How to Be a Good Digital Citizen

Modern citizens interact with an astonishing number of online communities. But how often do we consider other users as our neighbors? How might this influence our behavior? Below is a brief list of ways to engage in your digital community that will transform you from foreigner to citizen and from observer to participant.

Ways to Engage

  • Write thoughtful product reviews. Include as many details as you can to help other users feel confident purchasing something you both care about.
  • Share what you know. “Because as we move from the information age to the knowledge era, the more ideas you command, the more you will be able to guide the course of your own life and positively impact the lives of those around you.” [1]
  • Consider avoiding anonymity. Using your real name online can make it easier to build relationships across networks.
  • Give to Wikipedia. Yes, money, but also knowledge. It’s not as hard as you think to write or edit articles. “Did you know that many of Wikipedia’s articles on the British aristocracy are written by a sixteen-year-old boy in New Jersey known as Lord Emsworth?” [2]
  • Petition on We the People. The idea of petitioning the government isn’t new, but this online platform is. We the People provides a new way to take action on a range of important issues facing our country.
  • Send feedback to software developers. Grumbling to yourself won’t fix anything. It’s easy to get in contact with the people who make your favorite apps, and they welcome your feedback.
  • Type only if it improves upon the silence. — Modern Gandhi.
  • Memento mori. Digital artifacts are bound to outlive us all. Will you be proud of what your grandkids find when they Google your name?
  • Educate yourself. Not feeling confident? Fear not, you’re more powerful than you think! Plus, your fellow digital citizens are here to help. You can learn almost anything online with services like Lynda.com99u, and of course YouTube to name a few.

By no means is this list exhaustive. Please share your own ideas in the comment section and I’ll consider adding them to the list!

  1. “About Us.” Big Think. Web. ↩︎

  2. Isaacson, Walter. The Innovators. iBooks. ↩︎