Missing boy found with help from Twitter

July 19 2010

Anyone still in two minds about the power of social media? There’s been an incredible example Twitter goodness in Brighton/Worthing tonight.

Local artist, Dan Thompson, asked followers to look for 13-year-old Aaron, who’d been missing since yesterday evening. He posted a description and a photograph from Twitpic.

Dan’s a popular character, with hundreds of followers in the area, and asked Worthing residents to “have one last check of alleyways, back gardens, nearby parks” for Aaron as the sun went down around 9pm. Over the next couple of hours, people updated him with sightings of Aaron, narrowing down his location to Vale Road in Portslade, near where he was found by Dan’s wife.

The police had known that Aaron was missing for 24 hours, but two beat bobbies questioned weren’t aware of any search or circulated description. Unlike the police, Tweeters were actively seeking Aaron, walking, driving and cycling the streets to help find him.

Makes me think there’s an opening for a Foursquare/Ushahidi type app specifcally tailored for this kind of appeal.

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