Using Social Media to Help Missing Persons
A child goes missing every 40 seconds in the U.S, over 2,100 per day. That’s a large number of kids, of course the numbers can be adjusted based on family abductions, runaways and even with the number of kids that return safely home. But the numbers are alarming anyway and as a parent, that scares me. Today I was reading through my morning Facebook feed and saw a friends update sharing a link to a popular local blog story about a missing teen from the area.
Stephanie Cudd from Pacheco went missing on Nov. 28th and hasn’t been heard from since. First indications from what I read was that she ran away. No telling why but that was the assessment of the site and some of the comments. The strange thing was that no one had heard from her. Her boyfriend and his family who sound like they were very close with Stephanie were the most vocal about her being missing. She could just be a runaway but common sense would say that someone close to her would have come forward by now just to calm the firestorm online.
I don’t know Stephanie Cudd or her family but I saw how troubled they were with her being missing and I felt compelled to do something. I figured social media would be a great way to spread the word about her being missing and generate some support. So I took to Facebook and created a Facebook page.
I made a few posts on Facebook walls of local news stations and then let the community do the rest. I honestly did not expect the reaction to the page to be as great as it has been so far. In a matter of hours we had over hundred fans on the page and they were reposting the missing poster on their Facebook walls. At the time of this post there are 256 fans to the page and growing every minute. We even have people from as far away as Australia spreading the story around.
What I didn’t expect at all was the Trolls that infected the site. Between the time I left the office and when I picked up the little man, there were dozens of inflammatory posts and even some photoshopped images that I wont detail. I know the internet is full of people with bad intent but I had no idea a Facebook page about a missing teenager would be victim.
It took a few minutes but after adding a few admins the page was cleaned up and the people were banned from the page. It’s just a shame that this even has to be done.
Lessons learned. Facebook is a wonderful platform for spreading the word about a missing person but make sure that you have plans in place to deal with trolls.
- Stephanie Cudd has been missing since 11/28/2010. Her family and friends are worried and we need your help to bring her home and let her loved ones know she is alright.
If anyone has any information on her location, they can contact the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department at 925-646-2441, case # 10-21998.
- Website: http://www.findstephaniecudd.com
- Much thanks to everyone who has shared this story on Facebook and in their blogs. I am sure that Stephanie’s family and friends are happy to know there is so much support to find her safe. And Stephanie, if you read this, just let someone know that you are safe.