By John Mahan on February 23rd, 2009
cit·i·zen·ship (noun) 1: the status of being a citizen 2 a: membership in a community (as a college) b: the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community
Have we achieved “ethical” citizenship on the Internet?
The old English proverb that states “Every cloud has a silver lining” especially rings true during these times of economic turmoil, absurd political culture, Government struggling to take action [right or wrong], and people losing jobs at a historic rate. It appears these disruptive events are motivating people to create a more ethical form of “citizenship” on the internet.
While more and more people are establishing their “presence” on the Internet to address the challenges associated with education, career, finance and social interaction; their consciousness is also evolving as they begin to see a multi-dimensional view of their virtual character.
Citizenship through education
For several years now America has had stimulating discussions about the quality of American education, the increasing costs and the number of Americans receiving it; Murray (2008) suggests “America’s Future Depends On How We Educate the Academically Gifted”, while a recent U.S. Census Bureau report Educational Attainment in the United States: 2003 (2004), stated “In 2003, over four-fifths (85 percent) of all adults 25 years or older reported they had completed high school; over on in four adults (27 percent) had attained at least a bachelors degree; both measures are all time high.”.
But today, the intriguing news is about the statistics on the number of new students enrolling in “Online Schools” for home-schooled children; the use of Online education to support blended schooling for students K-12; and the number of young or working adults completing their education through Online Colleges & Universities. One example is a recent study (2009) reported “69.8 percent of the school districts reporting had at least one student who had taken an online course in 2007-2008. It also shows that an additional 12.3 percent of those which did not have any students enrolled in an online class planned to have at least one student take an online course within the next three years.” (Picciano & Seaman, K-12 Online Learning, p. 9).
Citizenship through Career Search
Online Job search centers have been around for more than a decade; changing the way companies recruit people and streamlining the search process by encouraging candidates to post their resumes online to advertise their availability. Initially this appeared to be a double edged approach for employers and candidates; on one hand the employer was excited to find candidates quickly and fill positions on demand; on the other hand significant concerns would arise whenever the employer’s existing employees resumes came up as a result of the search criteria.
Now today again there is a significant increase in the number of professional resumes that remain online and active, regardless of the candidate’s current employment status. Perhaps this is due to a natural evolution in our thinking about working together and matching our talents to career requirements; or perhaps it’s because of the current volatility in corporate employment and liquidity markets; or more likely it’s a combination of these two factors plus changes being brought on by newer and disruptive technologies; such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others.
Citizenship through Reconnecting a Disconnected Society
The third and final premise to support our conclusion is the number of people who are reconnecting through new and innovative technologies; such as Facebook and Plaxo; after decades of losing their connections with one another.
Gladwell (2000) writes that a “Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire”; and recent reports support the fact that a tipping point has been reached; and thanks to these innovative technologies, the demands of a global workplace; and the human need to experience sincere social interactions with our friends and family; people are setting up extensive personal profiles, with pictures of important events and features of their lives; and actively participating in the conversations that take place throughout these social networks.
Several people have quoted and countless more have acknowledged that there are four major components in a person’s life; which is living, loving, learning and legacy.
When a person creates a profile about themselves within the online learning, career search, and social networking communities; they are effectively creating a multi-dimensional view of themselves as it relates to living, loving and learning. The exhilarating and often stressful aspect of creating profiles and participating in these online communities is that they reflect a mirror image of what’s been posted… and that’s where “legacy” begins!