I am a nomad wandering through the web on my journey. My blog gets heavier on my travels. As I sit down each day to write, I pull the blog from my backpack and erect the simple tent above my head before setting down these thoughts. The words have become my home and wherever I go, I carry my home with me. I think I always have.

I have always felt a foreigner in England, the country of my birth. I don’t really tie this down to any particular or deliberate alienation I went through. Although racism wasn’t uncommon when I was growing up,but  even without that, the thing I still remember most was the duality of my daily life as a child. The school hours, shopping, walking the streets outside our house was one world and the one with the family, the ways of my parents Chinese culture brought to a foreign shore, another one entirely.

A different language, expectations, traditions, superstitions and even ways of thinking were separated by crossing over the not so secret portal between these two worlds, marked by our front door.

Its hard to feel a tie to the country I was born in when my memories as a child are so steeped in the words and ways of another one. But at the same time, I’ll never be able to be the person from my parent’s country either. The thoughts I might have had, have been mixed up and filtered along the way, till there is something very English coming out the other side. So here I am, a global citizen, a modern one, some would say. 

Perhaps this is why I am drawn to the web. The online world reaches across the boundaries of countries and cultures. I stumble through it and every step can bring me through another portal into a different culture, or else throw us all together and create new online ones  instead. I love it so much, I wonder if I should stay, hand in my passport and become a fully fledged Netizen?

Unlike other places where you might be expected to take a test, submit an application in triplicate or marry a local. There are no certified steps to makes you a Netizen. Some people suggest you simply qualify by spending a large proportion of your time online. Others say it requires contributing to the web through online communities. 

I believe, however, the true meaning of citizenship to any place,  is defined by the acceptance of certain obligations to your adopted nation. Be that paying its taxes or abiding by its laws. In the web then, perhaps our obligations should be:

  • To protect its freedoms
  • To improve its use
  • And to increase its access by all individuals

None of us are born to the web. We are all foreigners welcomed to its shores and if we are not the ones who will safeguard and shape its future, then who will?

Quest Objective: Become a Netizen


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