A few weeks ago, we wrote about maximizing your training experience. Part of that discussion covered the need for individuals to look for free sources of information. When you are looking to expand or narrow the scope of your open source Internet-based intelligence and investigations solutions, there are three main open sources you can use to help you make those decisions: social media content, blogs and news sources, and research.
Social Media Content
As social media content has become an integral part of online research, it becomes increasingly important to stay abreast of social media trends. One quick way to identify new sources of information is to look in content feeds. Many social media sites and applications connect with one another to push and pull data. As an example, we can use a Twitter feed. On Twitter, many people push Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr, and Vine posts into their Twitter feeds. By watching these sources of information, you can easily identify new social media sites to incorporate into your investigations.
Blogs and News Sources
Often, blog and news-based content are some of the first places to see emerging trends in social media use. The best way to organize the influx of data is to be selective about the sources you use and to use an RSS reader like Feedly. Feedly allows users to subscribe to any written source with an RSS feed and to organize these sources into categories. When building out your reader, adding investigation, intelligence, and technology sources are greatly beneficial to keeping abreast of emerging trends. This information will not only help you identify new sources of information, it will also help you understand which types of individuals are using the technology and how they are using it.
Similar to blogs and news sites, many research entities discuss the changes in the social media landscape. A major issue is that most research is scholarly in nature and costs money to access. However, there are two free research sources that provide excellent data: Pew Research Center and Nielsen. Both organizations study changes in technology usage and social media trends and release reports on a routine basis. You can even add their RSS feeds to your RSS reader. By keeping up with their findings, you can stay on pace with changes in society at large.
In the dynamic social media environment, investigators and analysts cannot afford to fall behind. By using these three sources, you can easily cultivate basic knowledge of the changing social media landscape. This allows you to update your practices, improve research and analysis, and add value for clients.