When it comes to Cybersleuthing I am probably not the best at it, I really do not care enough to search through peoples social media accounts and see what they are all about. Now if i was hiring someone, or my daughter was going on a date with someone, then yes I would for sure do a deep dive into someones social media accounts.
That being said, I did do a quick look through of Byron Alexander. I went through his Facebook, twitter, and Instagram. His instagram is a private account, which is a good sign, right now I am waiting for him to approve my request. As for his Facebook page, there is nothing that jumps out to me. He has very few photos up, and the ones he has are with his kids playing hockey, or at a Riders game with his friends. Nothing stands out as alarming. I know Byron decently well, and his social media accounts line up with the person I believe i know.
He has two twitter accounts, his personal, and professional. Looking through his personal, you can clearly tell he is a leafs fan, Raptors fan, and a Jays fan. He has his personal and professional social media accounts. To me they both act as professional accounts. He is clearly aware that his posts are a representation of himself, to me he presents a mature, trustworthy (minus the leafs fan part), person who loves his family.
To me this is the best outcome I could have for cybersleuthing. I found nothing.
Reflecting on Digital Identity:
Digital Identity is becoming a very important aspect to the working field. Employers are now checking your social media accounts to get a better understanding of the person they are interviewing. To me this is smart by the employer, and as future employees we have to be equally as smart in understanding the importance of displaying a healthy professional digital identity. To think that you can have a professional account, and personal account, and assume they would not find your personal account seems silly to me. Likely if anyone else can access it so can they. We must be more conscious and careful on what we share, knowing full well people are watching.
I had an experience early in my life when i was candidating for a Pastoral Position. I had to be interview in front of a board made up of Elders and Deacons. One gentleman googled me, and checked youtube and found a video of me dancing to a rap song “Party Like A Rockstar” (it was a while ago). He asked me if i condoned what the song was about (I was dancing with a bunch of students in away to build relationships). It was then I realized that I will be in a position that is watched by everyone, much like a teacher. This experience allowed me to be more aware and conscious of what I am sharing for people to see.
Social Media is difficult because it is a great place for people to come together to re-connect, or feel apart of a shared community. It can also be a place where people feel safe enough and secure enough to make fun of someone, say things they would never say to someone face to face. We live in a shame and blame era in Social Media.
One clear example is
Is in the Ted Talk “One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life”. I watched the speaker share the example of a women who tweeted (in my opinion a very inappropriate tweet) while flying to Africa.She said, “Going to Africa, I hope I don’t get aids, just kidding I’m White”. This in the past was maybe a message you shared to your friends in a text. Instead she shared it on twitter to her 170 followers. One follower retweeted it and from their it exploded and like wildfire the Twitterverse read it and responded with pitchfork-like-words with the desire to ruin her life and career.
The speaker went on to say that many twitter users desire to destroy people, and not feel bad about it. Now I do not know the heart of someone, or if what they are saying is a joke, or a statement, I grew up with the teaching that out from the heart the mouth speaks. So if you are bitter, or angry, or racist in your heart, that will over flow into your speech in some way.
People became like “shaming interns”for google, and the free pass nature of saying horrible things as long as twitter was all working together was fine. This is an issue because no one should be allowed to be intentionally cruel or say things like someone deserves to be raped and get aids. That person should also be held accountable. There is a difference between accountability and crucifixion, and this lady felt the full brunt of twitter “shamers”.
Twitter can be useful. Movements like “Me Too” had a very strong platform, and voice through social media. Twitter can also be a place were people have lost a lot of empathy and enjoy tearing people apart. I am a twitter user, and I hope twitter reverts back to a place were people go to feel safe, and able to have a voice. Where there is more of a feeling of community, where people come on and share the same interests with others. If there is not a change, then the ones who loved using twitter to have a voice, may go back to being voiceless. I also think voices (tweets) should be used for good and not for the purpose of tearing down but instead for building up.
Social Media can be a place where many people present an image of someone who has it all together. Pictures edited to show their best side. An example of this is in the ESPN acalled Split Image. I really enjoy Kate Fagan and her work at ESPN, I love the way she debates sports and shares opinions. In this article she shares a sad story on how if you were to follow Madison Holleran’s Instagram account, you would never guess she was depressed or struggling. Kate Fagan said, “Everyone presents an edited version of life on social media. People share moments that reflect an ideal life, an ideal self”. To the unknown eye Madison would have appeared to be the epitome of what every young girl is supposed to hope to become. If you only looked at Madison through the lens of Instagram you would never have thought she was struggling with depression, and anxiety, and that she wanted to commit suicide. Even those who knew Madison were shocked when she sadly commited suicide. The point though is that Instagram is a platform set up, for people you know through the internet to follow you. It is a place were you can display the best version of yourself.
Instagram, Twitter, and social media in general can impact our digital identity. Social Media has caused people to be fired, it has ruined the lives of many. It is a powerful tool that can be used for good, or for bad. It is a place where some come to find a voice, and some come to hide and lie. For many it is a tool used to escape, or keep in touch, or find a familiar community. There are those who abuse it, and use it to tear people down.
As a user of these platforms, I need to be aware of the power Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram ad Facebook have on me and acknowledge the power I have as an influencer. I need to be thoughtful in what I follow, what I share, and my goal should always be to make a positive impact in the world.