There are a handful of things going on in my case. This is quite long but I hope it gives some insight.
First, I’m still a bit new to leading a community. I have two and both are less than two months old. So I don’t have a ton of experience to draw from… technically. I’ve had a blog and fairly active community of followers via Twitter (I admit that it’s a lot different) for a couple years so I’m not new to engaging online. So I don’t think I completely fit into the “newbie” category.
Second, I do participate quite a bit in other forums. Take the Meta site for Discourse as an example. I have an extensive developer background and have started building plugins for Discourse. So I have technical questions and suggestions to make it better. Using that background, I can help others who are working on the same so I engage. I don’t have the fear of saying something wrong that prevents some folks from posting.
Third, I have a tendency to pause before I step in. That’s partly why I didn’t respond right away when you hunted me down last night. (I’m glad you did because I’ve been wondering about lurkers on my own sites but haven’t taken the time to think it through.) I wrote and launched a book last fall and that showed me the value of waiting to respond to questions. It gives me time to think it through and give a thorough response. My gut reactions leave holes in the rationale and I want things to be clear, so I wait. That often means the question is answered before I can respond and it no longer applies.
Fourth, my business is online. As most of you know, you can blow a lot of time posting and responding to questions and mentions. I could spend my whole day doing nothing else. But my time is better served recording podcasts and writing articles, books, or code. That means I’ve had to limit the number of places I put my time. I have a list of forums I participate in my bookmarks that are listed in the order of importance to me. Of course, my own are at the top. Those are followed by a couple product community that drive long-term (indirect) sales for me. Those two groups are touched daily for obvious reasons. But those are followed by sites I enjoy but only get to every two or three days. For me, FeverBee lands here. So there is a time element involved.
Last, I think Chris nails it:
Put all this together. I’m a bit new, not afraid to post, want to post a quality response, have limited time, and want the response to genuinely add to the discussion. That means, in the case of FeverBee, that I tend to hang out quite a bit, but hesitate when posting… for now. As I transition form some of my development builds in the next six months and lean more towards community growth and creating online content for those platforms, I would expect FeverBee to transition to one of the communities that I spend time with daily.