Yesterday's peaceful candlelight vigil, held at the University of Virginia and attended by U Va students and members of the local community, was a clear demonstration of the power of social media. Organizers instructed the students and local residents who intended to invite friends to the vigil to use telephone and text only to pass the word along, and to completely avoid any and all social media resources when contacting others to attend.
The reason for this unusual request: should the white supremacists have learned of the event, via their known monitoring of social media, they could have attended, and there were well-founded fears that additional violence might occur. This was a valid concern of organizers, and it substantiates the influence that social media, due to its virtually universal adoption, has over society. Those who ignore it do so at their own peril.
Social media, together with negative news searches, and cloud-based information searches, has become a mandatory component of any effective query, whether it be for anti-money laundering compliance purposes, due diligence checks, or any other business or law enforcement purpose. It provides data that cannot be accessed through any other method, and is fast becoming one of the most important search tools.