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DigCiz Hospitality


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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.

Lem Lem.

sheri blanket


Sheri Edwards View All

Geeky Gramma ~~
Retired Middle School Language Arts/Media Teacher ~~
Writer and Thinker~~
Art from the Heart

12 thoughts on “DigCiz Hospitality Leave a comment

  1. Another fantastic and useful, and enlightening post, Sheri.
    Love these words:
    “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.”

    • Thanks Kevin. I appreciate our conversation on paper.dropbox on these topics — We do ask questions and we do clarify words and concepts. We include others ideas — I’ve really been careful about the individual’s choice rather then a given expectation by a group through the input of Sarah. It moved my compass’s focus so that I balance the group with the individual, society and the individual. And all of it’s about community, connection, belonging, and justice [for all]. Digciz, I think, is about understanding how to make these ideas work for everyone. How do we help people to look out for each other as well as themselves?

  2. I can see, living in such a community as yours, that your ideas of citizenship will come from a much more co-operative place than mine. Thank you for sharing this side of yourself. I think communities such as CLMooc are fair, and vibrant, and meaningful.

    • Thanks Sarah, As some in our conversations have said, where we come from influences where we and how we go. How do we help share ourselves to build better understandings and trust? I appreciate all your input.

  3. I truly love this story about entering a conversation by naming your kin. This is key to Indigenous research practice in Australia also.

    I really appreciated this post. I am increasingly thinking about our interactions with each other and with strangers in terms of environmental impact, that seems to me very much a question of relations of trust sufficient that we can about the impact we have not only on others now, but on future others.

    • Thanks Kate. I agree that where we come from does impact how we engage or not. So how do we help model sharing of ourselves in groups so that we better understanding each other? Will there develop, in the interest of justice, peace, and inclusion, a common protocol for beginnings to build trust and better communication and understanding?

      • I was reminded this morning of how where you come from shapes what you think and how you act. The Congressman who was shot this week comes from the Deep South, where many beliefs about race are embedded in several centuries of reinforcement.

        I share none of his beliefs, except for one. We’re both part of the same national college campus fraternity, with chapters in many states, with a commitment to human service. Many of my own values were formed during my years on campus and many members from my Illinois Wesleyan branch of the fraternity have supported my work of helping low income, largely minority, youth in Chicago for more than 25 years.

        My alumni group has hosted an email list serve since around 2001, still using Yahoo groups, and it has helped us build connections with younger and older members who now live all over the country. During the past six months we’ve has some difficult on-line conversations about the present administration, and part of this stems from how different our lived experiences are based on where we were born and where we grew up.

        Finding common ground has proven difficult.

        • I know what you mean, Daniel. Sometimes we just listen and acknowledge. In this period of our American history, common ground will be hard to find when everyone stands firm in their own beliefs. A time will come, I believe, when that wall will need to fall in order for anyone to find justice and agency. We’ll find working together is better than holding ground and building walls. What will bring that about, I’m not sure, but I’m hoping it’s not something catastrophic.

    • Hi Retired Susan! I can’t wait to hear about your new life — and how you influence people now, as I also listen and learn from your brilliance! So glad you stopped by!

  4. We all have “skin in the game” when it comes to Mother Earth and its future, but I think too many are on the sidelines and not engaged. That shows in election turnout and in many, many other forms of engagement.

    I think much of what we’ve been discussing, and modeling, via #clmooc and on-going events like #digciz, are ways to engage with each other in respectful and meaningful ways. Some of you are taking what you’re learning into classrooms and actively teaching these habits to a future generation of adults.

    From my own work I bring a focus on “how do we increase the percent of people who have ‘skin in the game’ who are actually joining in on-line and off line conversations, and spending time reading, reflecting and responding when you are sitting at your basement PC and no one is watching, and when you could be doing something else to occupy your time.

    I love the graphic you posted at the top of this article, as well as many others you’ve shared in the past. Thank you.

    • Hi Daniel, As always thank you for your kind words, and for extending the ideas to your work. I agree that it would be nice to nudge more people to engage in their communities, online and offline. You have left a trail of processes for others to replicate to do just that. And each of us need to be more cognizant of reaching out to invite more people to engage. Thanks for reading and sharing. – Sheri

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