Social media has completely revolutionized the way we interact with one another. Today long lost relatives can be found with a few clicks and you can stay close to friends even when they move across the country. On the other hand, social media has led to a lot of problems, from the deluge of fake news to the fact that a lot of unsavory characters are also on the very same platforms that you are on. Below we will look at how to find relatives using social media, as well as finding friends and other people. Another benefit of Social Media is you can research other people you know and avoid the shady ones/
Learning how to find relatives will be easier than you think with Social Media. The number of people using social media is almost mind boggling. On Facebook alone there are now more than 2 billion active monthly users (plus many more who have a Facebook account that they don’t keep on top of). That means that if you are looking for somebody from your past, there is a very good chance that they will be on social media, especially Facebook. In fact, by performing a simple Facebook search of a person’s name, such as an old high school friend, you can immediately connect with them.
Of course, because there are so many social media users, your initial search may come back with lots of different results with the same name (especially if it is a common name). Due to Facebook’s tightening of its privacy settings in recent years, it has become a bit harder to hone in on the particular individual you are looking for, but certainly not impossible. You can narrow your search using a couple of filters, such as by hometown, current city, place of work, and former schools and colleges.
Social media has also become a great way for reconnecting with your family’s past in a number of ways. For one, you will find a number of Facebook groups dedicated to certain family names. So if your last name is, say, “Johnson” then there is likely a Facebook group that is open only to those in the Johnson family, which would allow you to share photos, public records, and other useful information. By doing so, you can better use Facebook and other social media platforms to help build your family tree. In this way social media becomes a complementary tool to more traditional forms of genealogical research, such as going to your local courthouse or library and digging through public records.
Social media is useful with reconnecting with your relatives also through the fact that you can simply search for relatives through each social media platform’s search feature. As with looking for a former classmate, you can simply use whatever information you know about your long lost relative, like their former school or place of work, and then see what results you get.
While social media is an amazing tool that allows you to easily connect with distant relatives and friends from your younger days, you need to be aware that there are a lot of unsavory characters who also use social media–and they are more than willing to prey on the innocent or overly trusting. In fact, you may not be aware, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down a law that banned sex offenders from using social media. In effect, that means that sex offenders have a free speech right to use social media and that’s why you should be very careful about who you interact with online.
While many social media platforms have recently increased their security protocols, there are still plenty of ways to get around them, meaning that you would be wise to double check the background of anybody online that you don’t know in real life. Even somebody who is claiming to be your long lost third cousin could really just be using that story to gain your trust. With a simple Google search you can uncover a lot of information about a person that may otherwise not be available on their social media profile. Likewise, you can look through public records by using a third-party database, such as SearchQuarry.com, to find out if that person has a criminal background.
Social media is a powerful tool that has brought the world closer together. While sites like Facebook are an invaluable way of reconnecting to distant relatives and friends, they also attract criminals and shady characters. Make sure you are know who you are talking to and take steps to protect yourself and your family when online.