Do you suffer from “lurker syndrome”? Where you would like to participate but just can’t?
I talk to bloggers a lot in private, for fun, and professionally with coaching clients and my Authority Blogger Course members. One of the issues that comes up repeatedly is fear of putting yourself “out there”.
Symptoms manifest in many ways, for example course members being shy about joining my private forum, and also with things like Blog Action Day, not wanting to post about potentially controversial topics.
In these calls I try to work out what the underlying issues are. We tend to find the causes are:
- Shyness – I find that actually getting out and connecting with people helps cure shyness. When I was a teenager I was too shy to even order a Big Mac, now I find myself facing auditoriums of strangers!
- Fear of backlash – This is an all too common problem, especially if your work finds its way onto Digg or YouTube, but the main solution to this is to either A) only communicate what you truly stand by and B) ignore random internet idiots (hard as that may be)
- Revealing too much – You have to set boundaries of what you will and will not talk about. While I have likely revealed way too much over the many years I have been working online, there are still things that I don’t mention. We all have lines we won’t cross, work out yours and stick to them.
- Competitors – Competition is the easiest issue to overcome. In blogging competitors can be your allies, and also giving ideas should not be a worry because execution is the hardest part, and most people talk a lot but do little!
- Losing audience – Polarizing an audience can be a good thing if you actually believe what you are saying. Last year I lost a bunch of people when I talked about the environment Blog Action Day, but my over all audience grew. Rather than try to vaguely please everyone, focus on delighting your core audience.
There have been other reasons, such as ex-spouses tracking people down, bosses learning about side business, even fear of the tax man :)
Do you fear being yourself online? If you can, tell us about it in the comments …