Archive for the ‘Social Networks’ Category
A strange thing happened on the way to (once again) reviewing the search engine functions at Linkedin.com. First, when Linkedin introduced the feature “Skills and Expertise” I was put off, and even deleted them! I much prefer the personal recommendations. Those actually give you information that may help in making an informed decision. But, you can’t outrun fate so, I just ignored it. Since I get endorsements, many from people I don’t know, I began to get curious about any advantage they may have. Well, after review, I can report that the “endorsed for” feature is useless.
Whether you search from a general search engine or within Linkedin you will not be able to leverage that part of a profile. Say, I want potential clients to find me with a search query: “endorsed for” “private investigations” near a particular zip code. The only way those terms will appear is if they are in the “Background” portion of your profile — findable by searching in the “keywords” box in the advanced tool.
Even the stock categories of skills at the Linkedin Skills page doesn’t give you the minimal option of tailoring it to geographic region — although there is a graph from which you can select one. But to make matters worse, all the individuals endorsed for a specialty do not appear in the results and even among the profiles listed all the geographic regions aren’t represented in the graph!
Then again, maybe you don’t want to be associated with Linkedin’s title for your endorsed skill category.
You can find keywords in status updates through the Linkedin tool, Signal, but this just searches words in status updates and doesn’t support phrase searching. The word “Endorsed” returns a result for someone who doesn’t want to be.
Did I miss anything? Signed, Not Buying It.
Have you tried searching for Facebook profiles by phone number? Enter one that you know is in a profile or posted to a Wall — even a profile set to private — and let me know what you find.
I have my phone number in my About section and the Facebook search engine returns just my profile, so you know that’s the right one.
But here’s a search I did by telephone number for someone I’m not connected to and who doesn’t have their phone number in their public profile. (Sorry for the blurring — to protect the innocent victim of my research.)
How do you view full profiles of 3rd degree connections now that LinkedIn has blocked those to users of the free service?
You’ve encountered the problem of selecting a profile from Google (or within LinkedIn) of a person you’re not connected to that shows only a first name and the initial of the last name. Selecting the links takes you to this view of the profile.
You’ll get more details on this profile when you view it as a pdf.
But that’s only a taste, not the full meal. Extract the first name and particular text that will likely return the right profile and enter your search terms at Bing or Yahoo (not Google). Now the full name is visible. (For another approach see this post from Glen Cathey, an expert LinkedIn searcher.)
Two versions of the profile can be viewed from this screen: the one from the active link and the cached one. Select the cached link to view an older page of the profile. This image is just a portion of the page.
Preserve the page with your favorite web capture program. But there’s more. However, if you click on the active link from the search engine you’re taken to the limited public view.
Go to the advanced search screen within LinkedIn. (The link is on the right side of the search box.) Enter the first and last name and the company or keywords that you found in the limited or cached profile. Select the name link and view the full profile. In my example, the full current one includes the “Recommendations” section, which wasn’t in the cached version.
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Finding a social network presence is more a matter of technique applied than the “best” aggregator used. Spokeo.com sweeps many sites to find profiles but these are only the public profiles and not all of those are returned. Even if you know the user’s email address it may not get you to the sites where your person has a presence. You may have to go directly to the social network to identify the profiles that are not searchable through another application or search engine. Other obstacles present themselves: full names are not listed or the social network blocks search engine indexing. Even within the Facebook search feature, users can specify whether they want their profiles to be found.
What’s a private investigator to do?
- Familarize yourself with their search features (see “Search”)
- Search by former email addresses and “handles” they’ve used, which could be prefixes to common web-based email, and combine with various popular sites (i.e. gmail.com)
- Enter the email addresses into the Google search box in quotation marks.
- There are lots of ways to search names through the common search engines: combine them with business names, known locations, personal interests, associates and relevant events. Here’s one example:
- Try less common search engines:
Pipl.com returns a lot of “sponsored” results (advertising) – which direct you to fee-based sites. But it does search some free sites — RateMyProfessors.com is one — that Spokeo doesn’t.
I found Yasni.com better at directing me to the correct Facebook profile, but not more so than going directly through the Facebook search engine. It also searches Amazon Wish Lists and Google Blogs.
Vary your name searches in the Facebook.com search engine: switch first and last names, search with and without limiting it to location or education and add middle or alternative names. Women will also combine former married names or birth names with a current last name. The indirect approach is sometimes more effective: look up the names of your person’s friends, family and colleagues.
The social media site Tagged.com lists first name and last name initial in the name search results, even if you’ve entered the full name.
You might be able to confirm the full name at another site. (Did you notice that we snagged a photo at the Tagged site but one wasn’t in the Facebook profile?)
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Yet another social media feature has recently been added to Facebook. Is it just a tool to categorize people and pages you want to follow into discrete news streams, or is there an investigative value? You can see examples of how journalists are using the Facebook feature “interest lists.” If you’ve used Tweetdeck to create subject lists that organize those tweeters you’re following, you get the idea. Although, unlike Twitter, you can’t collect posts for your news feed based on keywords. The Facebook interest lists function is more similar to Google+ Circles in the number of characters permitted but Google+ Circles does a better job finding posts based on keyword.
Search a Facebook list by title — or create your own list — but not by other criteria. There are few lists at this point and the search mechanism to find them is limited and quirky, and even more so than Facebook’s notoriously bad search engine for profiles. Initially, a list you create can be populated with posts by people who are your “friends” and by pages. It appears as a list on your Facebook page that you view separately from your news stream.
Select a list and you’ll be taken to a page of aggregated status updates from the profiles and pages added by the list creator — presumably on the theme of the list title. I’ve started one of privacy and open government organizations.
You can see the list creator, go to their Facebook profile and, if public, see their other lists and one’s they’ve subscribed to. Select “Subscriptions” in the panel just below their Timeline cover photo.
View lists you’ve subscribed to as a stream, separate from the one of your friends. You can see the other subscribers to an interest list, just as they can see you.
You can only search for and add lists while using Facebook in your personal profile. Initially, you can populate lists you create from your friends and pages you’ve liked. As you stumble upon other pages or people you want to add to one of your interest lists, select “Add to Interest Lists” on the drop down arrow in the message box below the Timeline cover photo. Your list can be private or public.
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School alumni directories verify place of attendance, but so much more. They can launch your search to find where someone works, for example. And you know that’s a challenge with a common name.
The alumni sites are designed for use by alumni, not snoops, so there are usually a few obstacles. Just think as if you are that person and you’ll get through many of these. Often the sites verify past attendance, year of graduation and field of study. The field of study may provide employment cues. In this case, our student’s area of emphasis was “Internet engineering” — so he’s likely working (or in this economy, may someday be working) in the Internet technology area.
Head over to Facebook to advance your resume building. Facebook participants sometimes have more than one profile — maybe a personal one and a work one. In this case, I found the subject’s personal Facebook profile first. He listed a company in the Facebook people search but not on the public portion of his profile page. His “friends” list was private.
Then I searched by name and workplace and discovered his work Facebook profile. He kindly provided a different photo of himself here.
He listed “friends” and interests on the work site. I reviewed his “friends” list and went to their profile pages. Once there, I searched the subject’s name and found that some were friends on his personal site, too.
Maybe those people are more significant than other Facebook friends.
All of these discoveries — friends, interests, education — build the profile and help you tailor your Google searches.