“Mining social networks for stories, sources”

Mark Schaver in his Depth Reporting blog wrote about this on May 22.  Mark is the computer-assisted director at The Courier-Journal.  Go here to read his entire post.  (Scroll down to the May 22 entry.) It’s a worthwhile read.

He writes about the immense variety of social network sites.  They aren’t just for teenagers.  He says that you can find sites devoted to music fans, physicians or people who bake.

He links to some stories that resulted from journalists mining social network sites.  And he gives us some direction on how to go about it.

Finally, he highlights some sites specifically dedicated to finding people.  Here are the sites and what Mark writes about them:


  • Better than white pages, Wink free people search lets you find people at social networks like MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn & Friendster, and other online communities. Includes name search plus location, school, work, interests, and more.

  • yoName

    yoName turns your computer into a private detective. Look for anyone you want. You can even look them up by a username or an email address! If they’re on any of the big-time networks like MySpace or Facebook, yoName will find them. Look up friends, family, ex-es. Look up yourself and see if someone’s impersonating you. Or just have fun and look up celebrities, even if the first five entries for Paris Hilton are all “male, 39, single, in Madison, Wisconsin”.

  • ProfileLinker

    ProfileLinker is an innovative web utility that allows you to link your social network profiles in one central location. You can also get message alerts from your favorite social networks, get updates on your friends, search for users across several networks, get your horoscope, weather, sports news and more.

  • UpScoop

    Import your email address book and discover which of your friends are on social networks…

  • Explode

    Explode is a social search tool that lets you find others online irrespective of which network they are on, as well as those running their own sites and blogs. It is a easy way to make connections, group these connections and interact with them either using your Explode profile or your own space somewhere else.

  • Streakr

    Discover, rate and share common interests with other communities around the world.


Pipl, a people search engine mentioned here a few days ago, also searches social networking sites.

The usual cautions apply: You can’t assume anything you find is true, and you’ll have to find verification elsewhere.


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Filed under Internet, Journalism/Reporting, People, Searching, Story Ideas

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