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.
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.
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.