the suggested technique. Comments tend to be timely things. If I’m not prepared with an immediate response, the opportunity seems to slip away. And Sharonb, you add to this “problem” by being so prolific. (Please don’t stop.) I simply can’t keep up with you.

    4 – Then when I do respond, I sometimes write a book and feel embarrassed.

    Stepping back into lurkdom now…

    I love this blog!

  45. guilty! I’m a lurker; in my case because it’s hard to distinguish when you’re new to the whole blog-community thing (as I am) who are “real” friends and who “online” friends, and whether comments from a stranger are welcome… add to that a whole hero-worship thing that develops around popular blogs, and one starts to feel that by commenting one is just trying to “get one’s name in”, or let a little of that online glamour rub off, so to speak.

    Or y’know, maybe I’m just shy.

  46. Isn’t it OK if I sit quietly and listen to you tell me a story without trying to improve it?
    Some lurkers may not relish more conversation after working with and for people all day. (This is me. I don’t even answer the phone at home.)
    -Some may enjoy the web as we would enjoy multiple books, reading a chapter a day in each one. (Me here too. Doesn’t everyone read more than one book at a time?)
    -Some of us have nothing useful to add. (I sure don’t.)

  47. I am another long-time lurker. I came across your site while preparing an embroidery project for our 4-H group. I referenced your stitches library as a place to go for those who wanted to explore more stitches. Since then I visit your site regularly because I enjoy your thoughts and insights, as well as your challenges and wonderfully creative work. Why don’t I leave comments? Mostly because I don’t feel I have anything to contribute. When sitting and chatting with a group, a smile, a nod of the head, or a chuckle is enough to acknowledge another’s comments without breaking the flow of conversation. How does one do that on the internet without becoming, as Rebecca said, so much “noise” swamping the “signal”?

    Karen B
  48. You might consider me a lurker. I consider myself a learner. I read your blog because you are excellent at finding websites that interest me. I also gain inspiration, and a sense of fellowship with other textile artists. A lot of times, those that blog are my get up and go when I have a creative slump.

    I can feel that human connection even as just a reader. It is a sense of a shared journey.

  49. I generally read but don’t comment, partly because I don’t want to add something trivial, partly because I am not logged on to the Internet every day and therefore not connected as intimately to a specific community of Web denizens who post regularly and have a social connection/commitment to one another, and partly because I am afraid that making the time for Web-related activities would result in less time to actually do creative projects. Perhaps when I am retired and can devote a larger part of my day to following my passions, I’ll be able to start my own blog and become a better Web citizen of the needlework communities. Until then….

  50. I, too, am a lurker by definition. I have tried on other blogs to leave a message, but without success. My message doesn’t take or doesn’t show up. So except for this blog, I no longer bother. I do email a couple of people directly if I am able to get an address.

    Question: do you have any more of those great little notebooks,etc you were selling on CafePress?? I’m out of postcards and down to one notecard.I have 7 books to give to my CQ group, but it leaves me without. What to do???

    Doni Palmgren
  51. What a flurry of interesting responses – I had not thought of shyness or lack of confidence as a reason for not commenting or joining in – but I don’t think it is the only reason as it would mean there are a lot of shy people! There are but not that many. But I am sure it is a factor .

    Grbev – I think you have touched on something interesting here as many people think of the internet as a huge library and of course we are conditioned/taught not tot talk in a library which means some people feel they are not welcome to join in. I am going to think a little more about that – thanks!

    Thanks Arlee for the lead – I had looked at ning and thought about a social network site but had not twigged to Susan already doing it

    Rebecca your comment about having something meaningful to contribute made me think – because of course there are ways for blogger to open up conversations so that people can contribute – It is perhaps writing style that in part invites people to participate in conversation rather than just reading a post

    The shift between passively accepting a media and participating in a media is a complex and interesting cultural issue – interesting comments so far keep them coming!

  52. I know for me as just an occasional non-lurker that it’s a matter of time. I have more than 200 blogs in my Bloglines list. (Speaking of that, I only know about Bloglines since I joined the TAST group and you told us – so THX)

    If I took the time to comment on every one, I’d have no time to create. As it is, I only come out of lurkdom when the subject is something on which I have a question, or I feel really impelled to reply.

