Citizenship

One of the early conversations in the Okuna community centered on the question of what we, as Okuna users, would call ourselves. Some suggestions were straightforward. (“Okunaers!” “Okunaies!”) Some were lighthearted. (“Owls!”) Some, like the suggestion from @fish below, were more serious. We share @fish’s post here to invite new users to join us in rethinking what it means to be part of a social network. Are we more than users, occupants, or consumers? If we expect more from our social network – more transparency, more integrity, more accountability – what responsibility to do we have to be the change we wish to see?

Volunteers for Okuna

On the question of what Okuna users should be called

by @fish

After spending a week thinking about it – given a choice – I would prefer to be called a “citizen” or “bürger” of Okuna.

The word comes with some psychological hooks, but unlike the “friend” identifier, they’re attachments to a society’s principles, not to individuals. I think it makes sense, given Okuna’s structure. In communities, we make closer, more intimate contact, and our identifiers reflect it. We can be “foodies” or “Trekkers” or “funnypeople”. Even, as in the Introductions Community, “friends”.

But as members of the broader society, we have come here for many of the same reasons. We want to own our data and have control over it. We want to know our data is secure. We want to be respected as clients and not exploited as products. We want the provider of our society to be forthright about its intentions and accountable for its failures.

As citizens, we might draft these fundamental expectations as a bill of rights. These principles would command our allegiance – not some vague promise that the friendships we make are worth the price of exploitation.

Citizenship – die Staatsbürgerschaft – also comes with tacit obligations. Vigilance. Participation. Stewardship of communities. Most importantly, we have a stake in making sure those who provide the space for our virtual society are properly remunerated for their service.

I vote for “citizen.”


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Published by Cara Reynolds

I love Okuna! I’m no coder, but my mild-mannered alter ego is a marketing writer and user experience advocate, so I’m supporting Okuna by writing and maintaining the Okuna community handbook.

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