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The Digital Citizen and Self

Internet communities require that we examine issues of what constitutes good citizenship and who we are just as we do in communities in the un-mediated real world.  Through discussion, readings, following current events, experience in a user-constructed world created for the class (0pensimulator), experience in a designated MMORPG similar to World of Warcraft, participation in blogging and online forums, and reflection on interaction on Facebook, we will critically examine what it means to be a "good citizen" in a virtual and mediated world.  The citizenship themes of the common good, civil discourse, the social contract, confusion of the consumer and citizen, national vs. world citizenship will be discussed, as well as some that arise from the uniqueness of digital communities such as the real vs. the fictional self.  The blog and forum troll, the virtual world griefer, the forum anonymous character assassin, and the tasteless or malicious social networker will be examined to understand why people engage in such behaviors and what can be done to respond to them.  Additionally we will explore how the "culture" of Internet communities limits or predisposes what we can become and in the process creates multiple selves that we somehow must manage.