Okay, so this weeks homework was to creep on a classmate on social media, and lets be honest what young millennial female would not enjoy that. Sleuthing is a part of my everyday social media activity, it just naturally happens when I click on a profile that I’m interested in seeing. However, the point of this assignment was so assess the digital identity of the one who we decided to creep. This week, I had the great pleasure of checking out all I could find on Hillary Mercier.
Now admittedly, Hillary is one of my best friends. Yet oddly enough I had never really looked her social media before. I mean, I have seen her Instagram posts and I have her on Facebook and such, but never have I ever looked at any of her profiles on the those sites with a purpose. I usually just scroll and double tap on her pictures when they appear on my timeline. But I knew that even though I had not already sleuth-ed her before, I needed to brush out of my mind all that I already know about Hillary and use just solely what I find online to understand how she presents herself digitally.
I began with the Facebook app:
On Hillary’s profile I learned that Hillary is a 21 year old (October 27th is her birthday!) University of Regina student in the faculty of Education.
I found pictures of what appears to be her very large family, and images of her growing up with what the captions indicated, were her cousins! I also found out that Hillary is originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and moved to Regina for her first year in the faculty of Education. Of course, Facebook also told me some of her interests, such as the Bachelor, country music, and romantic comedy movies.
Hillary’s Instagram profile is locked, and therefore you need permission from Hillary to follow her. After being granted permission, on Hillary’s Instagram profile you quickly see that Hillary has what seems to be a close knit group of friends, who appear several times in the course of her feed. You also see other important people in Hillary’s life such as her boyfriend and her roommates. Lastly, you see the things Hillary likes to do in her everyday life such as going to Riders games, travelling, getting outside, and spending time with those close to her!
Feel free to give @MissHMericer a follow to keep up with her thoughts on education and teaching. Through her twitter account I discovered she is an English major and a French minor who loves literature and writing. She is passionate about education and through reading her tweets I became sad that I would never get to experience being a student of hers who would grow to love writing and Shakespeare through her lessons.
Lastly, her blog:
Of course I had to check out Hillary’s education blog, which details her journey through sewing and technology in education. This blog is a great professional portfolio that highlight’s Hillary’s intelligence, humour, and insights into education. As well as 5 fun facts about her (taken right from her About Me page!):
1. My favourite place to be in the beach – I love summer!
2. I have an addiction to candy (HUGE sweet tooth)
3. I am family-oriented: I have a large family and one of my favourite things to do is spend time with them
4. I love to hike and travel – my dream destination is Australia and New Zealand
5. I love English and am so excited to teach it!
If you haven’t had a chance to look at it, you should check it out!
After looking for all that I could find on Hillary, I surveyed what I found and tried not to let what I already knew about her creep into how I saw her online presence. Hillary doesn’t share too much online, you really only get a surface look at her life with some basic details. Yet, through those surface images and posts you get a very strong sense of professionalism and authenticity from her social media accounts. She has a refreshing consistency in her presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her blog. Just from what I found online, I would welcome Hillary to teach in my classroom any day!
After I spent my time looking through Hillary’s digital citizenship, I spent a few moments watching/reading some things which really had me reflecting on online citizenship and appearances. The first of those is “The Price of Shame” a TedTalk by Monica Lewinsky (linked below).
Monica points out that before the age of social media, the way that information was shared to mass audiences were through newspapers, magazines, radio, or television. Which granted, reaches billions of peoples. Yet is still nothing compared to the numbers of people that social media reaches, and in a much quicker time frame. She goes on to speak about how online images and and statuses can be taken out of context and taken without consent, something which people should consider when posting online. What we post of there forever, and accessible to a huge group people. Being kind and respectful online is essential for peoples well being in today’s very public world.
Next, I read Having Multiple Online Identities is More Normal than you Think which explains the vast set of online appearances people can present through having multiple online accounts, even on the same social media app. This could be for the purpose of wanting to present yourself in a certain light for different audiences of people who have a certain type of relationship with you! For example, you might have a professional Instagram page that your co-workers or boss follow you on. And you might have another Instagram page for friends and family to post about the activities you did on the weekend. Different content posts for different audiences.
In general what I took away from this experience after the cyber stalking, video watching, and article reading, was that we must be careful about how we present ourselves online. Social media is a public platform which allows people to take pictures, posts, and captions out of context. It also opens up the possibility for anyone to save, screenshot, or modify your pictures. It’s very important to be aware of how we present ourselves digitally. We should ask ourselves when posting content, “would I want my boss, co-worker, mother, or a stranger to see this post? How would they see me if they did?”. Our online presence gets stronger and more imperative with every passing year, it’s important that we understand how to properly present ourselves and how to stay safe online.
Well this was my cyber sleuthing experience, I hope you all learned a little something about Hillary today that reflects what an amazing person she is! If you ever need an English teacher, welcome her into your classroom someday!
**All pictures published on this piece were taken with approval from Hillary Mercier**