Facebook helps tornado victims find lost items

Page links strangers trying to return found photos, documents ripped away by tornadoes

A graduation announcement. A page torn from a calendar, noting a father's birthday. Tattered pictures of children. An ultrasound image of an unborn baby.

These are just some of the documents that people have found after a devastating round of tornadoes ripped through parts of the south this week, killing 300 people. And many people have taken to Facebook to try to find the rightful owners of what could be precious photos and documents.

A Facebook page has been created to help strangers try to return found items to their owners. As of 3:30 p.m. ET Friday, nearly 48,300 people had "liked" the page and many had already posted images of items they've found.

One woman posted a message on the page, saying, "So many people have lost so much... to gain back even 1 pic or document is a miracle!"

"The thing about social media is that it is just a capability, something that people will invent ways to use," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Both Facebook and Twitter are non-intrusive broadcast media. You can shout your find, or your loss, from the rooftops, but no one has to listen unless and until they want to."

This isn't the first time that people have turned to social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, in the aftermath of tragedies. Just last month, countless users in Japan and around the world took to Twitter and Facebook to reach out to loved ones after a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the country on March. 11.

For example, an hour after the quake hit Japan, Online Social Media, which tracks social media services, reported that Twitter was experiencing 1,200 tweets posted every minute. For most of that day, eight or nine of Twitter's top 10 Trending were directly related to the earthquake and tsunami.

The social networking sites also became lifelines for people during the massive earthquakes in Chili and in Haiti last year.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

Tags disaster recoveryapplicationstwitterBusiness ContinuitysoftwareWeb 2.0 and Web AppsinternetFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?