How social media could teach us to be better citizens by Ethan Zuckerman

In Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society – Special Issue on “Digital Citizenship.”

Abstract: In 1995, social scientist Robert Putnam suggested that American civic life was weakening because people were retreating from public spaces. Local organizations from bowling leagues to men’s lodges, Putnam believed, helped train citizens in the mechanics of civics. People learn to run meetings, to find agreement, to argue respectfully and helpfully. Could we gain some of these same lessons from participating online? Platforms like Reddit, where individuals are invited to moderate communities they belong to, suggest a path towards rebuilding civic skills through online spaces.

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