How to Be an Internet Detective

Full bookshelf.jpg

The Internet is vast, sprawling and overloaded with content, and it can often prove challenging to track down the information you're looking for. Because of this, pretty much anyone who uses the Internet regularly has had to become some level of Internet detective out of necessity. Luckily there are ways of making the Internet detective's job easier and it all depends on asking the right questions.

  • Access to Internet

1 How to Be an Internet Detective

2 Use the Internet as a tool

Use the Internet as a tool. Used at its best, the Internet is one of the fastest and most efficient ways of tracking down information, which is what Internet detectives do. But, like a deceptive criminal or especially tough case, the Internet can also be confusing and misleading.

3 Pay attention to what matters

Pay attention to what matters. In sifting out what matters and what doesn't on the Internet you'll need to continuously ask yourself questions about what you're looking for along the way. It's especially important to make sure the source of the information you're getting is valid. Many Internet hoaxes and scams can result in valuable time being wasted pursuing false leads.

4 Ask yourself these questions

Ask yourself these questions (when they apply): Are the aims of the site clear? Can the information be checked? Is it clear who has written the information? Is the site relevant to my aims? When investigating something on the Internet, each case will be different but it helps to keep a similar approach each time. Along with the questions above it's a good idea to question: who? (the source of the information), what? (the content of the information) and where? (the location of the information).

5 Be thorough and persistent

Be thorough and persistent. Putting in a little extra effort can often pay off in Internet investigations. To be an Internet detective you have to sift through a lot of information and consider everything from site URLs to links to the credibility of the information.

6 Hire a professional Internet detective

Hire a professional Internet detective if you reach a dead end. If you are searching for some very important information that you can't get by without, you might want to consider hiring a professional to help you out. There are a number of Internet detectives for hire, and often times they even have specialties such as identity crawler, background searcher and records registry.

Ariel Phillips is an editor and writer living in Portland, Ore. He has written for "n+1 Journal" and "The Rumpus Magazine," among others. He maintains an interest in a variety of subjects, including art, culture, the environment, media, the sciences and sports. He earned bachelor's degrees in art and philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara.