For this week of EDTC 300, we were given the task of cyber sleuthing one of our classmates. So what is cyber sleuthing? I asked myself this question and figured out that it is really just a fancier term used for online creeping/stalking. I partnered up with my fellow classmate Mary-Ann for this assignment.
I felt a little uncomfortable about this assignment at first as I felt I was invading Mary-Ann’s privacy. My mother then assured me that absolutely anyone can do this at any time, which made me realize that this assignment is actually really helpful for us to see how we appear to others online.
So I began my sleuthing with a simple google search which led me to a bunch of women with the same name as Mary-Ann. I then refined my search a little by typing in Mary-Ann Blenkin, Regina. In this search, I found out that Mary-Ann received a scholarship from Parkland college for the 2018-19 school year (congrats Mary-Ann!) From this find I also learned that she is from Yorkton Saskatchewan.
I then went on to refine my search a little more by putting in Mary-Ann Facebook and stuff like that and I was able to find her Facebook, WordPress and Twitter accounts. From these accounts, I learned quite a bit about Mary-Ann. Her About Me page on her WordPress account was especially helpful. I learned that Mary-Ann is married with four kids whom she loves spending time with and watching them grow and learn. I also learned that she is interested in theatre and is a fourth-year student at the First Nations University pursuing an Indg. Ed degree. Mary-ann also has a business certificate from Thomson Rivers University that she obtained online.
Overall, Mary-Ann’s online identity is very professional. She uses her Twitter and her WordPress accounts mostly to share education-related things. Her Facebook profile is mostly dedicated to sharing things about her family.
This process really got me thinking about the importance of one’s online identity. As Nicole Lee says, “having multiple social media accounts is pretty common”. She explains that many people have different accounts that are targetted towards specific audiences and treat all on different aspects of one’s life. This is interesting to me as I only have one account on each social platform. However, after reading more on this topic and watching John Ronson’s Ted talk, I can see now how it may be beneficial to me as a future educator to make some of my more personal accounts more private and not have them attached to my name. Not that I post anything inappropriate, but this just reassures me a bit more that everything someone may find connected to me is 100% professional.
The story of Madison Holleran really hit home for me. As a young girl, it is so easy to fall into the trap of the “perfect” Instagram life and to start comparing yourself to others based solely on their life online. No one posts about the boring or sad parts of their life on Instagram. We all want people to see this filtered, fun, perfect life. This is a huge problem, and it’s one that we as educators need to address. This problem only gets worse with the younger generations as it is much harder for them to see through the filters and realize that their lives are no less perfect than anyone else. As educators, we must help our students understand that one’s digital identity can be easily distorted from reality and is not to be taken for exact truth.
These quotes between Madison and her mom about a picture of madison had posted online truly say it all.
“Madison, you look like you’re so happy at this party.”
“Mom,” Madison said. “It’s just a picture.”