As future educators, our digital identity is a key component of how we are viewed by our employers, colleagues, and students alike. Maintaining a positive and professional identity should be the goal of all professionals, and when you have young students who may decide to look you up, you make sure you know what they will find.
It is important to remember that our digital identity is an extension of who we are in the world. Technology and online interactions have become integral to our daily functions and as such, it makes more sense to treat our online presence as our extension rather than as something completely separate from who we are in the physical world. In an article posted by Paul Gordon Brown, he touches on these ideas and helps to change the common view most people would have on identity as it interacts with the online and physical spheres of one’s life.
As part of an exercise about exploring our digital identities for class, we were tasked with cyberstalking one of our classmates. My fellow classmate, Sydney has decided to let me cyberstalk her and in return, she has cyberstalked me as well. Her article on her findings can be found here.
Time to Sleuth!
I started off with a simple google search of her name and, unfortunately, her name is surprisingly common. Among all of the pictures of people that weren’t her, Ancestry biographies, softball players, real estate agencies, some obscure book about a tainted fish and Australian politics I was able to find her FaceBook and Twitter!
To start off my lurking I check out her Facebook profile (from my mom’s account, we were already friends) and found that she had her privacy setting similar to mine! I was only able to see her profile and cover photo and see that the last time she updated her pictures was in 2017!
Next, I looked at her Twitter, @MsSydneyMcGrath. Now, as a requirement of our class, we are supposed to have twitter accounts and keep them updated and post frequently. By taking a look at Sydney’s account it is clear that she is doing just that! In her bio, we are able to gain a sense of who she is: student at the University of Regina studying Elementary Education, she has access to her blog and has also displayed her birthday. Her feed is very lively as well! She interacts with fellow classmates and with several twitter chats, she updates her followers on when she posts blogs and presents her progress on her learning project. I even went a little further to dig into her likes and found that she kept all aspects of her account very professional and education/teacher based.
Sydney has her Instagram locked down to all the people who are not following her, something I just found out that I wasn’t doing on my own account (thanks Syd!). Because of her privacy settings, you can only see her follower counts, number of posts, bio, and profile picture.
Now, this is where I was able to find a lot more information on Sydney that I wouldn’t have been able to find on her other social media profiles! You can find some of her classwork and experiences from her first year in the education program as well as find out some personal information that she talks about in her About Me section! From this, viewers would be able to find out that she was born and raised in Leroy, SK, her immediate families professions, her involvement in high school clubs, her sports interests, and some of her goals for the coming years!
I was very impressed with the layers of professionalism that Sydney has online. The social media accounts that are available to anyone looking for them are maintained very well and are very professional. Even her accounts that only friends and followers can see still maintain a professional atmosphere; she doesn’t post anything inappropriate, even when nobody would be able to see it. And, for people that aren’t close to her or aren’t followers of her social media accounts, you can always tell which account is hers because of the similar profile pictures and cover photos that she uses for all of her accounts. There is no question which account is hers and I think that this is a great way to establish a presence online, but not give away more personal information than you feel comfortable with.
Good Job Sydney!