The complexity behind cybersleuth: the case of Taylor McKinnon

1. Searching for Taylor McKinnon

During this week, I had the opportunity to partner with Taylor McKinnon and to cybersleuth her as part of our EDTC300 activity. As everyone can do, I first looked at her by typing her name on Google. By doing so, I saw her Instagram profile on the top of the first page with 1573 followers, 888 following and 88 posts (see image).  However, as there were many pictures with the same name that appeared, it was difficult to confirm whether the Instagram profile I found is related to my classmate.

Prinscreen for the search of Taylor McKinnon on google

Because I am the classmate of Taylor, I was able to look at her on Twitter to find her profile. From there, I found that:

Profession: She is an Elementary Education student at the University of Regina. While searching for her on LinkedIn, I found many profiles with the same name. After checking them one by one, none of them corresponded to her, and I concluded that she does not have LinkedIn profile or may have with different name.

Biographical info: She recently joined Twitter (September 2022) and is followed by 35 peoples (possibly her classmate).

Personal: She was born and raised in the mountains of Rossland, British Columbia. After having a look on Facebook, I found many peoples with the same name. I saw a profile with a picture that might be her, but I could not verify whether she is the real Taylor McKinnon because there was no information about her including the places lived.

Overall impressions: Taylor McKinnon ’s digital identity is complex because her name is shared by many other people not only in Canada, but also in the USA. The profile that might belong to her on LinkedIn and Facebook are not conclusive to ascertain that it is her. Nevertheless, the information obtained from her Twitter account (because she is my classmate) let me to understand that she is not active on the internet and that she is currently an Elementary Education student at the University of Regina.

2. My reflection on digital identity

Digital identity is the virtual image that is created of your person based on what you share on the Internet (likes, personal data, opinions, etc.).  It is part of a global trend toward the creation of a truly digital society. The advancement of technology is increasingly connected to the urban and global environment, seeking to bring consistency, security, and innovations to the relationship between communities, public authorities, and each individual. In addition, a digital society opens new possibilities for issues of sustainability and accessibility of services, products, and other demands available to the population.

The article by Nicole Lee about “Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think”, attracted my attention. I strongly agree that having multiple online identities give the opportunity to share a variety of content and talk to different audiences, but I personally believe that managing all those online identities might be challenging since it can confuse your audience. This can be explained by the fact that your audience may not understand the purpose or value of each of your digital identity.

It is important to note that one must be very cautious regarding what to post or share on the internet especially celebrities, because it can be catastrophic for your life and career. Apart from that there are cyber criminal site or organization that might attack you in many ways. This was the case of Monica Lewinsky (in The Prime of shame), an early victim of cyber attack, who was almost losing her personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.

The YouTube video below, recently posted shows the Cyber vigilante groups that go undercover to expose child predators.

Thank you for reading and sharing your experience with digital identity.

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