On Citizenship

In a snippet of an interview shared by the ejournalism students today, Dean said something that’s really stuck with me. We tend to discuss and frame digital citizenship as this thing we need to teach students (and humans) so they don’t get in trouble. This fall I saw entire workshops being offered to new teachers that were essentially fear campaigns that could be summarized as “lock down your Facebook” or “sanitize your online presence for your own safety.” What a narrow view this is, and a bit of a perversion of the idea of citizenship.  Being a good “regular” citizen certainly isn’t just not getting arrested staying out of trouble.

Instead of letting fear dictate what we put online due to what might happen to us should the wrong person see or read it, let’s change the conversation. Why don’t we frame good citizenship as “How is what you’re putting online contributing?” It sure fits with the idea of gift culture and a spirit of generosity and learning far better.


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