Many of the people I “hang out” with online are worried about the state of an open and free [in spirit] online community. We’re mostly educators who see the value of diversity and the need for positive connections as we build our neighborhoods, online and off. We understand that ideas shared grow in their benefits as others add to it; the internet provides a path to create, connect, share, discuss, revise, remix,
debate dialogue, hash out, and reunite to better the world.
Last week I wrote about digital citizenship and the journey we take in our own lives. We are all alone, really, in the world, until we make the choice to connect with others. Everything comes down to the choices we make, including how we respond to others who are different, who disagree, and who tune out. We don’t know the situation that others live in and through. I like how Stephen Downes put it in his blog, “What Kind of (Digital) Citizen?”
We decide to join, ignore, confront, depending on our situation.
Digital Citizenship begins with a choice in how to act and react in our interactions with others. We choose to belong.
Today, my friend, Terry Elliot, shared a Mister Rogers video — Mister Rogers’s consistent and hospitable welcome that introduced every show. But in the video he shared, someone had added an ending of horrible melting movie faces — the opposite of hospitable. Terry wrote about being pwnd, “The Inhospitable Nature of the Web.”
We have agency over ourselves; none other, so Terry deleted the tweet that did not fit his idea– after I pointed out the ending; I had his back– his safe place. He wrote about it — We helped each other.
I loved his post on that inhospitable experience. His words inspired me to create the graphic at the top of the post: Skin In The Game.
The thing is, we choose our spaces and places; and we choose how we react to others, and we can choose to be beneficent. We choose our neighborhoods, and we can choose to be alone, and we can choose to accept whatever others offer, even if we don’t like it or disagree. We can move on the best we can.
I know in the Native American community I live in, that when we gather for meetings, each person who speaks explains who s/he is:
I am Sheri Edwards, daughter of Ruth and Charles Edwards. My maternal grandparents are Albert and Emma McIntosh and my paternal grandparents are William and Sophia Edwards. I am sister to Chuck and Bill.
At this point people are nodding, “Yes, we know who you are.” And we share our input in the conversation and when finished, we thank everyone for their listening with “Lem Lem” [Thank you]. And everyone — everyone who wants to speak- gets to speak for as long as it takes for their sharing.
I’ve always felt welcomed, accepted, and heard. I learned to “Be here now” to listen to everyone’s ideas. There is an openness and acceptance that welcomes hearts.
“It’s not easy being green–” but we have to choose; we all live on one planet; so we all have “skin in the game.” We can keep the light shining or move into darkness.
I imagine, given our human nature, that our lights flicker; we’re not perfect — but we set our standard and follow that light path more often than not. That’s what’s important. In the world of fake and viral and mean, we choose to share fair and vibrant and meaningful. We feel the needs of others and help or console. We reach out. We ask questions and dialogue to clarify and we look out for each other.
We trust that others will be as open as we are.
We have faith that we act in mutual consideration.
We protect each other to make our spaces safe.
We are beneficent towards all and hope others are as well.
We have the agency to choose this.
Mother Earth is our home; we can choose to live together.
Are you willing to spread goodwill and hospitality? Are you willing to delete that negative? Are you willing to belong for a better world?
And, thanks to Terry for helping me think through the #digciz thread we’re weaving.
Geeky Gramma ~~
Retired Middle School Language Arts Teacher ~~
Writer and Thinker