So, you met someone new and you really liked them. You thought, “I could be friends with this person.”, and when you go home you look them up on social media. From doing so, you are able to discover their hobbies, work experience, family members, and political views. By doing this, you are cyber sleuthing, whether you know it or not. In the digital age, it is normal for people to feel as if they have instant access to information. This also includes instant information to someone’s personal life. However, what you may not have considered is that what you find out about someone’s digital identity may only be what they wish to share.
In Kate Fagan’s article “Split Image”, there is a discussion about how people will share the highlights of their life on social media, and nothing more. For this reason it is critical to be aware of the concept of digital identity. When scrolling through someone’s social media, you get a sense of their ideal self. You see all of the happiest moments in their life, which instantly causes you to compare your life to theirs. However, you may forget that you do the same, so there is no need for comparison.
Recently in my Educational Technology class, we were asked to cyber sleuth one of our classmates. When doing this activity, I was very shocked as to the amount of information you can find on one person in one google search. Although, I have cyber sleuthed many people in the past, I had not considered how important digital identity is. From completing this activity, I learnt that it is important to filter your digital identity in a professional manner. However, it is also important to ensure your personality is shown in online platforms.
Food for Thought
Do you think cyber sleuthing is invasive?