    Like this one….*S*

  53. Good questions πŸ™‚ I think many people can feel they have nothing more to say than it is said or they really don’t. I met a lot of people whose hobby is just collecting scanned patterns or books without even checking what’s inside. They never make any use of them and they will never say a word or just thank you if they are kind enough. This caused me leave the biggest Polish craft group when it became a place for only “do you have a pattern for..” questions.

    On the other hand there are always more imitators and consumers than leaders so it’s quite normal that only some people create new values that are consumed by the community.

    I wouldn’t like to say I am so creative because I’m not, but I can think about many people who don’t try to share their knowledge because they don’t feel they can be interesting for the other.

    There is another cause I can imagine (having 2 blogs, one in non-native language)- many people don’t know the language well enough to take part in a discussion or have a kind of blockade that make them afraid of using foreign language actively. They can read and understand a lot, but they don’t talk. We have a chance to meet them some day πŸ™‚

  54. I love your blog! I’ve read it for years, but I’ve only commented once before, because I had done something particularly relevant to what you were writing about. For me, it’s partly the old Usenet newsgroup “Netiquette.” Lots of “Me too!” and “Thanks for sharing!” posts made those discussions troublesome to follow–too much “noise” swamped the “signal.”

    I don’t “do” most of the fiber arts techniques you do–I mostly knit, sew with a sewing machine, and spin, so I don’t have much “useful” information to add. I follow your blog because your discussions of creative process are fascinating, and because I love to look at your projects and dream about trying those techniques “someday.”

    I’d happily comment more often on your blog, and others I admire, if I had “something meaningful” to say. Of course, I enjoy comments on my blog, and would like more, too. What sorts of comments should someone offer if one likes the post, but doesn’t really have anything to add?

  55. I am an avid surfer on the Internet. I suppose I consider my laptop the entrance to the biggest library building on earth (and it’s right in the comfort of my own livingroom). I have loved the development of blogs because it gives insight into different artists and their craft. I spend many hours checking out these different artists’ links to other blogs and artists. Your blog is so, so my favorite. You are such an inspiration to so many people. I discovered you several years ago and was dazzled by the work you create. I have favorite sites I visit daily to see what is new – yours is on my list. I don’t know why people lurk and then move on. I belong to several groups at Yahoo and there will be 1000 people on the list and maybe 10-20 posts a day. When the list owner challenges participation, there is a flurry of emails and then hardly anything. I think we are a “show up, eat, and leave” group of consumers. Your comments about the thousands out there silently lurking is apparent when you look at the Ravelry phenomenon. Thousands signed up, thousands waiting in line and those are just the yarn knitters, crocheters, etc. I’m rambling but it is a rainy Sunday and my mind is kind of in a funk! But at least I am commenting….

  56. I confess to being a lurker who didn’t realise I could leave a comment.
    Your blog is a must for me every day, after a link was given on ATCards.
    Needlework is difficult for me now but I love to read your blog and see all the beautiful works.
    Thank you very much for brightening my day.

  57. Ah interesting questions. I confess to being a lurker. And a lurker here for quite some time. Why do I lurk and not reply? Cause I am a scardy cat. I have little confidence when it comes to writing for the world to see. I’d rather post to you direct.(which I did) I feel quite computer illiterate. I have little knowledge of blogs and such, just figuring out how to reply is sometimes an effort. I’m just jumping in the whole world now and trying it. Have started a class which I learned about from your blog and successfully posted pic’s which I had no idea how to do at first. So this lurker is not lurking forever.

    I have had interest in crazy quilting forever and your work has inspired me to participate and get stitching again!!

    Alas, I will remain a lurker for the most part but certainly not because I don’t want to participate. It’s a lack of self confidence and the scary thought of some unknown consequence happening as a result of letting the world read your post. So, now I have to hit the submit comment button. Okay Sharon I’ve read and read my reply over again about 20 times.. and still I’m saying to myself do I risk it or hit that button… okay here goes… comment from professed lurker!!! AHHHHH

  58. Maybe they are like myself, I read blogs avidly for quite sometime before finding the courage to leave a comment on one. I then went on to set up my own blog and find that people are reading it( in small numbers) but they don’t leave comments very often. Its a ahame as I would love to know who they are.


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