Most people are "lurkers" in social media. They are consuming your content but not responding. You are still building a relationship with these people, and they "do" participate... it is just vicariously via those who do engage and interact.
There are many lurkers, searchers and readers who may never interact, or even post, but still have a great deal of value.
What is that value? Well, there are active users who dominate the conversation the way some dominate a cocktail party. Then there are those that don't. Although, they tend to stand out in other ways, particularly in numbers. Lurkers account for a vast percentage of the average Social audience.
So you may feel inclined to ignore the value of anyone who isn't participating in the conversation, but that can be shortsighted for several reasons. Your social brand is made up of a spectrum of followers, updates, messages, content, and re-tweets over time. It is not only possible, but probable, that those who just listen are often as valuable or more so than those who participate in the conversation. Why would you rob them -- and yourself -- of that potential connection and the sharing they do via other channels and places? Do not underestimate that value and influence.
Also remember that Twitter is becoming one of the most used and valued search engines for real-time information. A lot of people use Twitter Search for research on any number of topics. People who find your profile this way may not be active, but that doesn't mean they're not interested and being influenced by your content.
Embrace social Lurkers... or you will most certainly be sweeping diamonds out with the dust!
This post originally appeared on TedRubin.com