Digital Citizenship just as important as Social Media Policies when considering Online Behaviours

footprint

There is no doubt that considering how Social Media is used by ALL members of a school community (students, staff, parents) is essential in our digital age.  Often, we may find that staff can be just as prone to misusing (either intentionally or unintentionally) social media as students.  While many organisations are drafting policies to cater for the use of social media by their representatives, I believe, particular in schools, that we must begin with educating community members about Digital Citizenship in conjunction with any policy creation regarding online behaviours.

I was at a BBQ last week and the ideas of teaching Digital Citizenship and using Social Media in class were mentioned.  I was interested that many attendees scoffed at the idea of teaching this in schools and believed that this was something of a joke, with one person commenting that, “no one ever taught us to socialise at school and we turned out just fine”, and another suggesting that, “if schools didn’t encourage their students to be online they wouldn’t have a problem”.  Unfortunately, I think many parents have this same mindset when it comes to Digital Citizenship and Social Media, often believing that whatever will happen online will happen, regardless of what they are taught, or, they won’t have  a problem if they prohibit their children from being online.

This Science Friday podcast provides some real insight into the ‘why’ behind teaching Digital Citizenship in schools, as it suggests that teenagers have always needed to learn how to control social situations and being online should be no different.  We have always focused on ‘personal development’ in schools where we have modelled appropriate behaviours in social situations, we shouldn’t ignore that much of this socialisation has now moved beyond physical situations to online situations. Thus, I believe that as educators it is our responsibility to create awareness of what it means to be a digital citizen and model this behaviour, not only for our students, but also for their parents, our peers and wider community.

One thing we often overlook when we consider Digital Citizenship, is that we are not only teaching students how to be appropriate in their socialisation online, we are also teaching them how to be ethical and legal online.  It is essential for people to realise that as soon as they post something online they are becoming both a copyright holder and  publisher, hence, they need to consider how they are branding themselves personally and professionally.  In the video below, Barry Britt discusses the importance of students and teachers understanding the impact that their interactions and posts online can have on their personal and professional profiles.  Essentially, he suggests that we need to ensure both students and teachers have the knowledge to make decisions about branding rights.

Another important consideration concerning Digital Citizenship is catering for ‘context collapse’.  In her book It’s Complicated, Danah Boyd asserts that teenagers today are not doing anything different to what they have always done; the problem with the emergence of social media is that now the whole world can see how they are socialising.  Thus, they need to be aware of ‘context collapse’ – if they don’t  understand the context in which they are operating  online, their behaviour will often be misrepresented.  A teacher mentioned to me the other day that she was annoyed students had started following her on Twitter as she wanted to use it as a personal account.  This is a perfect example of ‘context collapse’  as this teacher obviously didn’t understand the social context around Twitter, highlighting the growing need for awareness around Digital Citizenship and the use of social media.

Digital Citizenship involves accepting that we need to interact online and brand and promote ourselves in a positive manner.  We must accept that we need to learn to control our social situations online, just as much as we do in a physical setting. Thus, if we begin a Digital Citizenship education in conjunction to creating policy around Social Media use, we may find that community members are more aware of and informed of acceptable online behaviours.

Is your Library in the World of 2.0?

4399866476

The connectedness and interactivity of Web 2.0 challenges us to only change our behaviour online, but it always pushes schools and businesses to rethink they do to cater for clientele that are used to such fast-passed, click-of-the-button service.  One particular sector that has been under great pressure to alter or face redundancy is libraries.  School libraries especially are quickly realising they need to offer services to cater for the change in teaching and learning that has accompanied Web 2.0 as their users are preferring to visit Google and  other Internet services over the library catalogue, under the belief that the library can no longer meet their needs. Enter the notion of Library 2.0.

The video below published by UC Berkeley discusses the notion of Library 2.0 and flags several concepts for libraries to follow when ensuring their services reflect twenty-first century, digital age services.

Keynote speaker Meredith Farkas discusses Library 2.0 as building on the concept of Web 2.0 where instead of users being only viewers of information, they became active participants in the creation of information (UC Berkeley Events, 2007). Whereas our traditional libraries acted primarily as storehouses of information, they must now evolve to reflect societal and technological changes and reevaluate how to meet the needs of users in the world of the digital age. Perhaps the biggest change libraries can make to move into the world of 2.0 is embrace the notion that our services can no longer remain static, we must constantly alter what we do to reflect the world around us, whether we have yet perfected the service or not.

The video below created by myself and colleague Helen Stower provides one example of how our libraries can enter to the world of 2.0 and evolve to meet the needs of users.

As suggested by Farkas in her UC Berkeley address, libraries need to reimagine what they can offer in their spaces and how they can enter Web 2.0 and respond to the needs of our digital age users. This involves considering exactly who the users of library are, in the case of the Mount Alvernia iCentre, this meant altering services to not only consider the needs of students of the college but all learners; teachers, parents and the wider community.  After all, in the world of Library 2.0, access to the library becomes open to anyone with internet access, not just those who access the physical space.  If users can access Google and other information services from the comfort of their own home, why wouldn’t they want to access the services of their school library from the same place.  Hence, libraries that offer 2.0 services must allow for interaction with users  via websites and social media sites. The Slideshare below highlights some key considerations for school libraries to consider when altering their services from a Library 1.0 model to that of a 2.0 model.

http://www.slideshare.net/schrk/slideshelf

Most importantly, the biggest recommendation for libraries looking to enter the world of Library 2.0 is to dive and meet users where they are at, if we continue to sit back and wait for services in the digital age to become perfect and static, they will have changed before we have the chance to offer them in our spaces.

