Image: CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/tea-hot-cup-drink-cup-of-tea-1090672/

Week 2 of #digciz June 2017 is coming to and end. A big thanks to Katia Hildebrant and Alec Couros for facilitating a conversation that pushed beyond concepts of individual responsibility when thinking about, talking about, teaching, or processing being participants in online spaces. Thanks to all who joined in or followed along.

Which brings us into week 3, facilitated by Maha Bali and Kate Bowles.

Here is Maha and Kate’s introduction to the week:

DigCiz is a conversation centered around questions of persons, environments, and shared experience as they relate to ideas of Digital Citizenship. If we create an online persona and if the Internet is an environment, then how do we live together in that environment? What does that look like? Is it healthy for all citizens? What are our responsibilities to each other as we share an environment?” (From DigCiz.org/about)

Imagine this. You walk into an unfamiliar place and you notice a pile of shoes by the door. You look inside and see a few people, who have taken off their shoes. You look around for a notice to tell you what to do, and there’s nothing. Now what?

This week we (Maha Bali and Kate Bowles) are convening a discussion of digital hospitality for the 2017 #digciz conversation. You can read more about the origin and structure of #digciz at http://digciz.org/about/

Conversation leaders so far (Bonnie Stewart, Mia Zamora, Alec Couros, Katia Hildebrandt) have guided discussion through loosely sequenced prompts, Twitter activities, and Google Hangouts; many have responded, and shared resources.

For some, this is a conversation that’s usefully framed by ideas of citizenship; for others, this isn’t the most helpful metaphor. But as Bon Stewart suggests, this is why citizenship is proving to be a productive prompt: citizenship as a metaphor is so troubled in the age of walls, borders, threats and exits that it pushes us to think harder about ways of understanding “persons, environments, and shared experience”.

This week we want to extend the #digciz discussion that has turned to practices of digital belonging and digital kinship. The Visitor-Resident approach asks us to map our relationships to digital spaces according to personal/institutional dimensions. Amy Collier recently blogged about a more nuanced, multi-dimensional approach that involves, among other categories, the notion of the “hidden immigrant”, highlighting the ways we may perceive ourselves differently from how others perceive us. We are interested in inviting you to develop a mapping of your choice, which may be as complex or simple as you choose; you could hack all of these and find some other way of representing how and where you choose to be/become when you’re online – and express it in words or images or any way you deem appropriate.

We share an interest in the experience of hybridity and home, and we’ve been talking for a while about developing global student learning projects to explore different cultural dimensions to practices of hospitality. We are Muslim and atheist, working in Australia and Egypt—neither of which are the places we were born or grew up—and through working together we’ve become interested in the assumptions and experiences of hospitality that are culturally shared, and those that are more particular, or that change in different social contexts.

This particularity is also critical to #digciz. The meeting between self and other online is not generic: online as offline, we adjust ourselves to others and also to the particular spaces in which we meet those others. But hospitality in open and public online environments is increasingly a terrain of risk. We do not enter into digital spaces welcoming others to hurt us however they please, as Autumm Caines recently blogged. When we make ourselves vulnerable or invite others to engage with us in our own spaces or in common spaces, we all have boundaries in mind, whether or not we make them explicit. We are not unconditionally hospitable, nor do we expect to find all other spaces unconditionally welcoming… and we understand, implicitly, that what may seem hospitable to one of us may seem inhospitable or downright hostile to another.

The idea of digital hospitality connects the cultures and ethical climate of the digital platforms we use to the way we manage multiple and hybrid selves online. Which dimensions of our hybrid selves do we bring to the different online spaces we like to use? Which spaces do we feel we belong to or have agency over, and which do we venture into as third places to meet others , informally? Do we have preferred spaces where we feel more at home, and why? How do we learn the social rules of new spaces? What do we consider hospitable practice in our chosen online spaces? Which of our own practices do we consider hospitable, and how might they be perceived differently by others?

This week we invite you to join a conversation about digital hospitality first by browsing the #digciz hashtag, and then by sharing your experience of belonging (or not) in different digital spaces, whether those you feel as a kind of home, or those that are a community space where you feel welcome or not. Feel free to create and challenge, and to use the space you prefer—your blog, Twitter, Mastodon, G+, even Facebook. If you provide a link on Twitter using the hashtag #digciz (or tag us somehow in other spaces) we (Kate and Maha) will try to curate across platforms.

On Saturday, June 17 a 5pm EDT / 11pm EET / 7am AEST, we will host a Google hangout conversation to explore what what we learn from these ideas about preferred space and practice, to develop a vision for a more hospitable digital world. Let Maha know if you’re interested in joining this hangout (leave a comment here or Tweet to Maha @bali_maha on Twitter or Toot @mahabali on Mastodon).

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Feel free to contribute asynchronously through the week, and/or to join us for the hangout on hospitality.

Looking forward to learning with you

Kate and Maha.

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