This week I ended up cybersleuthing Sydney Vogt. She is a very good friend of mine, so I already know a lot about her, one being that she does not have any social media. This made things a bit harder as I could not really find much about her. Before this class Sydney did not use social media, until she started using twitter and a blog. When it came time to see what I could find I knew I would find information from her twitter and blog account, but I was not sure what else I would be able to find. I was also able to find an old twitter account from grade 10 but that was pretty much all I could find. The good thing is that everything I could find on Sydney was good and there was nothing that was making me question her. Sydney’s digital identity was pretty small as she did not have much information that appeared about her. This is a good and bad thing, as people are not able to find information on her. She also does not have to worry about inappropriate photos being posted on her Facebook or instagram. When I looked up “Sydney Vogt” I got many other accounts. If someone did not know what Sydney looked like and they were searching her up, they could find information that is not even about her which can become a problem. Future employers could be finding information that is not true or even relevant to her. Having a digital identity is important so people are not able to find false information about you. When you apply for a job or have your own classroom there is a good chance the employer or parents will look you up. Even when you go in for your pre-internship and internship your cooperating teacher will be looking you up, I know this as my cooperating teacher looked me up on Facebook. I knew what I had on my Facebook and what people would get when they searched my name so I was not concerned about what she would find. This is why it is important to have a professional digital identity. It does not have to be big but just something so if people look you up they can find positive information.
I believe that everyone has some form of digital identity even if they do not use social media. I found this to be true when searching Sydney. Digital identity is everything from Facebook to the images that come up when our name is searched. A person needs to know how your name is being presented on the internet. To monitor this it is good to google yourself from time to time. It is also important to talk to your friends and family about what they post about you or tag you in and insure that it is appropriate and presents a positive image. Your digital identity can say a lot about you so you want to try and control what is being portrayed about you and remember that once it is out there it is there for good.
People need to be aware and conscious of what they are posting and what others are posting about you as well as what is being said, as anything can be taken out of context and what you might think is just a harmless joke can be one of the biggest mistakes you make. This was pointed out in Jon Ronson’s TED talk How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life. This video points out how everyone is watching you if they want to and how easy it is for society to get a hold of something and use it to ruin your life. It is so easy for people to sit behind a screen and shame others and because of that it can happen easily and with little to know effort. Not everything should and needs to be posted and some things are better to keep to yourself. What is posted can say a lot about who you are but it is also very easy to fake what you have. Madison Holleran’s instagram portrayed a typical happy girl who loved life, but this was not the case. People post on instagram acting like it is real life. “Yes, people filter their photos to make them prettier. People are also often encouraged to put filters on their sadness, to brighten their reality so as not to “drag down” those around them.” – this is a quote from Split Image. I liked this quote as it points out how as much as people try to pretend instagram is like your real life, people still and always will try and make it look better in order to please their followers. People believe that life should be instagrammed – that is not the case. I myself don’t have instagram. When people find this out they are always so shocked and ask “why”. I do not see the point in having to post my life for a bunch of followers in whom I might not even know. I would rather live my life not through a screen and for “likes”. Yes, a digital identity is important to have and monitor but it should not be taking over your life. It does not matter if it is a picture, post, or comment, it all makes up your digital identity and you always need to be actively aware of your activity online.