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Detective or Cyber Sleuth?

As I was late to putting together this post, I had missed the boat on having a partner to do the cyber sleuth activity with. Through the use of the Discord Community, I was able to connect with Danica Finlay who graciously offered to allow me to use her for the activity. The class we had on cyber sleuthing I honestly found to be one of my favourites and the most eye opening. It was interesting to hear the class responses on troll or not troll for the excerpts Katia read during class and truthfully some were really quite hard to differentiate the difference.

As we did during class, I took to Google and simply typed in, “Danica Finlay”. To the best of my knowledge, I do not recall taking any classes with Danica and I do not know her personally so I knew I would have my work cut out in determining if I had found the correct person. It was neat to do this activity with someone I do not know, as that was able to eliminate personal biases and missed information. To my surprise, I would say almost the entire first page of Google was about the Danica Finlay from our class.

I was able to find Danica’s, edusite, twitter, Instagram, Facebook and a couple of videos posted to the internet for projects for classes Danica has taken. Danica’s edusite has an “about me” page which shared pictures and told me she is from Vangard, Saskatchewan, she is from a family of 5, she was a figure skater, her birthday, her nicknames, her favourite colour, favourite hobby, favourite food and favourite season. This information was helpful as I did find some dated figure skating results which at first I could not confirm were Danica’s, however, from the edusite page I’m quite confident in saying they are in fact Danica Finlay’s from our class.

As I rolled onto the 2nd and 3rd page of Google, I did not seem to find anything more about Danica Finlay so I redid my Google search and entered “Danica Finlay Vanguard Saskatchewan”. This search actually eliminated most of what I had found by using only Danica’s name and I would say really was not helpful to divulge more information. I took a look at the images I found on Google and I would be confident to say the one of a figure skater would be Danica and there is another one which references where Danica was born and looks to MAYBE be a picture of Danica and her Mom from years ago.

The article “Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think” by Nicole Lee was reassuring and refreshing. In the article she quotes “different sites, different audiences and different purposes” in relation to having multiple identities. This seems to be quite accurate but it also seems to maybe be the intention of the creators of these social media platforms. If individuals are sharing the exact same things on each site, what would be the point in having multiple? Further, without the internet, people do tend do behave differently in front of different audiences it’s just not as obvious as it is not posted in text to the internet for the world to see, to judge.

The TEDTalk by Monica Lewinsky highlighted just how judgemental and devastating the internet can be. You see, in person something can be said and if it’s not recorded or written down or said in front of multiple people, it can be easily denied. On the internet, however, things are “official” they are “true” and they are there forever, good or bad. Monica quotes “remember, just a few years earlier [prior to 1998], news was consumed from just 3 places, reading a news paper or magazine, listening to the radio, or watching television”, I found this striking as these were the years that I grew up in. In school I was never taught about the safety of the internet because frankly schools were just getting access to the internet access and computers for students. Monica says “when this happened to me 17 years ago, there was no name for it. We now call it cyberbullying and harassment.”.  This is true to the era I grew up in and I can certainly think of multiple occasions from my childhood of classmates being bullied or harassed via the internet and nothing at the time could be done.

Although Monica’s story started out as shameful and even silenced her, it has come to work for her. She now has the ability to make a career out of her story by speaking publicly. A figure like Monica can enlighten young teens or even adults such as myself who did not grow up with internet safety. Although I have always been careful what to post on the internet, it is a good reminder to sit back and know how harmful just one post can be prior to making the dive to create the post.

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