Everyone aspires to be a good netizen, but it’s not an easy goal to achieve. To be beatified by the gods of the net, you will need to surf graciously and illuminate every spot on the web where you are present.
To achieve such lustrous status you need to follow the ten commandments of being a good netizen.
1. Thou shall be omnipresent
Having a blog with Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed and Flickr accounts along with some forums and 2-3 email accounts is about the norm these days. To keep all your friends and contacts happy, you will need to keep everything fresh and updated, and that requires a lot of time and effort. To simplify the task you will have to aggregate your accounts and then consolidate your email accounts into one by using mail forwarding.
2. Thou shall not trust others to protect their privacy
Whether its Google, Facebook or any other company they will not be vigilant about protecting your privacy. So the user needs to be responsible for making sure his privacy is protected by reading about any changes, checking the news, or just making sure he has the correct settings to suit their needs.
3. Thou shall be the phish that got away
While using the internet, make sure you are always aware of what you are clicking on, and where it will take you. Be skeptical of anything that comes out of Nigeria, and never believe that you won free stuff that you never registered for.
4. Thou shall be careful of what they say and who sees it
All too often, people forget that their spouse are on their Facebook account when they change their relationship status to single. They sometimes even forget they added that snitch in the office last week when they want to vent about work. Thou shall be careful with his mouth on the net and count to 10 before submitting.
5. Thou shall vent on the net… Anonymously
If you feel the need to vent on the internet, you shall do so anonymously. That way, you will not have to worry about who knows about it and what you end up saying. It is therapeutic to have a secret blog or forum to vent in.
6. Thou shall connect and reconnect
The internet is there to allow people to reach out to others, extend a hand, an ear or a buck. When reaching out, you can connect to that long lost 3rd grade friend, a fellow Henry Bogart fan or feed a famish child in the developing world. Whatever it is you want to do, it helps to establish new relationship with other netizens.
7. Thou shall not feed the troll or be one
The vilest creatures of the web shall not be fed or entertained. Trolls tend to lurk on the internet to cause mayhem and corrupt the righteous. They are the ones posting “first” on blogs, throwing ad hominema attacks and just acting stupid. They are committed to the dark side and will not dissuade from their evil. Therefore, no matter how tempted you might be to try and correct them and save them, you SHALL not. They will only grow more vicious.
8. Thou shall not believe everything they read on the net
When the balloon boy craze hit the US netizens around the world declared it to be a hoax, for they already saw the proof that Adam Savage provided that balloons can’t carry a boy. Like anything else on the net, you will need to consult other sources and scour the testaments of the Google to make sure and verify the authority of a piece of information and be wary of the wikis for they are prone to corruption.
9. Thou shall not be caught committing adultery
We all do it; we all end up using other peoples browsers and computers! So you shall be careful when you do, never save your passwords or bookmark sites, and make sure to clear your browsing history after you are done. Use web messengers instead of installed ones, and verify that you didn’t leave a trace after you are done. (We need a emotion face here, don’t we ;) )
10. Thou shall disconnect
Every once in a while you will need to disconnect yourself from the net and go into the wild. Rediscover reality and bring back all those raw thoughts back with you to the net. That will refresh you and allow you to wind down. That means not wireless connections, no blackberries, and preferably no cellphones. Role play how it feels to be a denizen from the 80′s, use a land line, wear florescent jump suites and let that mullet loose.
Do you Pledge to be a good netizen?