Digital Citizenship

Building Blocks for Domain of One’s Own: A series of adaptable modules


Beginning to think critically around the “rules” of citizenship on the web as they have thus far experienced them, and then think through moving forward how they will engage in online environments.



In small groups, write the “rules” and etiquette of the main digital space the students feels like they are a part of (tumblr, facebook, Twitter, snapchat, instagram, Reddit, subreddits, YouTube, etc). Some questions to consider while writing these rules: Why did you choose this community? What does it mean to be a member of the digital social group? How is that membership and those norms enforced?


  • What mechanisms does this community provide for you to establish an identity and presence?
  • What kind of activities does this community foster? Which are people most invested in? Which are you most interested in?
  • Is there dissension in this community? How is it handled?
  • How easy/hard is it to feel “connected” to others?
  • If you could rewrite the rules, what would they be?

Instructor Guide

During class discussion for this activity, you should try to push students to think deeply about the unspoken rules they follow (or have created for themselves) in various online spaces. While they’re spending large amounts of their time engaged in these spaces, they’ve probably spent very little time thinking about the choices they make that impact the way a community develops and self-manages itself. In addition, they may have never taken the time to read the terms of service of a social networking site closely. Do they know what rules they’re supposed to follow? What are the consequences (to them and to the community at large) when certain rules aren’t followed? What should they do when they think the “official” rules are unfair or inappropriate?

Customize It!

Write a “terms of use” statement for the class, both face-to-face and online interactions.