This week in EDTC 300 I was able to use one of my best skills and get to use it for homework, that skill, as I learned on Tuesday is called cyber-sleuthing. Cybersleuthing, to put is simply is using the internet to find out information about a person. The person I ended up doing some detective work on was the one (and not only) Benjamin (Ben) Rayner. Ben had messaged me over Twitter to ask if I still needed a partner for this project, I did and so we ended up being partners. I had to inform him that he was in luck because everything on Google when you type in my name is most likely me. Ben told me that I would be in the opposite boat because he has never been able to find himself. I told myself “pffft I’ll be fine, I’ve cyber stalked lots of hard to find people before and have been able to find out quite a bit about them.” but boy, was I ever wrong. I searched long and hard to find something about Ben but I was only able to find his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and his teacher portfolio on WordPress. His Instagram and Facebook have the privacy settings cranked all the way up so I wasn’t able to find out too much from them. I found out the most about Ben through his WordPress blog and his Twitter profile.
So here are some things I found out about Ben:
Ben will be going into his 3rd year of education in the fall at the University of Regina, his major is social studies and his minor is inclusive education. Before going to the U of R Ben went to high school in Regina, where he is from, at Campbell Collegiate. He is 19 years old and his birthday is November 19th, 1999.
From his Facebook I was able to see that his relationship status was “in a relationship” (I’ll omit their name for privacy considerations). Although his Facebook was mostly I could see Ben likes to travel quite a bit and he also really likes his sports, especially hockey. Some of the teams he likes on Facebook are the Regina Pats (WHL hockey team), Patriots (NFL team), Roughriders (CFL team), Toronto Blue Jays (MLB team), and Team Canada (Olympics). I could also see that some of his music likes consist of Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. I was also able to find out that he likes to snowboard and play soccer. From his WordPress I found out something really cool about him; he is a volunteer for the Special Olympics men’s floor hockey team where they got silver in 2017. I thought that was a fun fact about Ben. I have had a few classes with Ben and from what I can recall he hasn’t mentioned that.
Also on his WordPress, I saw that in his free time he likes to go for walks and hang out with his brother and his friends. He also has a really cute dog whose name is Zoe and his 10 years old.
That is essentially all I was able to find out about Ben and a big reason I was able to get access to those social media profiles were that I had access to his twitter which had links to some of them. His Facebook and Instagram weren’t too hard to find because we have some friends in common. Of course, there is a lot more information about Ben on his blog regarding some of his classes but those are more detailed and I won’t get into them because I could write a lot about what I find when I look through his “classes” and other sections. One of the main reasons I couldn’t find much else about Ben is because someone else also has the name, Ben Rayner. The other Ben Rayner is a music critic for The Star since 1998. It turns out this Ben has quite a large following as his Twitter @IhateBenRayner has 33.8 thousand followers. There are many articles online posted about him and even if you narrow down the search by typing “Ben Rayner Regina” articles of him still pop up. I scrolled through several pages of Google before I finally gave up looking for things about the Ben I was looking for.
Overall I would say that Ben is a respectful and professional individual, that being said it’s also hard to tell because I could only find what he wanted me to find. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but, you would need to have him in for an interview before getting a good read on what kind of person he is. Since I have classes with him and have some friends in common I can vouge for him and say that he is going to make a great teacher because he takes his education very seriously. At first glance it looks like Ben is an under sharer because Google searches turn up essentially nothing, but, if you look at his blog he is a very open person who is willing to talk about his experiences and have honest conversations.
Ben is very fortunate to have a name that allows him some protection in terms of his digital identity. He can be a bit braver when posting because it will most likely not be seen due to the other Ben Rayner and his large online presence. This comes with some challenges though because if Ben wants to have a larger online presence and a more outspoken digital identity he will have to work extra hard to do so. The profiles I was able to see appear to be his professional ones (WordPress and Twitter) whereas I can assume that his private accounts (Facebook and Instagram) have more personal information. This is normal for most people, in fact, according to Nicole Lee in Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think some people in have multiple accounts with a separate and more specific audience. For example, on Instagram, some people have “finstas” which are Instagram’s that are directly for your close friends. I will even admit that I have one of these remaining from high school. I am outgrowing it a bit and I find myself using it less and less but it’s still fun to have just to share funny stories with your friends. My finsta would not be considered professional but it is by no means inappropriate. For example, my most recent post is a video of my friend and I flipping our boat at rowing practice. I wanted to share this memory with some of my friends because well frankly, it is hilarious (especially considering we had been bragging that we had never flipped a boat the day before). I can safely assume that if an employer wants to check out my social media account they don’t need to see two girls laughing so hard they can’t breathe while holding onto a tipped boat for dear life (it was SO cold). It’s just not necessary and I only feel comfortable sharing that somewhat embarrassing moment with a closer audience. Like everyone, I have the right to privacy and I also have the right to post personal things if I choose. But unlike Ben, I have the unfortunate disadvantage of having an EXTREMELY unique name, so if I’m not careful with my digital identity it could go the wrong way very quickly. But like Lee has written in her article “Different sites, different audiences, different purposes” and if I use these sites the way they’re intended to I will maintain a polished digital identity.