My Experience with Cybersleuthing

Cybersleuthing is when someone searches the Internet for information about someone or something. You can use keywords in searches, such as a person’s name, to find information about them on various websites such as social media, work or school-related profiles, and any other sites or areas where information can be found. 🕵🏼‍♀️

When cybersleuthing Delaney, I encountered several profiles for different Delaney Epp’s that were not who I was looking for. This made it a bit more difficult to find information because I had to pay close attention to make sure I was looking into the correct Delaney.

The first result I had when I searched her name was a link to Delaney’s Instagram profile. Right away I was able to identify that she is a Secondary Education student at the U of R based on her bio. As I have followed Delaney, I can tell from her profile and photos that she is very adventurous, enjoys traveling, being with friends and family, and playing sports like soccer. She has also posted several photos with golden retrievers as her family breeds goldens and she likes their profile on Facebook. 

Another website that came up right away on my Google search was her LinkedIn profile, which outlines her current role as a Substitute Special Educational Assistant for Regina Public Schools and her educational background pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary Education. I can also tell that she graduated from Campbell Collegiate, but she did not include an exact graduation year. Delaney is also listed as working as a tutor and is listed on a tutoring website as an English, Biology, and Math tutor.

Also mentioned on her LinkedIn profile is that she is the co-founder of Inside the Box: A Mental Health Initiative.

Based on the About Me page on her educational blog, she talks a bit about her gamily life, where she is from and explains that she wants to be a teacher because she wants to “help others, spread positive messages, be challenged and form connections with my fellow teachers and future students”. 

I also found a very strange site called Wiza that shows people job titles, contact info, and where they live. The job title it had listed for her as Shift Supervisor at Starbucks aligns with her LinkedIn page. However, I find it alarming that websites like this exist and advertise that by signing up, you can “find anyone’s contact info”. It definitely raises concerns for me and my digital identity and how safe our personal and private information may be. Especially after hearing Monica Lewinsky speak at the TedTalk about how prominent data and personal information leaks are online and “have a lifespan of forever” (Lewinsky, M., 2015).

Overall, I think it was an interesting experience to try to go in-depth to find information about someone online. I found that Delaney has a very professional online presence that reflects her interest in working in the field of Education. She does not have anything inappropriate posted and her digital identity reflects that of a teacher and someone who will be a role model and looked up to by students.

What this cybersleuthing activity made me think of was how in one of our first EDTC 300 classes, we discussed why it is important to own your digital identity online. By creating profiles on social media sites, blogs, and job sites, you are taking responsibility and ownership of your online image and you have the power to make it align with your values and what you want the world to know and think about you. The idea that you can control your digital presence is explored in the article Split Image by Kate Fagan and also the accompanying video Life, Instagrammed which discusses how Madison Holleran, a college athlete who committed suicide was able to project a completely different state of her life online though her Instagram account than what she was actually dealing with in real life. The article explores how “everyone presents an edited version of life on social media” and that what someone chooses to post reflects their “ideal life” or their “ideal self” (Fagan, 2015). I think it is important to recognize this and be sure to communicate this with students and youth so they know not to compare themselves to what they see online.

One thought on “My Experience with Cybersleuthing

  1. Awesome post Madison! I have also come across those sites where they say if you sign up you can find anyone’s information, it’s honestly kinda scary. I can only hope that my information isn’t posted on sites like those because I would prefer not to have my personal contact information spread across the web, who knows who would find it and their reasoning behind it. I really like how you mention the article that discusses what people post online. It is so true that everyone is able to just post what they want to present as their ideal self. This is so important to remember because as you scroll through Instagram or TikTok (or any other social media site for that matter) you are surrounded by all of these seemingly perfect, adventurous, amazing people. When you see these things, you are more likely to feel as though you are doing something wrong with your own life. I have to constantly remind myself that everyone is posting exactly what they would like to personify, and students most definitely need to have that reminder in their heads as well.

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