Establishing communication and consent in the digital world

digital consent

A guest post by Frankie Wallace. 

Our digital devices allow us to communicate with people in a wide variety of ways.

Social media allows us to share content. Websites give us the opportunity to grow brand awareness. Dating apps could help you find the love of your life.

With so much attention devoted to digital connections, some areas are often overlooked. For starters, how do we establish trust and consent in a digital environment?

How do we ensure we’re acting appropriately, both in a digital world and with respect to the digital property? If you’re a business owner with website, how do you prevent your content from being pirated?

This article explores the answer to these questions.

Establishing online consent

Consent is an important aspect of online communication and it takes on many forms. For example, a relationship component, where both parties communicate the kind of relationship they want and any boundaries they want to establish.

On a broader level, online consent can also extend to intellectual property. You could set guidelines on whether you want to share your information such as website content, pictures, and ideas with others.

You can also ask for consent if you want to use information from other sources. Examples are citing material for a case study or requesting access to a picture for an article.

It’s important to note that consent isn’t continuous. You’re asking for permission once, and the participant always has the right to revoke access to consent for any reason.

Using consent to be a good digital citizen

Netiquette is a guideline for courteous communication in online environments. This includes remembering there’s a human on the other end, treating them as if they were there with you in-person, and understanding the context of the communication you have with the other party.

Also, it’s important to practice safe posting behaviours, especially on social media. To avoid posting spam links via email or social media, only share content from sources you know to be legit.

This will make you a good digital citizen. It can also help you identify when someone is trying to spam or harass you. Once you’re aware of the situation, you can contact the website’s administrator or social media platform to report the abuse.

And, of course, business owners must protect one of their most important resources: their website.

Protecting intellectual property

As an organisation, your digital identity is what determines whether your customers do business with you. This means your website and, more importantly, the content on it can help you grow your company.

The only problem with posting content online is it could be susceptible to digital piracy. This is where thieves will steal your intellectual property — your logo, brand name, artistic work, research or inventions and pass it off as their own work.

Thankfully, there are ways to protect your business and still offer value to your customers. The safest approach is to establish a paywall by which you offer your most important content or ideas to paying subscribers. This prevents anyone from visiting your website to steal your resources. It also gives you a better idea of your target audience.

Ultimately, it’s important to better understand the impact of how we communicate online with others. Set boundaries and practicing good digital etiquette like consent to foster better relationships online.

And place a company’s most important content behind a paywall. This can help a business share their most valuable assets while minimising risk.

About the author

Frankie WallaceFrankie Wallace regularly contributes to a wide variety of blogs and enjoys writing about health tips and politics. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho and is a recent graduate from the University of Montana.

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.

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