USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Principles of Digital Civic Culture

Principles of Digital Civic Culture

TheĀ Institute for Digital Civic Culture is a six-week professional development program and network is built around nine principles of digital civic culture, listed below.

A healthy, productive digital civic culture requires a form of online leadership that exists in online spaces and positions the leader at the center of the diverse community of people to whom they are related. Leading the digital civic culture is a conscious effort by dedicated individuals to reshape public discourse and to set high standards for digital communications across a broad range of subjects and issues.

To find out more about these principles, apply for the professional development program.

Shared Humanity

We prioritize humanity in our digital communications, and refuse to diminish our human interactions by making our online exchanges purely transactional.


Information Integrity

We take measures to ensure we are sharing and promoting information that has value from reliable, verifiable sources.



Conscious Engagement

We recognize that our words and actions in digital spaces can have an emotional, intellectual, spiritual AND physical impact on ourselves and other people; and we remain conscious of our choices in all our online engagements.


Humble Expertise

We offer our expertise with humility, and understand that we can’t teach if we don’t respect the intellect and autonomy of even those with whom we disagree.




Proactive Pluralism

We proactively reach out to and include those who are different from us in our online community so that our online community can benefit from diverse ideas and opinions.


Personal Accountability

We refuse to blame others for our mistakes, and publicly correct ourselves when we share bad information, mislead others (even unintentionally), and when we fail to live up to our own standards of engagement.



We understand the need to pause and reflect before responding in online spaces.



Assertive Self-Care

We understand that how we treat ourselves is how we will treat others. We limit our use of digital media when it interferes with our effectiveness online or offline.



Courageous Determination

We recognize that hate and vitriol in online spaces will inevitably be directed towards us when we lead in online spaces, but we remain committed to building community and promoting healthy communication even in the face of others’ cruelty and antagonism.


Get inspired to lead and facilitate healthy online dialogue and digital civic culture by learning about the nine Principles of Digital Civic Culture. Download IDCC Principles eBook here.