What type of lurker are you? ✿ Lurkers on lurking within knowledge-transfer ecosystems

Thursday, November 9 at 2pm ET IRL at Trust, Berlin 

Event Link

On November 9, we (Trust x Rhizome) join forces (both IRL and via Twitch) to explore the role of the lurker within online communities. 

For as long as the internet has existed, it has been estimated that about 90% of people online will never post, comment, blog, or message. Instead, they “lurk,” silently observing other users’ posts and exchanges.“Lurking” has an overwhelmingly negative connotation; and researcher initially described someone who “lurks”  not only as a “non-contributor” to a community, but also someone who brings a sinister presence. 

The “silent majority” of the internet may simply be “non-public participants” who, although rendered invisible by UI design choices - feel as engaged lurking in some places as they do contribute to others. Although not easily traceable, lurkers’ actions (reading, learning, bearing witness, remembering) have effects that often extend beyond any one online or IRL network. 

As motivations and needs change, lurkers shift between different forms of lurking. Varying from pure consumption to periphery learning, lurkers tend to follow a more-than-average amount of content from a diverse range of potential sources. When considering who might hold the knowledge and memory of the internet—maybe it could be lurkers?




Rhizome is a born-digital, non-profit organization that arose from early net art communities' growing need to both advocate for themselves as artists and preserve their work. Rhizome's experimental programs and writing can be traced along the pathways of internet history. Now, as Rhizome continues to engage with new ideas and artists, we find ourselves in partnership with many others who also explore the depths of the web. Since 2003, Rhizome has been an affiliate in residence at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.

Trust is a network of utopian conspirators, a sandbox for creative, technical, and critical projects, and a site of experimentation for new ways of learning together. Trust exists as a hybrid online (Discord server) and physical space (Berlin) for inquiry into emerging social and political phenomena through the lenses of aesthetic, narrative, game, technical, climate and design research. Since 2018, they have developed a public programme that includes lectures, installations, residency programmes, reading groups, working groups, live-streamed participatory events, and online resources. Trust incubates projects that build a creative culture of the commons.