Civics for a Digital Age


Citizen

Civics, the study of citizenship, has an entirely new meaning today.

We live in an age when we are as much a citizen of the online world as we are

of our town, state, or country. In a captivating TED Talk, Eric Lui, CEO of Citizen University, describes civics as “the art of being a pro-social, problem solving contributor in a self-governing community.”

Civics: The art of being a pro-social, problem solving contributor in a self-governing community.

-Eric Lui

I love this definition and can’t think of any communities more “self-governing” than those online. Can you?

Consider the social media communities where youth hang out, share information, and spend the bulk of their time—like Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and so forth. These communities are largely devoid of parents, internet police, crossing guards, or even

rules to keep their users in line or safe. Kids are left to their own devices to figure out how to be a good citizen in places like these.

Lui further explains civics by quoting Microsoft founder Bill Gates’s father, Bill Gates Sr., who says civics is “simply showing up for life.”

Civics is "simply showing up for life."

-Bill Gates Sr.