Over the past week our focus has been the ideas and understandings of our own digital identities, as well as others. To ensure that we, “we” as in future educators, understand the importance of digital identities we were asked to dig deep into someone else’s digital identity. In break out rooms (groups of five or so) we were asked to focus on someone within the faculty of education for a total time of twenty minutes and write down the following information: professional, biographical, personal, where they are on the web/social media based, our overall impressions, our trust that we have within the person based on their digital identity, and lastly what we would change about their online presence. Within a twenty minute timeframe we had information of all kinds ranging from a photo of their drivers license to what school they teach/coach at. It truly is a lot of information to have on the online world and can also be dangerous when you think about it. This information can be dangerous if it finds its way into the wrong hands. In a TED Talk given by Monica Lewinsky she states “There are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade”, which really made me stop and think about how everything that is posted online can be accessed at any given moment by any given person, and they can do anything with that information. Key word: ANY.
The point of “cyber sleuthing” in this particular case was to see what our digital identities look like from a different perspective. This assignment helps us see and understand from a fellow peers point of view what our future bosses, family members, students, students parents, and the world have access to and are able to see solely based on us as individuals. Personally, I have many forms of social media, including: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, a YouTube channel, Twitter, a blog (which you are currently visiting of course), Snapchat, and VSCO. In an article released by ESPN titled Split Image, the sad truth of social media and the affects it has on humans who face the negatives of social media and even, lose the fight. The article states “Everyone presents an edited version of life on social media. People share moments that reflect an ideal life, an ideal self”, which personally reigns to be true. I post photos that are posed, colour edited, and that show highlights of my life. I never post photos of me on my bad days when the past haunts my memories or when I am feeling down about body image. Rather, I post my highlight reel.
This week I was partnered with Presley Allen to “cyber sleuth” and in reality, I did not find much. In a quick Google search of Presley I found her Twitter account after scrolling over half a page down, I was also able to find her blog but I had to do so through the blog hub that is located on UR Courses, it was not something that Google helped me find. I also found her Facebook account but since I am not her friend on Facebook I am only able see when she changes her profile pictures which the last time was all the way back in 2018. Lastly, I found her YouTube channel which has nothing posted on her feed and her “about” section is left empty and unedited. I also ended up finding her VSCO, sadly it has been inactive since her last post back in the summer of 2019. I could not find an Instagram or Pinterest, my best guess is that the usernames are different from just her first and last name making it difficult to pinpoint. Leaving her digital footprint beyond clean, but also, does not tell me very much about who she is as an individual. I do not know her interests, where she graduated high school, the relationships she finds to be the most important, or what kinds of vacations she enjoys. The most insight I have on her life is her VSCO where it looks like she has a boyfriend, went out with her friends who appear to be holding an alcoholic beverage, and a little trip to Calgary back in 2017. However, since all of these posts are dated, her relationships and ideas may have changed by now. Two years can change a lot and she may have picked up a new hobby during the pandemic but we are not able to confirm this through her social media. I did also take a scroll through her “collection” on VSCO to help me understand what intrigues her enough to push the republish button and I found lots of quotes and images of her and friends on nights out, but the “cyber sleuthing” ends here.
Sadly, I feel like I did not learn a significant amount of information on Presley as an individual. Whether she is purposely trying to keep her online presence slim to none, or if she simply does not enjoy using social media is her story to tell. I truly enjoyed trying to find information about Presley as a person as it became difficult at times and allowed me to think harder and try to dig deeper. Thank you for giving me a run for my money, Presley!