Character and online civility are both very important, yet many in our society forget how each play a huge role in our lives. The increased use of social media has opened up the flood gates to personal interaction and connectivity, but it has also opened up the gates to those who forget the importance of treating one and other with respect.
Last week the Character Counts in Iowa organization launched a new activity called Reveal Your Character, an activity centered on educating individuals about online civility. Their efforts will focus on teaching online civility, but mostly remind the masses of the importance for civility. They have coined the term e-integrity, which means having the same values online as you do in real life.
Worldwide, per second, there are approximately 28 million text messages, 700 status updates to Facebook, 600 tweets on Twitter; 1 million videos watched onto YouTube and 285 million emails.* We have the wonderful, yet dangerous ability to spread ideas and information around the world quickly.
Basically, they will focus on online bullies or those people who feel the need to incite conversation by stating gregarious or demeaning comments. — Think Des Moines Register Comment section. I stopped reading comments on the Register platform because no one used their real contact information or common sense. I know they have made changes to “police” the comments, but it got to a point that it was a bigger waste of time to even consider reading the comments.
But, the issue is much larger than just some bully leaving a comment on the Des Moines Register. There have been instances where online bullies have pushed people to commit suicide or harm themselves, which is obviously very serious.
We want Iowa to be one of the first states to take online civility seriously, thus the efforts to start the Reveal Your Character website. If you are interested in joining the charge, click on the link above to add your name to the list. You can also get an E-Intergrity badge or graphic (like the pic above) to put on your blog should you feel the need to fight the cause as well. Also, next time you leave a comment on a friends Facebook wall or on a Blog, think about what you are saying first to see if it is in your character. It’s time people stop hiding behind false persona’s and own up to their actions both online and in-person.
** For the record, after writing this post I was “called out” for a choice of wording I used in the post. The individual was completely right, my choice of words was not civil, yet I have changes the text accordingly. **