Aren't all members of Facebook, in some respect, lurkers and voyeurs? Yes, but certain people are less noble about it than others. I'd like to call those people out.
Here's my loose definition of the "official" Facebook lurker: one who spends time on Facebook, but avoids making his/her presence known with comments, likes, or status updates. Furthermore, the Facebook lurker blatantly mocks the regular Facebook users for posting information on the ubiquitous site, but acts as if he/she is never, well, lurking on there.
As far as I'm concerned, only one kind of person is permitted to mock the regular Facebook users, and that is a person without a Facebook account. (Like my husband, who exercises that privilege often).
Now, how do you know if you're an innocent, infrequent Facebook user or a full-fledged lurker?
If at least three of the seven statements below match your Facebooking behavior, then your right to secretly view everyone's information could be revoked. (That's not a true statement, but those rights should be revoked as far as I'm concerned.)
1. Although you never upload pictures, you're quick to check for new shots of your ex. You also subconsciously or purposely check for anyone who has gained weight, or lost all their hair since high school or college.
2. You think, "obnoxious braggart" about anyone who uploads pictures from an obviously expensive vacation, but you look at those pictures anyway. Sometimes you look twice. (see #1)
3. You find status updates extremely annoying. A part of you even hates people who write them. Nevertheless, you scroll through your "friends" updates when you're standing in line. Or when you're bored at work. Or when your kids are busy (and by busy, I mean asking you to play Candyland for the eighth time in two hours).
4. You'll never write a comment on somebody's wall unless it's your real friend's birthday. And even then you come up something like, "Can you believe I'm writing on your Facebook wall? Wow, look at me on Facebook!"
5. Your lack of sharing on Facebook has become a genuine source of pride. You're known to say things like, "I'm NEVER on Facebook," your tone implying that active Facebook users are losers and freaks with too much time on their hands. Except you seem to know which people from every walk of your current and former life bought The Hunger Games DVD the day it was released and what the bridesmaids wore at your old math tutor's wedding.
6. You don't comment on pictures or updates or "like" them because then people would know you're on Facebook. And you like your privacy. You question why nobody else values privacy anymore. You miss 1997. And you think this whole Facebook thing is stupid.
7. Alas, there you are again, logged onto Facebook. In fact, you were lurking there when you came upon this article.
Now in all seriousness, despite my feelings on the less-than-upstanding Facebook behavior listed above, I'd like all the active Facebook users out there to cut the lurkers some slack. If everyone filled up the site like we regular status updaters do (yes, like most bloggers, I'm quite the regular user), we'd all be overwhelmed with information. In other words, nobody would see our shameless self-promotion. Then we'd have to figure out how to use Digg or StumbleUpon, and I don't about you, but I don't have the energy for that.
A version of this article first appeared on http://ninabadzin.com. You can find Nina on Facebook (not lurking, of course).
Follow Nina Badzin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NinaBadzin