Twenty years ago when the first recognized social media site was introduced, there was not yet a need for a defined set of behaviors, strategic planning or action plans. Fast forward two decades to a time where new social media platforms and apps are launching daily; each striving to make its mark on the way we share, communicate, purchase and essentially live our lives. With social media now being incorporated into the way we manage our lives and businesses, what does this mean? It means that we are no longer solely citizens of a three-dimensional world... we are also digital citizens.
Digital Citizenship, as defined by Mike Ribble, is "the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use." Mike's work on this topic is focused on the field of education, but all nine elements of this principle are important to everyone who uses technology. In harmony with this perspective, our aim at Fourge Social is to empower individuals of all ages with the tools necessary to be responsible digital citizens on social media.
As published on DigitalCitizenship.net, the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship are:
1. Digital Access
2. Digital Commerce
3. Digital Communication
4. Digital Literacy
5. Digital Etiquette
6. Digital Law
7. Digital Rights & Responsibilities
8. Digital Health & Wellness
9. Digital Security (self-protection)
Each element has a common denominator, aside from the digital aspect. It is the theme of sharing, engaging and communicating responsibly. Consider this fact for a moment. "Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded." (Source: The Social Skinny) How much thought and planning do you believe goes into these posts? While the incredible and enticing aspect of social media is its ability to let us share and publish content immediately, it has its challenges. The capability to instantaneously respond to someone's thoughts, publish our own, or snap and share visual content opens up our world to negative feedback, misconstrued opinions, cyber-bullying and much more.
To dissect each social media channel and create a governing system for each may, as a matter of opinion, take away from the original intent of social media communication. However, as with every community, a standard set of policies and guidelines is necessary to define roles and expectations. When Fourge Social works with a business to create and manage their content, our efforts are conducted with purpose, strategy and open minds to collaborate on ideas. We believe like-minded thinking may be incorporated into how we engage on a personal level across social media.
A question to ask yourself after reading this blog post is, what would be the criteria to meet if there were an application to fill out to become a digital citizen? Of course there's not an entry fee or exam to pass in order to use the internet or social media. However, there are many ways we can educate ourselves on how to use these tools more responsibly and in a positive way, instead of using them to bully, spread negativity and hate. Wouldn't it be nice to know that when you log in to your social media accounts, there were positive updates from friends and businesses? Share your thoughts on this topic with us and let us know what you do or will do in the future to be a responsible digital citizen.