We have all heard of the usual ways to find information through social media but quite often, we end up missing the obvious. There are more websites out there now that use a public platform than ever before. The days of standing on a milk crate with a megaphone in a local town speaker’s corner are far behind us, being replaced with millions of active appendages.
We are all witness to the celebrity feuds that evolve through Twitter causing more PR nightmares than a substance abusing Mayor (arguable I suppose). The goal with Twitter is to gain as many followers as possible and have an influential voice with all the superfluous thoughts that filter through busy thumbs. As a result, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone declining a potential smart phone screen to fill. The same rings true with many other sites that have arose throughout the past few years. One may never think that the website Pinterest could assist in an investigation; they would be wrong. Pinterest is a billion dollar idea that allows people to share crafty ideas such as innovative recipes, inexpensive décor tips no matter how big or small, even remote undiscovered recreation spots. Utilized in an investigative manor, the best recipe that can be provided is the plain old breadcrumb that can begin or connect a trail leading to further activity. This website is much more than the Martha Stewart of Facebook and quite often can alert those looking in on upcoming events.
Well I’m going to suggest another route to take where data mining has proven successful on many occasions; the all too archaic organized club sites.
Recently we conducted an initial social media investigation on a subject that was becoming quite a hindrance for a client. This particular subject had also become evasive and sporadic at best in co-operation with the initial investigation causing immediate red flags. After some data mining we hit pay dirt when we found that the subject was an active member in a roller derby league under an alias that would make a pro wrestler jealous. We were not only able to retrieve a schedule of the upcoming bouts (as they are called) but we could also pull up her very own league profile complete with a recent picture and persona. She apparently had a reputation for being quite aggressive and terms like ‘hip-whip, rink rash, and back block were not used sparingly when others described her.
The investigator was sent to the next upcoming match to join the subcultural popular sport for a productive evening of filming. It didn’t take long to realize that the leg injury sustained in the claim had clearly been replaced with bionics as our subject was a bonafide star complete with her own cheering section. Continuity is always a concern in surveillance of any kind and even after a 2-hour night of ‘t-stops, toe-stops and tripping’ we had to be certain the evidence would be convincing enough to prove that this was no magical one-time game. After looking further into her sporting statistics, we were able to prove that this roller girl was the Cal Ripken of this world and hadn’t missed a game all season.
The video evidence along with the social media gathered was certainly going to turn this derby dynamo into a cornered kitten.