Saturday, February 11, 2012

Big Brother (and just about everyone else) is Watching You ...

... and tweeting you, and friending you, and sharing you, and hash-tagging you, and doing who-knows-what-else to you. Case in point, the investigation into Thursday's bank robbery in Midland ... and the arrest of a suspect the following day, and how coverage/investigation of that robbery included contibutions through social media.

Here is a report from the Midland Reporter-Telegram, with some mention of the contributions from social media.

And here is a report from KWES-TV, which goes into more detail about those contributions.

The suspect was identified by someone who started spreading the word via comments on the social media, according to reports on the investigation, and searches on the internet located the suspect's own presence on social media ... which helped confirm the allegations in those comments.

George, the proprietor of Sleepless In Midland who knows a thing or two about social media, has shared his belief that law enforcement is making good use of virtual fora such as Facebook. He also notes cases where robbers brag of their misdeeds on their Facebook pages, apparently not realizing just how public those statements are.

We also read of how colleges, employers and landlords are checking prospective students, employees and tenants on the internet - and that includes perusing your social media presence. Periodically, the Twitter feed I receive in my work at Midland College includes admonitions that updating (or cleaning-up) your social media profiles may become every bit as important as your resume, your entrance essay, or the references on your application.

It's the old 'live mic' quandry to the umpteenth power. Just as people would be warned to assume the microphone was ALWAYS on, and the tape was ALWAYS rolling ... maybe today we should always bear in mind that what we post is out there for all to see, and judge, and share (sometimes with a little added spin).

And times change, you grow and move on to other things ... there may come time where you really want to get a new profile photo (one where you're not naked, and sucking on a beer bong), no matter how well it served you in college.

After all, you never know who's watching.


Geo said...


Thanks for the mention. It looks like there was a lot of old fashioned police work involved in solving this case. It would make a good show for a program like "The First 48" for those of us who like that sort of thing.

BTW, I clicked on the KWES link, and if it was working before, it didn't work this time.

Jeff said...

George, you're absolutely right about our local law enforcement ... those are some old dogs that are definitely learning new tricks, and putting them to GOOD use.

And let's not forget that young officers now joining the force are already familiar with the the web, and adept at using it through personal experience.

Also, THANKS for the heads-up on that link. It should work now.