16 Feb Social Media Unlocks Many Mysteries
Imagine if Sam Spade or Jim Rockford lived in a world with social media.
In Dashiell Hammett’s masterpiece The Maltese Falcon, there’s a famous exchange where Brigid O’Shaughnessy says, “I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.” Spade counters with, “You know, that’s good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we’d never get anywhere.”
In the age of social media, Sam would have done a Google search and discovered her true identity in no time. That would have taken more than a little intrigue away from the story. And would have eliminated the scene where Spade says, “The hell of it, Miss- Is your name Wonderly or Leblanc?” And, in reply, a blushing Brigid murmurs, “It’s really O’Shaughnessy – Brigid O’Shaughnessy.”
With a few clicks of his keyboard, Los Angeles-based PI Jim Rockford – played by James Garner – would have known Angel was up to his usual tricks (anyone who has seen the show knows that Angel would obviously have been all over social media). And what about Jim Rockford’s iconic answering machine? He’d be reading emails and having clients reach out to him on Messenger instead of avoiding the phone. The name of the show might still work, but today’s Rockford Files would be digital not paper.
And, instead of sitting in his gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit, Rockford would have spent the hours in front of his computer screen.
The Rockford Files aired on NBC from September 13, 1974 until January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to the present day. In other words, it went on the air just two years after Pong – considered to be the first commercially successful video game – took the country by storm. The Rockford Files was popular when the pocket calculator was introduced in the mid-70s.
Humphrey Bogart stepped into Sam Spade’s shoes in 1941. According to Wired, that was a year before work on the atomic bomb began. “On June 28, 1941, months before the United States officially entered World War II, President Roosevelt signed executive order 8807, created the Office of Scientific Research and Development,” Wired reports. “This agency was tasked with coordinating American military scientific research, including the secret “S-1 Uranium Committee” that would later evolve into the Manhattan Project.”
While social media may have robbed some of the most enduring – and endearing – detective stories of some of their romance and intrigue, it is proving to be a valuable tool for today’s leading investigators.
“As of 2017, 81 percent of U.S. Americans had a social media profile,” the website Statista.com reports. “In the United States, an estimated 185 million people use social media in 2016, a number forecast to exceed 200 million by 2020. Facebook also leads the U.S. market, accounting for about 44 percent of all social media site visits in the country.”
The numbers are even more astonishing when you look at the global picture. “According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018,” Statista says. “On a global level, the market leader is the American social network Facebook, in fact the first social media platform to surpass 1 billion registered accounts on both its desktop and mobile versions. As of January 2016, Facebook has some 1.5 billion accounts and is followed by Whatsapp and QQ, with 900 million and 860 million users, respectively. The region with the highest penetration of social media use is currently North America, with 59 percent, followed by South America and West Europe.”
All of the numbers add up to one thing – social media has become a valuable source of information for investigators and law enforcement. In fact, in some cases the information obtained by scouring social media has proven to be the key factor in bringing the matter to a successful conclusion. That’s why the dedicated Florida private detectives at BI Group have mastered the skills needed to uncover information on social media – even information that the guilty parties thought had been deleted.
If you are looking for a private investigator in St. Augustine or a Fort Lauderdale private investigator, you can trust the Buchanan Investigation Group – the BI group – to use every tool available to find the answers you are seeking. We are proud members of the Florida Association of Licensed Investigators and the National Council of Investigation & Security Services. When it comes to technology, we are a leader among Florida private investigators.