This week in EDTC 300, we further explored the effects of digital identity and learnt about cybersleuthing. The term cybersleuthing is used to describe the act of vigorously searching the internet, including multiple social media platforms, to find information about someone. After class, we had to find a partner to cybersleuth. My partner was Kaeli Yoo.
After a few Google searches, I quickly discovered that Kaeli is very active on both Facebook and Instagram. These accounts are more personal, but they still maintain a sense of professionalism. Three things that stood out to me from these platforms is that she is an amazing musician, she is strongly rooted in her faith, and she loves camping. In addition, I found lots of pictures and videos from her wedding, which were absolutely beautiful. She also has Twitter, where she shares many anti-oppressive and arts education related teaching resources.
One thing I was surprised to find about Kaeli was how established she is in her music. She has published songs on both Spotify and Apple music! I also found multiple interviews and performances she has done, including one on global news.
Overall, Kaeli has a strong and very positive digital identity. If I was an employer, I would hire her in a heartbeat, especially if I worked in a Catholic school division. It is clear that she is truly passionate about music and performing. Kaeli’s online presence is an example of how your digital identity can bring you success, as both her music and teaching career have been improved upon through her active presence in online spaces.
However, digital identity can also do the opposite. My biggest takeaway from class this week was how quickly your digital identity can be defined by a single negative post or comment. In this Ted Talk, Jon Ronson shares one woman’s story about how a single tweet ruined her career in a matter of hours. A more recent example of this is the young woman who had her university scholarship and admission revoked due to a distasteful Instagram post about the public’s reaction to George Floyd’s death. You can see the post here. The screenshots of these posts will remain online forever, and it is likely that anyone who cybersleuths either of these women in the future will be bombarded with information about their mistake.
If you do not make a conscious effort to create a certain digital identity for yourself, it is possible that someone else will define that identity for you. Once this happens, it is very difficult to rewrite. Your digital identity can be such a positive aspect of your life; it can help you connect with others, get a job, promote a cause you care about, or even start a business. However, this will only happen if YOU are the one in complete control of your own digital identity. So go ahead, cybersleuth yourself. Discover what your digital identity looks like to others, and decide whether or not you are proud to be defined online by that identity.