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Are You A Good Digital Neighbor?

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“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, 
A beautiful day for a neighbor, 
Would you be mine? 
Could you be mine?

~Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

On the TV show, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,

(yeah, I used to watch it faithfully as a kid),

Mr. Rogers sang his song about neighbors

as he changed from his work clothes into

his favorite red sweater and tennis shoes.

I loved it when he sang: “I’ve always wanted

to have a neighbor just like you.”

Who Is That Guy Next Door?

Now, you may not even know your real

next-door neighbors, but if you spend time

on the interwebs, you essentially live in

many different digital neighborhoods.

And it might be a good time to ask

yourself a few tough questions.

Would You, Really?

Would you walk outside your front door

in your underwear to get the mail?

Would you shout at the guy next door,

saying what an idiot he is for not

knowing how to recycle correctly?

How about sitting on your doorstep

and getting stinking drunk in front of

the neighborhood kids?

Welcome to the Neighborhood

You live in a digital neighborhood,

along with all the other people with whom

you interact via email, online forums, and

social networking sites.

Those people are your digital neighbors.

Some you have only a fleeting acquaintance

with, and others you invite right into your

digital home for drinks and conversation,

or more, if it’s consensual.

But when we are on this side of our

computer screen, it’s easy to forget the

basics of being a good digital neighbor.

How to Be A Good Digital Neighbor

1. Remember there is a real, live human being

behind every keystroke.

When you respond to someone on the internet,

picture that person sitting directly across from

you and say what you are typing to them.

Write the way you would speak to a real human

being.

Because a real human being is going to

read your words.

2. Remember the kids are watching!

You are modeling online behavior every time

you post, write, or comment on something.

You have no idea who is reading what you are

writing, how old they are, and what impact your

words may have on them.

3. Impulsivity and immaturity live on forever

on the internet.

How you behave on the internet will be

remembered long after you have stopped

behaving that way, thanks to digital archives.

Think before you write.

You are responsible for every word you type, even

when (maybe especially when) you are upset or angry.

Howdy, Neighbor!

Feeling acknowledged, respected, and not having

to worry about having boundaries violated makes

for a safe and happy neighborhood.

Thanks for all you do to make this digital

neighborhood one we all want to live in.

Did I mention I just love what you’ve done

with your front lawn? I mean, your new

profile pic?  It’s awesome!

 

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