Friday, November 19, 2010

Acquiring Netizenship

Our virtual world is making our real world flat. With one click of a button, practically anyone—whether from L.A., London, or Tokyo—who has an internet access can receive a message at the speed of light. With the rapid advance of technology, we now belong to one big online community.

Michael Hauben of Columbia University coined the term “netizen”, or internet citizen.[1] A netizen, or cybercitizen, has been roughly defined as someone “actively involved in online communities.”[2] One of the popular activities on the web is weblogging (or blogging, for short) which provides a forum for a netizen to express his/her ideas on just about any subject.

As a newbie in blogging, I confess I am excited to express my thoughts where the whole world can see. Getting to discuss fresh themes and issues relevant to the dynamic between law/policy vis-à-vis ICT is indeed a welcome alternative to a constant diet of law and cases students ordinarily rant about.

But don’t get me wrong. Blogging here is no goof-off task. I look forward to discuss complicated issues on cybercrime, e-government, security, and pornography, among others. These are matters which must be seriously dealt with in the annals of intellectual discourse if I as a netizen were to be fully socially responsible.

If a citizen, in Rousseau’s tradition of the Social Contract, possesses certain rights with corresponding duties and obligations, does a netizen also possess the same albeit “society” now refers to the cyberworld? If so, I find it fit to remind myself of this oath, The Netizenship Pledge[3]:

1. Netizens understand that rights are always balanced with responsibilities.

2. Netizens have the right to be respected and the responsibility to respect others, in person and online.

3. Netizens will think before we click.

4. Netizens understand that just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should.

5. Netizens will ask for, or receive permission before using the creative work of others and will give credit for and cite this work appropriately when we use it.

6. Netizens will exercise patience and realize that others may not have the same access to and use of the same Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and connectivity as they do.

7. Netizens understand that virtual actions have real consequences for ourselves and for others.

8. Netizens understand that what I/we say and do online can’t be taken back.

9. Netizens promise to use ICTs for the betterment of our world.

10. Netizens promise to use this Netizenship Pledge to guide our actions in person and online.

Before stepping on the gas in my blogging, keeping these points in mind at least assures me that I am doing the right thing. Being a new netizen, going forward I hope my blogs will be responsible, accurate, effective, ethical, and (hopefully) entertaining. So help me God.

Richmund Sta. Lucia, Post # 1




1 comment:

rsq said...

"I look forward to discuss complicated issues on cybercrime, e-government, security, and pornography, among others." Uhmmmm, if we feel like it. :-)