Social media is your connection gateway. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest make staying in touch simple. While keeping connected is easy thanks to social media, some can and do “get lost” among the billions of users in the jungle of posts, tweets and pins.
What do you do if you’re searching for a loved one, a forgotten friend or an old acquaintance and the search results are too broad? There are a few free methods for looking people up on social media.
Try the following techniques to locate a person online, and tap or click here to add Kim as a friend.
How does one “get lost” on social media?
You may find it challenging to find someone on social media due to a variety of reasons. Maybe (s)he doesn’t want a huge social media presence and is hiding behind a nickname or false name.
It may be that the person you’re seeking has a common name, which can return a considerable number of search results. It’s also possible the person changed their name. Sometimes people just want to keep their personal data private, so finding them becomes a million times more difficult. If you also want to hide your data, tap or click here.
1. Start at the beginning
A Facebook search is one of the best places to start looking for someone online. Although you should search each of the different platforms, begin with Facebook as it’s the world’s largest social networking site. This considerably improves your odds of finding people.
You can search for someone using various filters, just type the person’s name in the search bar, then click on the People tab. Once the search results appear, tap See All.
From this list, you’re able to choose to filter the results by Friends of Friends, City, Education and Work. To help refine your search, pick a combination of filters.
2. A friend of a friend
If you believe you and the person you are searching for have a friend in common, click on that Friend’s tab to view a list of their friends.
In addition, you can search the People You May Know page, which can be found on the Find Friends page. There is also a setting to turn on suggestions for People You May Know in your News Feed and notifications.
Log into Facebook and click on Settings from the drop-down arrow beside the question mark icon at the top of the page. Open the Notifications page from the left panel and open the drop-down menu for People You May Know. From here, you can decide whether you want these notifications and whether you receive push notifications, emails or SMS messages.
If you don’t want to use this option, when you log into Facebook, look at the top panel and tap on the button next to Create that looks like two people. This will show you your friend requests and will also share a list of People You May Know, based on the number of friends you have in common.
3. A web address may be the key
Another search technique is to use a person’s name at the end of social media sites.
For example, https://www.facebook.com/kimkomando.
People often use the same username across social media, which is the case for our very own Kim Komando. Add “kimkomando” to other social media addresses, and you’ll see Kim has an account on each platform with the same username:
4. Reverse that
One final option for Facebook is to perform a reverse phone number lookup simply by typing their phone number into the search bar.
While it’s not common for someone to share their phone number within a Facebook post, this method may prove helpful because people often connect their phone number for verification purposes. One security feature Facebook provides is to send a text message to users when their account is accessed from unfamiliar locations or devices.
If you happen to have a person’s number, but can’t find them on social media, this is a great option.
5. Give Google a go
What if you know very little about the person you’re looking for? While it may seem your search has ended before it had a chance to begin, remember Google is a powerful tool that can make your search easier. Type in details like their name or username along with keywords related to location, marital status or occupation to refine the results.
Did your name and keyword search result in an enormous amount of information, or did it fail to return any findings? You can give Google another try by doing an image search.
Start at images.google.com and enter the person’s name. Like your original Google search, you can help narrow down the results by including additional information such as where the person lives or works.
Scroll through the images. Once you find their picture, click on it to visit its linked social media page.
6. Try PeekYou
If you’re still having trouble locating someone, it’s time to try dedicated people search sites. These search engines are helpful in cases where you don’t know the person’s name, or if (s)he doesn’t use social media.
Although most sites charge for detailed information, PeekYou is a free people search site that collects and combines publicly available content from social media sites, homepages, blogs and news sources. With this information, the site determines a person’s online identity.
While these techniques should help you locate a person online, there are no guarantees. Keep refining your searches with as much applicable information as possible and hopefully you’ll find the person you’re looking for.