In part 1 of this series we looked at basic web literacy and talked about the building blocks of reading, writing, and participation. We also took a closer look at reading. In part 2, we delved deeper into the writing skills required to navigate the information superhighway. In this final part, we’ll look at participation.

What counts as participation? It can be as simple as leaving a comment or a review for a product. Maybe you ask a question in an online forum.

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Once you find an online community like a forum or a Facebook page, you have to understand the rules. These rules may be plainly spelled out like “no nudity” or more implied like “don’t post about your personal family problems in the doll forum.”  You also need to get familiar with the terms used by the people you’re connecting with. Everything from eBay auctions to book reviews to playing Pokemon Go comes with its own terminology.

Once you are connected, it’s important to protect yourself. You need to know what’s safe to share online and be aware of the programs and settings that keep your PC safe from online intrusion. Plus you need to monitor your passwords and accounts to keep them safe.

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If you’re posting or sharing images, music or any other copyrighted material, you need to be aware of the laws pertaining to that material.  It’s important to remember to give credit if you use material from another source.

You’ll want to understand things like how to use and respond to notifications. For example, letting messages go too long unanswered is considered a breach of web etiquette. Or, if you set up a Facebook page for your business, you need to be responsive to it or customers might think you have poor customer service.

The post important part of participation is sharing. Whether that’s creating the platform for sharing information and ideas or just joining a site like Facebook to share your opinions. Sharing photos on Instagram or your own videos on YouTube helps provide content and encourages others to communicate with you online.

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Important skills to develop when sharing include knowing what content is appropriate and also knowing when it is safe to contribute content. This is especially important when young people are involved. It’s important that they have safe environments, monitored carefully by adults, in which to learn these skills.

Now that we’ve gone over the building blocks of web literacy, how competent do you feel with your skill? Let us know in the comments.

~ Cynthia