There is a lot of “buzz” now about Web 2.0 sites being the top “go-to” places on the internet. Web 2.0 can best be described as the “social and collaborative web”, where people do social networking on MySpace; blogging; wiki building on WikiPedia or sharing videos on YouTube.
However, there is a new and unique way of looking at Web 2.0 from an investigative, skip tracing and public record research point of view. Let’s face it, as more people blog, network and share information online, the amount of personal data being published on the internet is astounding. This makes free people search and public information research easier for the PI, skip tracer, public record researcher, legal and law enforcement professional, as well as everyday people who want to find past coworkers, friends, military buddies etc.
For anyone wanting to conduct a free people search or public record information search in the Web 2.0 world, here are some great starting points:
1. Blog Searches – Search blogs for real names as well as nicknames or known user id’s for the person you are looking for or researching. Some of the better blog search engines include Technorati.com, IceRocket.com and blogsearch.google.com.
2. Social Networking Sites – The amount of personal information, including school information, work history, residential information etc. that people post on these sites is growing at an amazing rate. You should try your people searches on some of the more popular social networking sites like MySpace.com, FaceBook.com (school email address required for registration), Friendster.com or Xanga.com.
3. Photo & Video Sharing Sites – Try searching for people’s names, nicknames or user id’s on photo and video sharing sites like Flickr.com, YouTube.com or photo recognition site Riya.com.
4. Jobs & Classified Search Sites – People post a wealth of personal information online in the form of resumes. You can search classified sites like Craigslist.com or Edgeio.com in addition to some of the top job search sites like Monster.com.
5. Social Mapping Sites – Flickr.com has recently added geo tagging to its photo sharing site, so users can match photos with map locations that can be searched by other users. Eventually, social mapping sites will contain millions upon millions of personal pictures (many of people) that will be geo coded or tagged so people will be able search photos with keywords and pinpoint the resulting pictures with a map location. No doubt, many of these photos will be tagged with real names and nicknames of friends and family, making visual people searching on maps very likely in the near future.
These are just some of the many ways Web 2.0 will make the world of people searches and public information research smaller and smaller. Good luck with your searches.