A couple of years ago, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year edition showcased a reflective cellophane sheet on the cover. The headline read: “You. Yes, You. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.” This was back in 2007, when social networking sites and community-sharing portals like YouTube started growing in popularity.
Since then, the Web has become increasingly people-centered, with the focus shifting to the average user, their interests, hobbies, and most importantly, connections with other people.
It seems fairly obvious what the main point of the Spokeo People Search Engine is – to use the awesome power of the World Wide Web to locate information on anyone, anywhere. Instead of wading through the information yourself, Spokeo lets you harness this remarkable “people-power,” or this huge collection of information provided by users for users to do the hard work for you.
Beyond the idea of people search there’s a whole realm of uses that Spokeo can be used for. From the amateur geologist using the site’s built-in “detective work” to access public and private records to help reconstruct families, to the parent who can easily monitor their child’s online activity, Spokeo fills a unique niche in the new people-centered web.
Here are a few more ways to use Spokeo:
- If you find lost items, like keys, a wallet, a purse, a gym pass, a water bottle, a Harry Potter novel, search it for a name. Using some detective work to imagine that the person who dropped that awesome Harry Potter novel might live in the same state, or even the same city, where it was found, use Spokeo’s easy geo-grouping algorithm to locate their phone or email address, get in touch, and collect your good karma for the day. (Of course this is only helpful if you include some identifying information on your belongings in case they get lost, so some good Samaritan can help you get it back!)
- Save the environment! Printed White and Yellow pages consume enormous amounts of paper and millions of Americans receive them each year without ever using them. By stopping your Yellow Pages subscription and using Spokeo’s online search engine instead you can significantly reduce your ecological footprint. No more paper waste! No more squinting to read tiny printed listings! Every little bit counts so make sure you can do your part.
- Run an email search for the contact you met on Craigslist who you will meet later tonight for a couch sale. Finding out that he listens to Madonna might be a nice talking point. But more seriously, running checks on people you will be meeting for the first time is not only a good way to break the ice but it’s a great way to check out to see if they’re legitimate sellers and not scammers.
What are some other uses of Spokeo that you can imagine? If you have a story to share, post a comment, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The best story I read will receive a special gift in the mail. Yes, hedgehogs are involved, and yes, it will be both fun and useful!
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