Archives For Digital Citizenship

I do think it is deliciously indulgent to talk about the importance of social media on Twitter. Not in a bad way, but just a hilariously all-in way that is akin to getting prune fingers in the tub, or having cupcakes for breakfast.

***Spoiler Alert*****

This blog post, like any other really, is also indulgent. For you power readers: this is the summary:

  • Social Media is amazing, and chat room full of Twitter users is pretty unanimous on that one!
  • I feel smart because I am connected to so many people in my personal learning network.  I want my students to feel the power of cooperative, augmented thought like I do.
  • Angela Maiers says kids should learn ABCs: Always Be Capturing
  • Warning: posting pictures of graffiti art can land you in jail. Yes, there is a down side to youth and social media.
  • What does digital citizenship and managing your brand really look like in a publish now edit/apologize/pay later world?

*****Back to regular programming******

I gladly joined the weekly chat #1to1techat hosted by Shawn McCusker: super star of #sschat and co-founder of #1to1techat.  We were focused on the impact of social media. In the first part of the chat we focused on this topic from the teacher’s perspective, then we focused on the student’s perspective. We were having a real love-in about social media. We were all riffing on great ideas. Shawn smoothly shifted the conversation to digital citizenship and I made the connection with a CBC article I had read earlier about a Montreal student being arrested for taking a photo of graffiti art and sharing it online using social media.  My mind zapped to another idea. ACK! My mind flashed over to the brilliant Angela Maiers who says in this era, kids should know their ABCs and her ABC is to Always Be Capturing.  Maybe it’s because I am not eating a cupcake right this minute, but I began to feel dark about this ABC mentality.  ABC can have major consequences, ask the Montrealer above.  It’s so much more than “Always Be Capturing.” There is a dark side of this that begs us to be deeply aware of audience, message, the message in a message, the implied, the intended and yes, your brand. Students need to have the amazing opportunity to tap into the largest network of human capacity and amplify their personality and their minds. But, we must also be deeply aware of the soft belly that is vulnerable.

The reason the student was arrested was because the graffiti portrayed a high ranking police officer getting shot. An aweful picture with brutal symbolism. But, I have to wonder, what if the Globe and Mail or some other reputable newspaper had snapped and published the photo. Would the photographer have been charged with harassment and intent to incite hate?  I think we must teach our students about digital citizenship, but I am also worried that governments may be having massively knee jerk and overly harsh responses to social media. I think in some cases people are being charged for crimes online with much, much harsher penalties than people committing far more heinous crimes offline. For example, the pressure that Aaron Swartz was feeling before he took his own life. This might seem like such a harsh example of unfair penalties waged against Internet users by frightened and uniformed people in power.

I believe in the power of social media.  I believe all learners, including teachers and students would benefit from tapping into networked knowledge. It’s more than what a single individual knows, we just can’t know enough, ever. But I have access to so many people with ideas, thoughts and answers. It’s not what you know, it’s what you and your friends know.  I feel especially smart because of my personal learning network on twitter and Google+.  I want my students to feel the power of cooperative, augmented thought.  However, it’s not all roses.  Digital citizenship and managing your brand are important topics that we must push ourselves to really work at understanding especially in a publish now edit later world.  It would seem to me that you don’t always get to edit later. Sometimes users end up paying a much larger consequence.