Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Emma (@emmakate988)

Dear Emma (@emmakate988),

How I wish we could get together in a quiet place and talk—deeply and sincerely about your tweet that created such a firestorm and the possibilities for learning for so many that could come of it.

That we could explore how your tweet is not as “harmless” as you might think—that every step you take online becomes a permanent part of your digital footprint -- forever. A footprint that can influence your admission into college, your opportunities to get a job.

That we might examine the power of social media for learning, for effecting change.

That we might think about some “what ifs” –

What if you had tweeted during the governor’s address—what if you had factually summed up his viewpoints and respectfully added your perspective?

What if you had arranged with other students and government teachers back at your high school to tweet using #SMEYIG so they could virtually learn with you?

What if you had encouraged the Youth in Government program to arrange for students to tweet during the program as a public service to those not fortunate enough to attend?

What if you now decided to turn what has happened into learning for so many people?

You see, I’m a passionate advocate for students raising their voices, for students influencing the change they want to see. And I think that responsible use of social media plays a huge part in that story, as we’ve seen successful revolutions enabled through exactly that use.

And I’m one who is concerned that schools around the country are not doing their part, in helping students become good digital citizens --how to navigate these open spaces safely, responsibly and ethically.

I’m wondering if your teachers have taken time for you to learn about digital citizenship, responsible communication, and the permanency of a digital footprint? If they shared with you videos such as these?

Stop, Think, Connect-- Stay safe online!

Digital Dossier

And if they’ve not, what if you began and your friends in Youth in Government petitioned to make that happen—that included in your learning were opportunities to explore deeply the nuances and responsibility of being a digital citizen? Petitioned your principal? Petitioned your school board?

What if you worked with the state Youth in Government program to learn ways that responsible use of social media enables and influences the work of government? What if, at your initiative, your state Youth in Government program began to use social media responsibly to influence what was occurring in your Kansas state legislature?

What if you began to use your now expanded twitter following for social justice? for a cause? to make a difference?

I sincerely hope you might consider what I’ve suggested—so much could come of it and be of value to so many—

I’m @lanihall on Twitter—want to chat?

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