Cybersleuthing: A Whole New Level of Friendship

Our digital identity is our online presence; it is who we are online.  Our digital identity is a permanent collection of all the data about us that is available online, and each time we comment, blog, tweet, snap, pin, post a picture, update a status, etc., we are adding to that digital identity.

This week in ECMP 355, we were given the task of cybersleuthing a classmate in order to evaluate their digital identity.  I decided to cybersleuth my friend Robin, and she cybersleuthed me.

Robin and I are good friends outside of this class, and we follow each other on multiple social media platforms.  As such, I knew this assignment would be require some extra effort on my part because if I were to search Robin on Google, the personalized search feature would bring her up automatically.  So, in order to make the activity authentic, as if I were looking up Robin as a stranger, I used DuckDuckGo — a search engine that avoids the filter bubble of “personalized search results”.  This is what I found online about Robin:

Robin doesn’t have a huge online presence, but the information that I did find on her was very professional.  Right away I found Robin’s LinkedIn profile which describes her employment history and past volunteer experiences.  Robin’s LinkedIn profile told me that she is an alumni of George Brown College where she studied Early Childhood Education.  Using that information, I discovered that Robin was involved in a study-aboard program, and for her final practicum, she had the opportunity to go to Jamaica and teach in a kindergarten classroom.  I even managed to dig up a letter that Robin wrote while in Jamaica in which she talks about her practicum experience. While cybersleuthing Robin, I found out that, in addition to Jamaica, she has also travelled to India and China for teaching opportunities.


A picture of Robin in Jamaica during her final practicum.

Photo Credit: George Brown College via Talk Back Jamaica 2012

In addition to her LinkedIn profile, I was also able to find Robin’s Twitter and WordPress; however, she’s relatively new to both sites, so there wasn’t much to dig up.  Aside from those few sites, I couldn’t find any other information on Robin using DuckDuckGo (expect for a church service program in which she is mentioned for her work as a peer support student at Campion College), so I turned to her Facebook and Instagram accounts (both of which are private, and I only have access to because we follow each other).

Robin’s personal social media accounts are also very professional; I tried to see if I could dig up anything scandalous but found nothing (I’m starting to think there is something wrong with her ha ha).  On social media, Robin often posts pictures of her niece and nephew, shares flashback photos from her travelling adventures, and connects with friends.  She also regularly posts about, and advocates for, Treaty Education and social justice issues such as mental health issues and LGBTQ+ issues.

Photo Credit: Robin Tuck via Facebook

Overall, Robin has a very polished digital identity that frames her as a professional — although she is an “undersharer”.  One way in which Robin could improve her digital identity is be creating more of an online presence for herself by posting more regularly to public platforms like Twitter and her blog. Hopefully ECMP 355 can help Robin with this!

This cybersleuthing activity was eye-opening — it’s amazing (and kind of scary) how much information you can find online about a person if you dig deep enough; once you post something to the internet, it’s pretty much there forever. This activity reaffirmed in my mind the importance of having and maintaining a positive digital identity, especially as a teacher.  I think teachers are some of the most influential role models for young people, so it is important for teachers to model a positive digital presence that we would want our students to emulate.

2 thoughts on “Cybersleuthing: A Whole New Level of Friendship

  1. ayshayaqoob says:

    It’s super cool that all of Robins travels and teaching experiences popped up! You mentioned how she is an “undersharer” and I remembered how I struggle so much with figuring out what the “correct” amount of online presence is. Thanks for sharing!


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