Should educators have a double life online?

My answer to the topic is simple. Educators can have a different persona online and off school; however, that persona must be positive.

This week we spent time exploring digital identity, online shaming, and cybersleuthing. Ahh, online shaming and cybersleuthing are new words for me and are invented for the networked world. Since I can’t find Wikipedia’s definition of cybersleuthing, I will explain it briefly. When we are curious about one person, and we search for him/her/them online with the hope of finding a little background information, we are cybersleuthing. Cybersleuthing can be positive if people use it for educational (e.g., teaching students how easily villains can track their digital footprints) or detective purpose (e.g., investigating the background of a rumormonger who keep smearing your friends). Under her content, I did some cybersleuth to my partner Laura Githegi and here is my finding调查结果. Cybersleuthing can be negative if people use it for harassing and illegal intentions. For example, dark net users dig into someone’s digital footprints to find out their address and commit some crime.

My digital identity is multi-faceted. It is normal because people have various perspectives, just as N.Lee suggests, “People have diverse, rich lives that aren’t contained within a single idea and personae” (2016). I have two Twitter accounts: one for building my professional identity and the other for documenting delightful moments.

I have two Twitter accounts.

You will only get my Edusites and the professional Twitter account if you search my name. I would conclude that I have a neat digital identity. To protect my privacy, I will set my personal account into extremely private. What does extremely private mean? I turned on every switch in the privacy and safety section to prevent others from seeing and tracking me.

For maximum protection of your privacy
Protect your tweets: on
Photo tagging:off

However, I also like Katia’s suggestion that we should pull down private information instead of locking down accounts because we are not owners of social media and our information always face the risk of leaking out. As educators, we should care extra about maintaining a positive digital identity because teachers should model positive digital citizenship. This article in the Saskatchewan teachers federation explains well the principles teachers should follow to survive in the transparently digital world. Although it is not easy to do, I will follow these instructions as digital footprints are standing in a more and more important role in that they become a reference in the workplace.

Online shaming is not a good thing. As Ronson introduces in his Ted talk, online shaming is not maintaining social justice; it is a cathartic alternative. When people do online shaming, they barely know the facts before sharing and blaming others for their own benefits, which range from gaining viewing rates to relieving stress. Therefore, I won’t encourage students to do online shaming because it will move them away from being digitally literate citizens. Online shaming also informs me of the importance of keeping my privacy safe and maintaining a positive public image. It is satirical because online spaces are initially designed to be where all people have the freedom to say something; but conversely, people need to care more about digital identity than their realistic one because any biased words may go viral through Internet sharing and then ruin one’s life.

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4 Responses to Should educators have a double life online?

  1. Ava Viczko says:

    I think it’s very interesting how teachers are expected to cater their personal lives to their careers, and I think as social media becomes more significant it’s even more important that teachers are allowed the freedom to express themselves (positively, and respectfully) online. I agree that it’s important not to just lock down our accounts, but to be more mindful about what we are posting and our own digital footprint. I like that you talked about online shaming since that is such an important thing to be aware of in the modern digital world. Thanks for such a great post Yiquan!

    • Yiquan says:

      Hi Ava, I like your new point:Teachers should express themselves positively online. It looks like our profession somewhat helps us become eligible digital citizens.

  2. Meghan LeCuyer says:

    I agree Yiquan, we should teach students to become nice on the internet but also safe. I noticed that you locked down all your personal accounts and my sister did a similar thing when she became a social worker. She changed her name on her accounts from “Kyla” to “K.B” (her first and middle initial) so her clients could not find her as easily. It is becoming increasingly hard to become invisible on the internet but there are steps we can take.

    • Yiquan says:

      Hi Meghan! Thank you for sharing your sister’s story with me. Yes, it is necessary to keep a positive public profile.

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