In Social Media Investigations, Scalability is Key

With billions of individuals using social media, collecting social media data has become an integral element in the discovery process. As such, social media analyses must be both consistent and repeatable. They also need the ability to scale their discovery work depending on the case. However, it can be difficult to scale when a firm has a single person or a small team of two or three people conducting these evaluations. Evidence can be missed or mishandled or the timeframe for collecting evidence can be too short. Assigning this essential task to an outside firm specializing in social media evidence collection ensures an effective and consistent data collection and analysis process, allowing your firm’s legal team to focus on the practice of law.

Time Constraints

When done right, online discovery can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. Assigning this task to a single attorney, paralegal, support staff member – or even a small team – often means pulling individuals away from other essential duties. While this strategy may be feasible for the short term, it is hardly sustainable as an ongoing practice. Collecting digital evidence for a case could represent a single task among what is often a long list of duties for a staff member who may already wear multiple hats. These time constraints often harm social media evidence collection.


It can be impractical to assign a dedicated individual or team of individuals to conduct social media discovery and analysis. As a result, it is almost impossible to ensure that data is collected and analyzed consistently using standardized procedures. A significant hazard associated with inconsistent social media collection during the discovery process is inadvertent failure to adhere to legal ethics rules, resulting in crucial evidence being ruled inadmissible in court or, in extreme instances, having a case dismissed.

Excessive Workload

Large firms often have a significant advantage in the marketplace simply because of their size. They can specialize in multiple legal practice areas, with dedicated teams of attorneys and paralegals who focus specifically on a single area of law. On the other hand, smaller firms can often take a more personal approach to cases, which appeals to many public segments, even if they cannot match larger firms in personnel.

That said, the reality is that no matter the firm’s size, the task of social media background research for discovery may fall to a single attorney or paralegal – along with a list of additional duties. While this individual may be highly skilled – there is only so much work that one person can do. What happens when a firm needs to scale up its digital evidence collection operations but cannot hire additional staff to handle the increased workload?

Achieving Scalability

Achieving scalability in online research and data collection during the discovery process is increasingly essential in today’s legal environment. Assigning the critical task of social media research to a single individual, or even a small team of in-house professionals, is often insufficient to ensure consistency.

Employing the services of a third-party specialist in online and social media research allows firms of all sizes to operate on an even playing field, enabling the quick scaling of digital evidence collection as needed. SMI Aware has proprietary technology capable of executing sophisticated digital forensics to handle high-volume discovery and analysis. Our independent in-house analysts use their expertise and our proprietary software to perform thorough data collection and analysis to provide consistent, accurate results. The SMI Aware application controls the search and collection process, so you can be assured that each report is generated to the same standard of quality.

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