In the shadow of this Independence Day, I think it's important we remind ourselves of the duties that come with citizenship. Particularly the duties that come with digital citizenship.
Much like our country and world, the digital landscape is full of good and bad. And as the theories that founded America profess, this whole experiment is only going to work with an engaged and informed citizenry.
Sadly, many of us forget what it means to be a good digital citizen. Even as forms of digital communication seem to all but replace in-person contact, many people still see the digital space as a kind of Wild West: lawless, ripe for pillaging, open for random colonization.
So I feel it's never wrong to repeat some of my favorite basic principles of good digital citizenship — after all, there's always a new group of young people thinking about slapping up Facebook pages to bully classmates.
Basic Principle 1: Give credit.
Very simply put: If you didn't create it, say who did. Attribute, attribute, attribute.
Basic Principle 2: Respect others' privacy.
Sometimes we are well-intentioned but emotions get the best of us. Maybe your friend doesn't want that picture of her new baby on Facebook yet. Have enough courtesy and common sense to ask before you post.
Basic Principle 3: Think before you post.
Would you want it on the evening news? If no, don't post it. Would you care if your mother saw it? If yes, don't post it.
Basic Principle 4: Share high-quality content.
Being known in online social circles as someone who shares relevant content from reputable sources not only boosts your reputation but encourages others to pay it forward in the same way.