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Finding and Backgrounding Sources Using Social Media


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Tools and tactics for searching social networks to find experts and investigate sources. Presented August 2013 at the Summer School for Investigative Reporting at SSE Riga, Latvia.

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Finding and Backgrounding Sources Using Social Media

  1. 1. Pros:   •  More  than  1  billion  ac/ve  users  worldwide   •  Crosses  all  demographic  lines  in  most  countries   •  Mobile-­‐heavy  audience     Cons:   •  Users  are  wary  of  people  they  don’t  know   •  Due  to  varying  user  se@ngs,  some  informa/on  is  not  available   •  OpenGraph  search  isn’t  available  to  all  yet  
  2. 2. Use  Case  #1:  Ge@ng  the  basic  info   and  image  on  a  named  source  
  3. 3. Pay  to  Message:  It’s  Worth  It  
  4. 4. Use  Case  #2:  See  who  I  know  close  to   a  story  or  in  a  loca/on  
  5. 5. Use  Case  #3:  Search  by  jobs,  loca/ons,   hobbies,  any  of  Facebook’s  input  data   sets  
  6. 6. Interest  lists  –  monitor  public  figures,   companies,  poli/cians,  brands   Friend  lists  –  arrange  contacts  into  groups  to   make  browsing  and  pos/ng  easier  
  7. 7. Pros:   •  More  than  238  million  members  in  200  countries   •  65%  located  outside  the  U.S.   •  Mul/-­‐language  support   Cons:   •  S/ll  gaining  use  in  some  industries  and  na/ons   •  Some  features  only  available  with  premium   memberships  
  8. 8. •  LinkedIn  for  Journalists  –  join  the  group.   •  Premium  service:  free  for  journalists  who  do  a   35-­‐minute  webinar.     •  Keep  your  profile  current  and  robust  so   poten/al  sources  can  find  you.  
  9. 9. Use  Case  #1:  Get  background  on  a   specific  person  
  10. 10. Use  Case  #2:  Find  a  source  with  a   par/cular  background  or  skill  set  
  11. 11. Use  Case  #3:  Search  for  a  source  at  a   par/cular  company  
  12. 12. Use  Case  #4:  Follow  companies’  and   governments  news     Also:  Set  up  email  alerts  on  searches    
  13. 13. Pros:   •  More  than  288  million  ac/ve  users  worldwide   •  Used  widely  for  big  stories,  movements   •  Mul/-­‐language  support   •  Lots  of  third-­‐party  tools   Cons:   •  S/ll  gaining  use  in  some  industries  and  na/ons   •  40%  of  users  use  it  to  read  only   •  Can  be  very  noisy  
  14. 14. •  Search  by  keywords,  loca/on,  /me  
  15. 15. •  Organize  users  into   useful  groups   •  Watch  companies  and   sources   •  Read  only  what  you   need  
  16. 16.  
  17. 17. Hachi  
  18. 18. * Try Identify in Firefox, Falcon for Chrome
  19. 19. Mandy Jenkins @mjenkins These slides & more at