ICYMI: Social Media has Revolutionized the Gathering, Sharing and Publication of Information both Newsworthy and Non-Newsworthy. The use of social media posts authored by members of the public and casual observers to describe news-as-it-happens is prominent even among traditional media outlets. Social media posts, as we know (I do not want to belabor this), have several uses that range from keeping up with friends and family to keeping up with injuries to players on your favorite sports team. Craig Ferguson (and his robot sidekick Geoff) turned Twitter posts into comedy for the sleep deprived in Ferguson’s regular “Check ze Tweets” segments. While hilarity is most often not involved in any subrogation investigation, you should consider researching social media posts to supplement or kick-start your next investigation.
For example, I was checking ze tweets while waiting for my turn in court the other day and learned within minutes that a fire was ongoing at an in-town institution. Tweets were flying in first from casual observers and second from news outlets that described the location where smoke was first observed at the scene and where people thought the fire started. Many tweets included photographs that would make great trial exhibits and possibly aid the origin and cause investigation team with their efforts.
The uses to which social media posts can be used in your next subrogation investigation include the identification of witnesses, the possible finding of admissions of at-fault parties, the gathering of photographs taken from unique perspectives and vantage points at crucial points in time, the describing of unfolding events and the describing of events that may have occurred right up until the time of a particular occurrence. For example, this person’s tweet suggests that she may have been present at or near the time a fire started:
While this tweet suggests its author was observing the firefighting efforts:
Photographs taken by passersby are a-plenty:
Not to say that incorporating social media research into your next subrogation investigation will unearth that smoking gun, but you’ll never know unless you look for it. Also, you can tell your significant other that you’re working the next time you’re busted for spending too much time with Facebook, your Twitter feed, your Instagram feed, Snapchat . . .