Embrace Digital Citizenship – By Robin R. Talbott

by Sara Szado on December 22, 2015

Who could forget those reckless early days of the Internet when modems wheezed and, “bong-bonged,” on to a connection with our computers? Hooked up to a telephone line, the relay was similar to the telegraph wires strung throughout the continent, as men and women with families headed out to follow Horace Greely’s attributed admonition to, “Go West, young man.”

Determined to drive Conestoga wagons toward the Pacific, many families got more than they bargained for. Being from the east, where law and order were established, they expected a certain level of civility, but often found it lacking. Man’s inhumanity to man could be unbridled and unrestrained, in an upstart land where might often meant right.

And, so it was in the early days of the Internet when anonymity was not only allowed, but also encouraged. User names cloaked identities, as the burgeoning e-mail providers allowed any number of accounts. In fact, e-mail user accounts flourished in number and unaccountability, as many people had several accounts with different providers, and used them in a compartmentalized manner.

For example, consider one person participating on a discussion board, what we later called chat rooms, now better known as forums, under one user name with a certain tone and established presence. With multiple e-mail accounts, the same person could come in under another one of his user names and back up his own point of view. Or, they could easily third-party troll to an opponent and offer resistance without sullying their established primary image.

For those of us who are verbally conflict oriented, it was a great system. What fun to use all of your five or six e-mail accounts to affirm your primary user-name’s stance, pointing out your own brilliance for all to see. Now, thank goodness, the reins have tightened for the commonplace user. There are accepted practices forming to guide us in the responsible use of technology, while instructing our up and coming, younger generations.

As proper Internet usage has become more defined, a set of ethical considerations and rules of engagement are guiding what has become known as Digital Citizenship. These list the various concerns surrounding digital access and the civilly required for the prudent use of digital media. An even playing field has been created to encourage the mindful participation of all Internet users.

Now, Digital Citizenship has evolved through discussion and information dissemination to include nine elements as defined on DigitalCitizen.net : 1) Digital access; 2) Digital commerce; 3) Digital communication; 4) Digital literacy; 5) Digital etiquette; 6) Digital law; 7) Digital rights and responsibilities; 8) Digital health; and 9) Digital security.

In fact, July 2015, was Digital Citizen Month, @DigCitizenMonth, promoted by Founder Ananda Leeke @madelynleeke of anandaleeke.com who encourages those on the Internet to use their digital citizenship voice to educate, empower and engage people and communities. Digital Citizen Month was so successful, the #DigCitizen project is asking everyone to #DigCitizenVoice all year long. Won’t you please join Ms. Leeke in defining the world’s Internet experience?

Robin R. Talbott (@SunbonSmart) digitally markets at SunbonnetSmart.com.

This article appeared in issue 32 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2015. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-32

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