Lost and found: The power of social media

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Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lets have a positive post about social media for a Friday morning 🙂

A few days ago I shared another missing dog photo on Facebook, and this got me thinking about the power of social media. Within minutes over 300 users had shared the lost dog’s photo with their friends, not doubt many of those friends then shared it with all of their friends, and so the number snowballs…

If 300 people share a photo with 100 friends (that’s already 30000 users), and only 50% of those then share it with their 100 friends, that is 1500000 users who have seen that photo already and the number continues to snowball.. is it just me or is that pretty amazing?

If you think of the coverage that a lost dog would usually receive, social media is improving upon this substantially! Missing dogs are often publicised using posters around the area where the dog went missing, e.g., stuck on lamp-posts. However, this method is costly and slow to implement, has limited scope in terms of the range of people and breadth of area targeted (what if the dog has been stolen or has somehow traveled elsewhere?) and simply does not reach the audience that the same photograph would reach on social media. Posters are also a time limited resource, not only in terms of requiring the owners time to print and post them around the area, but also one day of heavy rain and the owners efforts could all be ruined – if they choose to do it all over again this costs extra time and money – both of which could be better used in the search for their dog.

Alternatively the dog may be listed on a missing dogs website, however how many people routinely check a missing dog website on a daily basis (probably only people who are missing their dog) and how many check social media every day, often several times per day? Exactly!

Social media news also spreads nationally, sometimes even internationally. Looking at the comments on the current missing dog’s photo, hundreds of users have written comments such as “shared in Newcastle”, “shared in London”, “shared in Cornwall” etc. This means that the photo has been shared across almost everywhere you can think of in the UK, this is a priceless resource to have when you are searching for your missing pet!

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to missing pets, social media is often utilised to spread the word about missing people and the same principle applies there. You are reaching a willing audience, quickly and effectively AND through a service which provides an easy method of contact if anyone has any information.

You might be wondering whether these posts are ever successful, well they are! Just less than a fortnight ago I shared a photo of a different missing dog – an elderly, deaf and almost blind Jack Russell – and within 24 hours he was safely reunited with his worried owner through the power of social media! I for one certainly looked out for that little dog while he was missing and I was one of many hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were absolutely delighted to hear he had been found.

How’s that for a feel good story on a Friday? 🙂

On a less positive note, the dog I recently shared on Facebook is still missing – presumed stolen – and I thought I would take this opportunity to practice what I preach and share her photo here. There is a £10,000 reward for this dog who has been missing for a long time now, so please keep your eyes open and your fingers crossed for her heartbroken owner. Perhaps you will even share her photo on your social media accounts? Her owner’s Facebook page can be found here.

Let’s hope Angel becomes another social media success story…

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9 responses to “Lost and found: The power of social media

  1. Great post Dawn 🙂 Social media is a very powerful tool and can be most effective. It erks me when some complain about it being an invasion of privacy and a playground for spammers! They must attract the wrong crowd 🙂
    Keep the great posts coming Dawn!

    • Thank you Soni 🙂 I feel that social media has a lot of positives and negatives and it is a case of addressing the latter and taking advantage of the former.

      All too often we get caught on the bad things, especially as bad news makes media headlines, but we fail to see all the good that is also coming from social media. It’s not the technology but the way people use it…

      Look forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  2. Dawn,
    More & more I am discovering just what a powerful tool social media can be. The recovery you mentioned, in you post, is a perfect example Thanks for sharing.

  3. I hope they find Angel!
    Social media has been used locally in my area to locate a missing teenager and help get them home.
    It does have its down side as well but it’s good to focus on the positives today

  4. The impact of social media is huge. And for the positives, that a great thing. For the less-than-positives, there are things to handle that, blocking, reporting, etc. So still a good news Friday!

  5. I love the feel good stories about social media. Finding help and funding for things like start up companies or movies also can work. I really hope this helps to find Angel.

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