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Is this the new norm? – A take on cybersleuthing

When I think of cybersleuthing, I think of on of my favourite shows growing up and possibly still to this day and that show is MTV’s Catfish! Catfish’s TV series was my first introduction to what people behind the screen are capable of hiding. I loved the idea of exposing and detecting who is using false identities. I like to think that because I have watched almost every episode of Catfish that I have an upper hand to identify those misleading profiles. I have never cyber sleuthed someone who I was unfamiliar with so with the activity to cyber sleuth a class member got me excited to see how my investigating skills could be put to the test!

I first started with my partner, Yiquan Dong by doing a general search on Google and instantly found their edusites blog! That was exactly who I was looking for and although I knew that  finding a class mates blog profile would be easiest to find, I still found the profile off of Google! Next, I wanted to try a Facebook search and well I was less lucky, heres what I found:

…many profiles with the same name! This made me think of a previous experience I encountered where I got misidentified because someone had a similar name to mine. I realized that even people who don’t have common names still share their name with others which is something I never thought of before.

This got me thinking, “what if someone who had my same name did something online to jeopardize my life?” In The Price of Shame TED talk, Monica Lewinsky states, “Cruelty to others is nothing new. But online, technologically enhanced shaming is amplified, unconfined and permanently accessible. The echo of embarrassment used to extend only as far as your family, village, school or community. But now, it’s the online community too. Millions of people, often anonymously, can stab you with their words, and that’s a lot of pain.” How can we protect ourselves and other from this cruelty or will this cruelty become the new norm?

One Comment

  • Allison Higgins

    Thanks for the read, Laura! I have been thinking the same thing since our lecture last week – here is hoping my name twins make good choices lol!

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