An Introduction in the World of Cyber Sleuthing

The concept of digital identity is fairly new to me, while to others it may be common understanding. In regards to where one may stand when it comes to their knowledge of digital identity can vary but the common understanding is that it is significant in establishing an online presence as well as becoming the focus for more possible career options throughout life. Using online search tools such as Google will provide a wide variety of links to sites that could possibly explain digital identity. To me digital identity is more than using the internet, it serves a collection of people, interests, thoughts, and words that you are interested in or engaged in. Growing up I had the chance to see the internet become a more common tool, however, for most of my childhood years I often would prefer face-to-face interaction. In doing this I was able to find out information and interests of other people without having to go through the process of cyber sleuthing. Looking at the current COVID 19 Pandemic we have seen a greater influence of technology and many of these differences will continue to be prominent in the years to come meaning the notion of cyber sleuthing and digital identity are becoming more common. Digital identity revolves around information posted on social media platforms and online blogs.

Working on this project with a partner and having the ability to test out my cyber sleuthing skills I found a series of common themes as well as some challenges in the process. The first program I began to search for was Facebook, as this program has billions of users that span different ages and life careers. After looking for a series of different factors including age, profile picture, and name I was unable to find my partner. I must confess that I found this surprising as I grew up with the general understanding that most people had Facebook and used the platform frequently. Although, after having the opportunity to have a discussion we suggested that fewer people within our proximity were using Facebook. A possible reasoning for this could involve different data and security issues that impacted Facebook in recent years.

There are certainly other platforms available to post information and enhance your digital identity. By doing some cyber sleuthing I was able to come across other social media and information platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Tik-Tok, and Snapchat. As well, blogs are another form of communication that can share information and provide insight into the poster of the blog. All of these different platforms all had unique identities and different focuses on the material being shared on them. For example, Twitter is used for expanding PLN and finding new resources while Tik Tok could serve as a resource to find new material on a subject or interest someone is passionate about. Snapchat could be a useful direct communication for working with others. As mentioned in the article “ Having Multiple Online Identities is More Normal Than You Think” people tune these platforms for individual and separate interests.

I had the chance to look both in class and cyber sleuthing and was able to confirm to myself  that information, such as blog posts and Twitter updates are based off the emphasis of search numbers and how the more someone is researched the more likely their results are to appear more on the front page. Keeping this in mind, ensures that our digital identity is properly maintained and when people look at a certain profile they associate it with you and your information.

A key component of digital identity is that it is subject to change over a period of time and can be influenced by prior experiences, external factors, and different situations. Social media allows us to express our interests and passions to those close to us but places us in a position where we are always taking information tailored for us, and this is no different for students. Due to consent change, we need to be continually teaching and educating students on digital identity. As Monica Lewinsky pointed out in her TED Talk when people and students are younger they may end up making more mistakes and due to news reaching new speeds of travel on the internet, educators can serve as a guide to ensure students are able to post and communicate safely. By working with a partner I was able to confirm different questions I had, as well as collaborating with partners now and in future educational positions to help us reflect on digital identity.

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