Real-Life Social Media Success Stories & The Value of Researching Social Media Profiles

February 26, 2007 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media

Internet search engines and social networking sites are enabling companies to do their “due diligence” on prospective employees more extensively than ever before.  According to an article I read this morning, Google (and other big companies) are researching prospective recruits by investigating their on-line presence on social networking sites.  But, businesses aren’t the only ones benefiting from the research made possible by on-line social networking sites.  Real people are using social media to their advantage by researching prospective friends, significant others, and even criminals.  With that in mind, I thought you might like the following two real-life social media “research” success stories… I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

A good friend of a friend (“FoaF”) was held-up at gunpoint last month just one block from his house in the Mission / Noe Valley area of San Francisco (AKA: “Baja Noe”). The robber stole his wallet and briefcase, which had his laptop and business cards inside.  Three days after the incident, he got a phone call from a woman who claimed to have his laptop… She said that she was calling from “Microsoft XP” (hilarious) and needed the log-on password to verify that the laptop was his (even more hilarious).  When he said that he wouldn’t give the password out over the phone, the woman on the phone proposed that he email it to her, and she gave him her Yahoo email address (most hilarious!).

From her email address, FoaF was able to guess her MySpace ID.  He looked her up and discovered her full MySpace profile including (gasp) a photo!  He also found that she was linked to a “friend” who FoaF recognized as the man who robbed him.  Best of all, the robber had a photo of his gun on his web page!).  FoaF gave all this info to the police and they recovered the laptop last week.  The woman who the police recovered his laptop from alleged that she bought it from “someone she didn’t know.”  Unsurprisingly, they don’t fully believe her story.

A group of tech-savvy friends and I recently “saved” a less-tech savvy friend (I’ll call her “Jane”) from a second date with “Jack,” a blind date she was introduced to by an equally non-tech-savvy acquaintance.  Jane went on the first blind date and was captivated enough by Jack’s superficial charm and wit long enough to consider a second date.  Prospects were good for Jack (who is apparently very smooth/sociable in person, once held a senior managerial position at Merrill Lynch and is now an accomplished management consultant) until our “Google Intervention,” which uncovered his personal blog.  Jack’s blog chronicled his last 18 years of “sex-ploits” (including shallow ‘apologies’ to women he claims to have raped in college), on-going misogynistic views about “chicks”, and less than savory (ahem) medical history.  It was so graphic that it made Tucker Max‘s blog read like a children’s bedtime story.  Everyone involved (except maybe Jack) agrees that Jane was lucky to have emerged from her date with Jack unscathed and that date number two never materialized.

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  • [this is good]

    I've been fortunate in having long-lost relatives track me down through Google. Nothing more “untoward” than that, but I have no deep dark secrets to hide out there, either. I think maybe the worst thing anyone is going to dig up on me out there is that I'm (gasp!) human.

    ::thinks about that for a minute and rushes off to delete all traces of herself online::

    That just won't do. 😉

    I love the cyber-sleuthing stories. I do that for friends. It's kind of amazing what people WILL put out there for all the world to see, isn't it?

  • Anonymous

    We engaged in some small talk after he bought me a drink. I could not believe that my blind date uncensored was so handsome and that I was on a blind date.

  • TimoteoManna

    We engaged in some small talk after he bought me a drink. I could not believe that my blind date uncensored was so handsome and that I was on a blind date.






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