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How To: Find People Online The Social Media Way

The following is a guest post by Ann Smarty. She is an SEO consultant blogging on search engine optimization, search engine news and social media. She is also interested in all kinds of (free) Internet tools and apps and loves to discover new unique ideas.

With the wealth of social networking sites where people can register, specify their interests and find friends that share common hobbies, it is sad to admit that people search is still quite messy. Popular networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn) offer surprisingly limited search abilities: you can only search by name or by location or by company or school.

What if you need to find an expert in your area? In this case you will have to (at least) specify the key term (e.g. area of expertise) and city. Let’s see what tools can be used use to get connected with people based on different types of search options.

Method 1

Take advantage of a social connection and search tool that has its own membership.

Example: PeopleJar

PeopleJar is a start-up project that aims at improving global people search. The service connects people through the networks of interests. The process is simple: you register at the site and join as many relevant networks as you think best describe your personality: profession, hobbies, past experiences, etc. Inside each network you then expand your profile with unique attributes (for filmmaking these can be movie genres, film schools, areas of expertise – e.g. editing, producing, etc).

The search platform gets all these together: you can search by any combination of these attributes, you can create your own search and save it to let the system update you of new members meeting the search criteria. And what’s more, all search options are available without registration.

Let’s try to find makeup artists in New York, NY using the custom search feature: add “Location” and “Network Membership” to cart and push “Build Custom Search” to specify the criteria and get the list of tightly relevant profiles:

Method 2

Use sites aggregating results from several social media networks.


Starting as something like socially enhanced web search, Wink then evolved into a social media profile aggregator and people search tool. It has now the ability to unite and crawl profiles from most popular social networking sites: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The process looks like this: a person signs up with Wink, adds links to his profiles at any (or all) supported social media sites and thus gets into the search index.

You can search the site by name, location and tags (in our case, that’s profession or hobby). The search results will include the profile photo, a few details (gender, age, etc) and links to relevant profiles at external networks – e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, etc:

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