What Is #DigCiz Trying to Do Versus What Am I Trying to Get from It?

As I read my #DigCiz column in Tweetdeck, I find it to be a teflon mess.  What is #DigCiz trying to do?  Is this theoretical work on the nature of digital citizenship or practice in the discipline of digital hospitality? Both? Neither? Signal? Noise?

“DigCiz is a conversation centered around questions of persons, environments, and shared experience as they relate to ideas of Digital Citizenship.”

  • “practices of digital belonging and digital kinship.”
  • “hidden immigrants”
  • “telling stories”
  • “conversation”

I guess I wanted something very different. I wanted more deliberate practice.  Conversation is not leading to me practicing digital hospitality.  I have done a lot of facilitating online and that is one form of hospitality, but I am not seeing much on how to practice digital hospitality.  The discussion so far has been pretty theoretically top-heavy with lots of folks blasting out lots of signals to the point where it just becomes noise–to me.

So that those involved don’t consider this a condemnation and get defensive, I admit I misunderstood what #DigCiz was mostly about. That’s my problem.  I came to it with an expectation that it might be more than a ‘conversation’.  I should have come to it with a better filter, a filter that was looking for practice and deliberate practice about, for example, digital hospitality. My mistake.

My next step is to re-engage with the ‘noise’ so as to tease out the signal of deliberate practice.  I am not very heartened so far. Who knew hospitality was so fraught with academic guild chatter and anger?  My first stop will be to find the concierges and see what they have to say.

I will also try to practice my core commitment to honoring those who invited me and those who are sharing.


  1. // Reply

    Hello, I’m so glad to have found your blog and I’m really thinking about these questions, and also your thoughts on “digital feldgang”. For me fixed space metaphors (home, place) for digital practices are complicated when there is no there, there are just passages through and across. This is why I liked your feldgang model so much, it took me on to some thoughts about what it means to take a hospitable approach to strangers without a home, when walking.

    In my neighbourhood there are oceanside walking paths and they get a bit chaotic at the end of the day when people come home from work and there’s a mix of joggers, walkers, people on bicycles, dogs. But what interests me is watching who greets strangers, and who looks down at the path. There’s no method to it. But something about this is how eye contact is made when strangers meet while walking, how people make space for each other, half recognising some, avoiding others, some completely unknown.

    I’m not sure if this question about hospitality is academic for me, or even really a theoretical issue. I came to it on a fairly personal feldgang as a hospital patient. I was struck by the ways hospital and hospitality share a common origin and so I started searching out why this was. The critical issue for me was learning that at this origin point the word for host and guest is the same. So hospitality only later became a question of having a resource you choose to share well, or not; is this when it became fraught? when it became more about the boundaries of the space controlled by the host?

    I’ve been persisting quite slowly since then in figuring out whether it’s a workable approach to navigating amongst unknown others in institutional and digital settings that are and aren’t to do with teaching — or whether it’s just something I’m still curious about. The essential problem for me at the moment is the stranger. In so many settings in the world we seem no longer to recognise strangers as people who might care for us, who we might care for.

    I’m curious to know more about your commitment to honouring, what honouring is. I’m wondering about how honouring and hospitality could have some common ground.

    1. // Reply

      It seems to me, Kate, that ‘hospitality’ is how people are greeted and encouraged at the door, poking their head into a space and wondering, is this for me? Is there a place for me? And ‘honoring’ is the acknowledgement of what people have contributed to that space (perhaps in relation to hospitality but perhaps not at all), and that honoring (through remix, through comments, through means other than the heart or plus-one or whatevereasythumbsup is out there) is a way to show purposeful thinking about what others have put into a space (ie, the small stories interpretations in Mastodon)

      1. // Reply

        That’s a beautiful elaboration. I think yes. So both are a gesture of “I see you”, an acknowledging, perhaps a gift in return, just as I experienced your restorying, but sometimes just as a like or whatever works to say “I see you”. This is my think about the glance among strangers on a path.

        This evening I had a great deal of difficulty dodging around a small local supermarket trying not to catch sight of someone, trying not to be caught sight of. All sorts of pedestrian no-particularly-bad reasons, but I felt myself actively practicing a kind of inhospitability.

        Of course we ended up in the checkout line together at the exact same moment. Of course we did.

    2. // Reply

      So pleased you made it down my half-mile of gravel lane into the hollow where my family and our sheep live. There is a miraculous DSL line snaking its way through meadows and across tulip poplar and sycamore climax bottoms where copperheads await. There is a Google Map ‘bulb’ planted here: https://www.google.com/maps/@37.3529954,-85.9443068,3786m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en And you don’t have to imagine, there is a there there. Take a feldgang. If you look closely in one of the small rectangular fields, you can see where we put our humanure. Yeah, TMI, but there really is a there there. Now that you know where we spread our barrels of shit, we are no longer strangers, right?
      You can see our log house with the peace symbol visible if you zoom in. If you know what to look for you can see our sheep and our mighty guardian dog Mo, RIP but forever captured by Google. And there are lines of history there, too. An old ford where to this day horse folks still cross in order to keep up their rights to use. You can find lengths of 6″ oil pipe from a line created in the 1920’s that were laid on top of the ground and transported to tanks and then to market. You are welcome here. Grab a beer from the icebox and sit, my honored guest, in the porch swing we bought to celebrate the birth of our now 32 year old daughter. I think if you look at the seat of all this, my memory, and you look even deeper to the brain, there is probably no there there either. Just glial cells, neurons, and consciousness. Now that be a feldgang. I am so grateful that you have come if only for a short spell. You are welcome here anytime. It is only a few short electrons and synapses away.

  2. // Reply

    Can we (not just you and me, but the ‘we’ who are engaged in these discussions) collaborate on a document or build out a piece of work about what we believe to be the attributes of such a space and of the kinds of hospitality we have experiences and hope for when joining a new space? Is that a collective Credo, perhaps? In other words, can we move from characters in a tweet (or perhaps characters from a comic) to something more shareable, more tangible, more remixable for folks building new spaces forward? (or will those be just more words on a page?)
    Your friend in many spaces,

    1. // Reply

      How about if we collated some examples of hospitality in practice? Like Daniel’s, for example, and so much of what you and Terry do. That might be a way of finding out what we we each thought was important.

      1. // Reply

        Poignantly when I click the link I get a single word.


        This is one of those moments of unintentional inhospitability in systems. We don’t own the systems. Meeting online is like arranging to meet in a motel. The door to the room you were sent to doesn’t open. What do you do? Is it the motel’s fault? Is it you? Did you choose the wrong room? Did you bring the wrong key? Where is the person you are hoping to meet? What do you do now?

        1. // Reply

          Go figure. You have already been approved by the WP police, yet…

    2. // Reply

      I don’t think those are just words on a page, those are people jumping off a page. See a hospitable axn online, remark upon it. Put it on the Dropbox page. Maybe we find a better spot later. Maybe we write a more formal DigitalConvivialityManifest or not.

      I think if we are gathering examples (and non-examples) online or F2F, then we stay rooted in the world. We speak closer to the truth of what is and is not hospitable, what is truly convivial and humane.

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