kanterquote
Reference List

UC Berkeley Events.  (2007, November 19).  Building academic library 2.0 . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_uOKFhoznI

Letting Others Control How You Are Perceived Online

online-reviews

Question and Answer services and User Review sites have become increasingly popular features of Web 2.0 platforms as users connect with each other by asking or answering questions and posting reviews or services or products they have encountered. While in theory this concept is not a new one, the posting of these things online allows the option of anonymity, making the validity and reliability of content questionable and hard to trace. While in the physical world we can choose to gain opinions, answers and feedback from people we know and trust, we cannot guarantee this in the digital world. Also, instead of being able to judge an individual’s response by way of physical determents, such as body language and tone, their response is reliant on their ability to articulate themselves in writing (Jeon & Rieh, 2014, p.663). Consequently, while it may be useful to gather feedback, answers and reviews at the click of a button online, users are often taking a gamble in doing this, as unless they are able to trace or verify the source, they are relying on feedback from someone completely unknown to them, with motives that are completely unknown.

While these question and answer and review sites provide a certain convenience for users who may be shopping or need a quick answer, we cannot overlook the potentially detrimental affects of the anonymity of these services, as evidenced in the video below, when 12 year old student Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide after she was bullied on popular question and answer sites, Kik and Ask.FM

 

This may be an extreme example, but it does lead us to question whether the anonymity allowed on such sites makes it easier for people to act without consequences of their actions.  This also leads to users being able to give an opinion or review of a person or business out of context, as is seen regularly on social media sites such as Facebook when disgruntled customers post their annoyance, anger or negative opinions on company pages for all users to see.

Even though question and answer and reviews sites are prone to negative feedback, many businesses revel in the free publicity and advertising they gain.  Racherla and Friske suggest that online word-of-mouth platforms such as TripAdvisor and Amazon have become the most valuable sources of information for online consumers, as these sites allow them to become fully informed as the product details and social interactions available allow them to become fully informed (2012, p.548). These same authors warn however, that there is still a way to go in terms of  the balances and checks put in place on these platforms to ensure that the user is gathering valid information and not experiencing a sense of ‘infowhelm‘ (2012, p.558). Additionally, more recent examples of customers being fined by companies for leaving bad reviews on word-of-mouth platform raise the question of how these sites are monitored and controlled.

Allowing others to control how individuals or businesses are perceived online is definitely a reality of Web 2.0.  However, as with any interaction in a digital environment, users must exercise digital etiquette and common digital citizenship practices to ensure that they are discerning in their use of these sites.

Reference List

Jeon, G. Y., & Rieh, S.U. (2014).  Answers form the crowd: How credible are strangers in social Q&A? iConference 2014 Proceedings (p.663 – 668).  Retrieved from http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/106410/Jeon_Rieh_iConference2014_answers%20from%20the%20crowd.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Racherla, P., & Friske, W. (2012).  Perceived ‘usefulness’ of online consumer reviews: An exploratory investigation across three service categories.  Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 11(6), 548-559.  doi: 10.1016/j.elerap.2012.06.003

 

The Connected Attraction of the Socially Networked World via Web 2.0

Kocaer, M. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/289074869801956615/

Kocaer, M. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/289074869801956615/

It has become clear in recent years, post the emergence of Web 2.0, that social networks, are here to stay. As evidenced in the images below, Web 2.0 altered the static nature of the websites we experienced in Web 1.0, allowing users to not only consume but produce content when interacting with a site.

web1_0-vs-web2_0

Martin, P. (2007).  web 1.0 vs web 2.0.  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

234877734_e4ee5c1279_o

Pan, A .  (2006).  Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0.  CC BY-NC-ND 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When users became able to interact with the sites they were visiting online, it was easy to see how the popularity of social networking sites grew rapidly, as the ability of users to draw on the collective intelligence of other users and ‘friends’ replicated networking in the physical sense but evolved to ‘networking on steroids’, as users were suddenly able to connect with people at any time in any place with the click of a button (O’ Reilly, 2005). Christopher Barnatt (2008, March 30) elaborates on this in the video below and suggests that Web 2.0 involves making connections between two or more people, items or applications, essentially allowing interpersonal computing aspects to integrate their offerings and provide a richer service than that of Web 1.0 sites.

 

This emergence of Web 2.0 and social networking challenged us to re-think our behaviour on the internet and, instead of viewing it as simply a place to gather information, users were able to go beyond this and create and discuss information with others around the world (De Rosea, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk & Jenkins, 2007, p. vii). As Meyer suggests when quoting from A. A. Milne, the concept of social networking that evolved with Web 2.0 has allowed us to connect with others where they are comfortable, instead of waiting for them to come to us, creating attractive  networking possibilities as we strive to create and maintain relationships both personally and professionally (as cited in Ishizuka, K, 2010, p.32).

The social networking craze that resulted from Web 2.0 is one that needs further exploration in the world of education.  If individuals have become so attracted to broadening their networks beyond physical forms and connecting with others in the digital world, it won’t be long before this concept is one we must consider in our classrooms.  We must consider how the emergence of Web 2.0 and social networking will push us from the world of static learning and information to the interactive.

Reference List

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J. & Jenkins, L.  (2007).  Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership.  Dublin, Ohio: OCLC  [ebook].  Available from www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

Ishizuka, K.  (2010).  People who need people.  School Library Journal56(2), 32.

O’Reilly, T.  (2005) What is Web 2.0.  Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=2