On Being a Good Platform Citizen

Image for post
Image for post

Is it about making good things?

Since the Internet is, for me, all about making things, or building tools to help people do things, I tend to see digital citizenship as almost a side-effect to effectively and ethically following your craft.

Is it about community tech?

Or it could be about the kinds of things you make. For example, there are people building local, community tech—places like Heat Seek, helping people get access to heating, or BetaNYC, which seeks to build community around tech in NYC. There are other local orgs like PathFinder.vet, which helps Vets find housing and benefits. (And I’ve been an advisor and fan of Vets Who Code for a while—a not-for-profit giving vets mentorship and levelling them up as programmers.)

Or is it about platforms?

Most people, alas, do not make websites but rather visit them, or use their mobile analogues. They use Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Slack, and Twitter. That got me wondering, what makes for a good platform citizen? Which is actually a fun exercise. You don’t have to be too formal about it. I’ll do Twitter, then Facebook:

What makes a good Twitter citizen?

  1. Additive! Posts fun, useful, fresh links and pix.
  2. Responds to respectful DMs when possible.
  3. Gives others credit for jokes, points, etc.
  4. Manages thirst.
  5. Blocks and reports bad actors.
  6. Accepts that people may not share constant sense of outrage.
  7. Doesn’t write “This.”
  8. Amplifies others without exhausting everybody.

What makes a good Facebook citizen?

  1. Hits “Like” on most things.
  2. Reads posts about our public school.
  3. Posts Snopes links to combat hoax spreads.
  4. Mutes racist uncle, or engages with racist uncle.
  5. One “my wonderful husband/wife” post per year max.
  6. Writes sympathetic comments regarding dead relatives.
  7. Doesn’t unduly creep on exes and crushes.
  8. Rage-quits quietly, with minimum of drama, no more than once every six months.

Written by

CEO, https://postlight.com, a digital product studio in NYC. Also writer, Medium advisor, programmer. Any port in a storm, especially ports 80 and 443.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store