Digital Identity. Who are we Really?

June 4, 2021 0 By Julie F.

so. . . Who are we really?

Are we the people that are portrayed on social media? Are we the people we portray in person? Are we neither? Are we both? The only person that really knows who we REALLY are, are ourselves. However, sometimes we award this knowing into our lives through social media. We give other people the allowance to “get to know us” to “judge us” to sink their teeth into our lives based off the information we post ourselves or the information that is shared by friends or family. We look at social media as a way to construct ourselves in a favourable light, to portray the person we want to be, but might not always be. Sometimes we even use social media to say things that we might not ever say in real life. So why do we do this? why do we allow people to hold a magnifying glass into our lives? “Hundreds of years ago, we sent letters by horseback, containing only what we wanted the recipient to read. Fifty years ago, we spoke via the telephone, sharing only the details that constructed the self we wanted reflected” SplitImage. This is the same when it comes to the internet. We typically choose what we share, but we may not always do it “right”. We may share a picture, a post, a tweet or a comment, without properly explaining our purpose. This then can make its way around the digital world, where “the stealing of people’s private words, actions, conversations or photos, and then making them public — public without consent, public without context and public without compassion” (Monica Lewinsky, 08:24). This then creates new meanings, new explanations or new judgements on who you really are as a person. This all happens out of your control because the internet now holds control of what you share online.

NOW, many people are probably thinking this is extremely scary! and it can be! However, it shouldn’t prevent you from having a digital identity. It shouldn’t prevent you from sharing a picture, a post, a tweet or a comment but, it should make you think about the message you are putting out into the digital world. It should make you think about the images, pictures, posts, tweets and comments you are sharing with the world, not to portray an alternate version of yourself, but to protect yourself. Monica Lewinsky says it perfectly, after social medias birth, the landscape of people being harassed and victimized on the internet has become much more prominent. “Whether or not someone actually made a mistake, and now, it’s for both public and private people. The consequences for some have become dire, very dire” 08:49. Having a digital identity can be important to many but its just wise to remember that in todays digital age we need to be cognizant of what we are putting online.

Cyber Sleuthing Experience

With all the deep digital identity information aside, We were asked to cyber sleuth a fellow classmate of our own and this is how it went. . .

Initial Contact

Sarah Breti, Ashley Peterman and myself decided we would be a group of 3 for this activity. I would sleuth Sarah, Sarah would sleuth Ashley and Ashley would sleuth me. So once this was all decided I thought it would be best to get to work.

Let the Sleuthing Begin!

I knew Sarah’s name and twitter handle so I thought I would start there.

Just from looking at Sarah’s twitter I knew she was married to a Farmer, loved the outdoors and had 4 animals. A dog named Grizzly, 2 cats named Remi and Milo and a rabbit named Lily. I knew this wasn’t enough so I thought I would google Sarah’s name. Multiple things popped up such as her Twitter, Pinterest, blog site, Instagram (which was private, so no help to me) and Facebook. With Facebook being the first thing that was listed on google I decided to click on it. I was not sure if this was Sarah or not so I compared her profile picture from twitter to the one on facebook and determined they were indeed the same person. I determined this by hair colour and her glasses.

Where the Sleuthing Get’s Real

Now, I will admit I am not great at digging into peoples personal lives, but I was willing to give it a try. I thought why not get really into it and enjoy the experience.

At first glance I noticed her intro information. She is a student at the U of R, who previously studied at SIAST. Sarah is originally from Melville, SK but now she currently lives in Raymore, SK. Sarah is also married to her husband Nathan Breti.

Sarah’s Intro Information

I also decided to check out the about me section on facebook where I found out Sarah has 2 jobs working at Facility Sales and Admin at Crop Production ServicesCash office and Bodyshop at Regina Motor Products. Sarah appears to be a busy and hardworking person. Working 2 jobs, going to school and assisting Nathan with whatever he needs when farming. Way to go Sarah!

When I looked at her profile picture I thought maybe she has a son but upon further investigating through posts and pictures on her facebook I found out that it was her nephew that she was holding. His name is Emmit, who is her sister Jessie’s son. She appears to be very close with her family particularly her mother Judy and sister Jessie. It also appears that she is very close to Emmit, spending lots of time with her nephew!! Sarah’s best friend is Branigan Bentz, who was in her wedding party. She also loves her husband Nathan very very much, so much that even though she hates fish, she goes fishing with him (how sweet ♥️).

Fun fact: Nathan is 10 months younger than Sarah! They have been together 5 years and got married July 27,2019. Here is a super cute photo of the happy couple.

Wedding Day July 27, 2019

Family Life

Through further sleuthing I found out more about the family in Sarah’s life. Sarah has a mother-in-law named Janet and a father-in-law named James. A grandmother who she calls Nana named Hazel and an auntie named Gail. She also lost her father Clifford in 2012. Sarah stills holds him and their memories deep in her heart!

I thought it would be easier to find her age/birthdate because I feel like this is something that is on everyones facebook but it was not!! It took A LOT of scrolling to find out Sarah was born January 17, 1995. Which makes her 26 years old!

All in all, after sleuthing Sarah I would say my first impression of her is great! She seems like a very likeable person who loves her family, pets and life!! She seems happy and proud to be who she is!

I want to give a BIG shout out to Sarah for letting me dig into her personal life! Thank you so much!

Final Thoughts

The overall experience was neat but also different. It was something I was not use to doing. It was interesting getting to “know” Sarah but it also felt kind of uncomfortable digging into someone else’s life and then documenting it on this blog post. However, I was able to “get to know” Sarah more than I think I would have otherwise. It is crazy to me that with a little bit of digging I can say I “know” a person. I don’t believe I truly know her though, I only know what her digital identity tells me.