advocating, educating, and moving toward digital literacy

 

Advances in technology have allowed people to interact in a variety of new and different ways. Although many of the new technologies are beneficial, we must be aware of the effects that our online activity can have on us in all areas of life.

In this day and age, strangers can communicate with the click of a mouse and something you would not approve of can be posted about you in less than a few seconds. This is why it is necessary for us to understand why it is important to censor information we post online about ourselves and others.

It is our hope that you will gain some knowledge about communication via the computer and recognize potential consequences that could arise due to information you post online.

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Much novelty lies in the very public, public record of the internet. Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is erased. 

Issues here arise in a seemingly prevailing misconception: SIMPLY ERASING A MOMENTARY ERR IN JUDGEMENT IS NOT SO SIMPLE. You see, the web, at its very foundation, is archival. The web takes meaning in specific moments in time. These moments archive themselves, or arrange much like scenes: a public narrative of all our web-wisdoms and all of our web-‘woops,’ ¬†or potentially self-damaging behaviors in regards to our online activities.

Pictures, posts, tweets, “private” e-mails, search engine utilizations,… etc… in all forms of our internet-managed-identities we must heed necessary¬†diligence. Unlike our hometown we formed a rotten reputation in or the college girlfriend we unfairly ended things with, we cannot avoid the web. The archives are accessible, always. In such, my words of advice: Mind your mistakes.

Often times, we have a sense of disinhibition, or inclination to post information without thinking about its consequences and potential effects, when communicating online. A lot of people choose to post things online that they would not say or disclose in their real lives. This can be attributed to the idea that the “online world” is not the “real world.” They feel that they cannot be held responsible for online information they post because it is not “real life.”

Computer mediated communication often fosters posting and/or viewing of inappropriate content due to anonymity. If you were told that no one would ever know that you stole a car, would you do it? Many people would say yes. This is the type of reasoning that people have when they are online. A lot of times, there is no name associated with posts or viewing history, and people think that things cannot be traced back to them. The truth is that there is someone constantly monitoring what you do online. Many organizations and governmental bodies have access to your online history and activity. Every single site you visit can be traced right back to your computer. A good strategy to use when deciding whether to visit a specific site or to post information about yourself is to ask yourself: Would I want this printed on the front page of the newspaper? or Would I want this broadcasted on television? My guess is that if you ask yourself these questions, your online activity will be less likely to produce negative consequences.

Be careful when deciding what to post online.

It is important to consider that language can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. What you intend for something to mean may not be how others perceive it. This means that language is ambiguous. By posting ambiguous language on the Internet, it is easy to convey a message in a way that we did not intend to.

In relation to ambiguity in language, things we post can also be abstract. Abstract language is often used to avoid certain situations and is not clear or to-the-point. There can be misunderstandings and misconceptions online as a result of someone using abstract language.

Although online communication is easier, faster, and satisfying, it also lacks richness and a sense of community with those you are communicating with. Overall, the quality of online communication is not as good as face-to-face communication. It is missing many nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, pronunciation, and silence that may alter a message’s meaning.

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Have you ever thought about how others might view you based on information you share online?
The truth is that many people base their impressions of people on a Facebook page, Twitter account, or other online mediums.

We often portray ourselves online as who we want to be, not who we actually are. This is problematic because it seems as if we are leading two different lives. When posting information about ourselves online, it is important to consider our self-concept, or the way we view ourselves. This may be inconsistent with the way you would like to be portrayed.

We can avoid portraying ourselves negatively online by engaging in perception checking.
First, acknowledge the content you are thinking about posting.
Next, think of different ways that the content could be interpreted, both good and bad.
Last, clarify the content. This may mean not posting it at all or simply explaining further.

Finally, it is important that we are aware of how we are being perceived online because it reflects the way we manage our identity. Although it may be conscious or unconscious, we are constantly working toward expressing ourselves and identifying with certain groups. If information is posted about you online that is not accurately depicting who you are, it can obscure your identity.