It’s Not Just a Selfie

Every Private Investigator has something they like doing. They might do it better than others, or they might be the only ones doing it. I am a Social Media Intelligence Analyst. I want to show you how that works. This is a photo of me. Just a selfie, right?

It will have a date and time stamp. It might just when it was posted, but it’s worth noting. If I’m looking for the person in the photo, I can see that it’s probably raining. If I’m not sure if she’s living in San Diego or Virginia, the weather would help. I can look up historical data for the weather in both places. Virginia is cold right now. Too cold for just a sweatshirt. Too cold for rain.


I can also see that there are no buildings across the street from wherever she took the photo. If I have a possible address, I can use Google Street View to look around her neighborhood and see if it looks like what’s in the photo.

I can see the interior of her car in the reflection of her glasses. I research cars so I can say, “oh, that’s a Honda.” Now I know what car I’m looking for. Are any of the cars on the street in Google Street View a Honda? If I have a possible address – and the make and model of the car, and that dangly crystal on the rear view mirror – I would know if this car were parked in the driveway. I can see that she has an iPhone and is drinking Starbuck’s, too.

It’s not just a selfie. 

Start looking at photos – yours and those of others – with a critical eye.