Missing Persons and Social Media

It’s clear I’m into all this social media malarky (regardless of whether I am actually successful at it).  I’ve been sceptical about many tweets/posts about child cancer ‘victims’ whose only desire is to become a trending topic (firstly, surely their top desire is to become better/live as full a life as is still possible whilst they can; secondly, do they really understand what a trending topic is?).  However, this weekend, I have had a slightly closer connection to a use of social media to generate news of an appeal.

Chris Aubrey (AKA ‘Licken’) has been missing from Hinckley, Leicestershire since the early hours of Friday.  At this point in time (14.30 Sunday 24 June 2012) he has yet to be found.  Therefore, just in the hope of assisting, here’s what he looks like:

Chris Aubrey - Missing

I don’t know Chris, but a Facebook friend of mine posted that he was missing and I witnessed him becoming increasingly frantic as time marched on.  I could then see people share this information.  Someone then posted it to Twitter, it was picked up by a local journalist at BBC Leicester and it was retweeted.  A Facebook event has been set up to organise the search party and updates have been posted to it.  It’s now made it to more local media outlets.

None of this guarantees that Chris will be found, but arguably, the use of social media has helped get the story into the local news, and raise awareness – critical when finding a missing person.  Posting where people have searched is an innovative way of ‘crossing off’ a list of possible areas to look.

Whilst I still won’t retweet just to fulfil someone’s bucket list, I do now believe that passing on the electronic version of a leaflet can be a positive action when many people are starting to despair.

Please feel free to share this post or the official Leicestershire Constabulary link.

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