Read only: The persistence of lurking in Web 2.0


  • Scott Kushner



Social media is supposed to be all about participation. But most users don’t participate very much. This essay argues that lurking poses a threat to the prevailing logic of corporate social platforms. It explores the leading discourses of participation and lurking in order to theorize how this threat functions, contributes to the political economy of communication in order to account for both user generated content and lurking, and examines strategies that platforms deploy in order to combat lurking and stimulate steady user participation. Finally, it speculates that platforms may be planning for a future where participation figures less centrally, thereby blunting lurking’s threat.

Author Biography

Scott Kushner

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island.




How to Cite

Kushner, S. (2016). Read only: The persistence of lurking in Web 2.0. First Monday, 21(6).