This week I had the task of cyber sleuthing my classmate Shana Blenkin. I was looking forward to this opportunity because I love to “creep” people on social media to learn more about them. I often joke I could be an FBI agent because of how good I am with finding information about people.
Before I even began my investigation on Shana, she talked to me about the anxiety she was feeling about this activity. She told me how the night we were assigned this task she spent hours going through her social media to get rid of all the “inappropriate things” I might find. She also talked about how she feels so torn between having an open and accessible social media presence due to her online business or if she should be making it inaccessible because of our future careers. As I am someone who is mostly inaccessible online due to my current career, I felt for Shana. Sometimes it really sucks trying to curate your social media accounts with the worry of posting something that someone might not like to see in the back of your mind. Keeping Shana’s anxieties in mind, I began my cyber sleuth.
The Google Search
First things first, I google searched “Shana Blenkin”.
Right away I was able to access her Twitter account. Her twitter account is very professional and it is clear she is working towards building her professional learning network as she shares many educational related resources. So far so good with the online presence, Shana!
Following the Google search lineup, her Facebook account was next.
Without having to request to be Shana’s friend, I could learn a lot about her. Shana has a very active presence on Facebook, most likely because she runs her own business (check it out and support local!). Going to the “about me” section, I learned that she is from a small community in Saskatchewan, is happily engaged, is a full time student at the University of Regina, and has an adorable dog named Walter- who I have had the honour of meeting through zoom in another class we are in together. Briefly going through Shana’s publicly shared photos, she mainly posts photos related to her business along with a few personal pictures with her fiancé and her dog. I was however, able to spot one photo of Shana with a drink in her hand with a friend. In my opinion, this isn’t a big deal. We all are human, and we all like to have some fun. So far, I think her online presence remains professional. Great work “tidying up” your social media posts Shana!
Shana’s Instagram was next. Unfortunately for me, her account is private and I was unable to access the posts she shared. I even requested to follow her, but Shana was smart and did not accept my request lol!
Next up, Shana’s Educational blog. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s fantastic! She remains professional while sharing a few personal details in her “about me” page. Her learning project is so entertaining to follow along with and provides really great recipes and tips! Her blog also shares some really great educational related resources. Great work!
Lastly, I was able to access Shana’s YouTube channel and see that she has posted 3 professional videos all relating to University projects.
Overall, I don’t think Shana has anything to worry about for her online/social media presence! From what I have gathered, Shana cares about what others see in terms of her online presence and proves that she takes pride in displaying herself professionally. I would love to get to know Shana better to become friends.
If you would like to see Shana’s post about her cyber sleuthing experience on me, check out her blog post!
Reflections on Digital Identity
Being able to find out so much about Shana with one quick google search was quite the eye opener. It also made me anxious about what online strangers could easily learn about me. Like Madison Holleran, I am very aware of the image I present to the world. Like it was mentioned in the article, everyone presents an edited, “ideal” version of their lives on social media. I am also guilty of this, I don’t post about my really bad days or my downfalls I experience throughout my life. I usually only post the happy, positive, and fun things that I experience. Although I feel as if I have a professional and secure online presence, what if I make a mistake? Monica Lewinsky bravely came out in her TED talk about how her life changed drastically overnight. She was publicly humiliated to the point of her stating her life was “almost unbearable” once news of her affair with the President of the United States was made public. She mentioned how she deeply regrets her mistake made when she was 22 and is still reminded of it daily. It doesn’t help that her name is mentioned in over 50 rap songs. Hearing her name in rap songs is the only reason why I am familiar with her and the scandal- not the news headlines. This just proves how your online/social media presence and todays society/pop culture are intertwined and how dangerous the online world and social media can really be. It also reminded me of the two lives or one debate from last week that I blogged about. Stories like Monica’s suggest why it is so important and necessary to educate youth about how to use technology responsibly and appropriately. She left me with an eye-opening suggestion that I hope to carry onto my future students: “Imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline”. In order to break the common cycle of online shaming I hope to educate my future students with online safety as well as online compassion.