Digital Citizenship has many aspects which make it difficult to define as everyone views the seemingly abstract concept through a different personal perspective. From my perspective Digital Citizenship can be viewed through a positive and a negative light. The principals of Polarity and Correspondence both apply. Are you a “good” digital citizen or a “bad” digital citizen? What is a “good” digital citizen and what is a “bad” digital citizen? In layman’s terms, do you play by the rules or do you make your own?

There are many people and governments who wish to restrict free speech online while there are an increasingly greater number of people who feel compelled to behave naturally without constriction. Everyone has a different perspective and comes from a different background so creating a standard for online behavior is next to impossible unless you resort to persecuting people in the real world for their online behavior. This is acceptable in a lot of cases such as the persecution of the founder of The Silk Road, a venue for illegal behavior by individuals who attempt to remain anonymous. I completely agree with this sort of persecution as it cracks down on real world legitimate crimes such as drug and human trafficking.

However, there is a flip side to this coin which is persecuting people, anonymous or not, in the real world for their opinions. Public scrutiny is now being labeled in many cases as “bullying” and being prosecuted as actual criminal behavior. This is the sort of slippery slope that we tread when it comes to being digital citizens. We’re entering uncharted waters with technology and it’s getting to the point online where no one is anonymous, and we must all face the music when it comes to how we project ourselves via internet protocol.

“Pay it forward” as they say, refers to having empathy. We ALL have a piece of pain in our hearts and doing the right thing by being kind to others is what raises the bar. We also find value in the work of others so when we see value and share that value through our circles we pay it forward. When I make artwork, and share it with others, I am rewarded when they share it with their friends and their friends share it with theirs. We have tremendous power to share information in this age and the more light we bring to the table and share with others, the better off we all are. We rise or fall as one society in this modern interconnected age.