Social Media Increasingly Aids Hunt for Missing Americans
Sept. 3 should be a happy day for friends of Lisa Stone of Dallas. It’s Stone’s birthday—a day that should be filled with cake and birthday cards and laughter and memories.
Instead, with Stone’s 52nd birthday upon them, friends are searching for her. She’s been missing since June 4.
But rather than let their anguish get the best of them, Stone’s loved ones have held prayer vigils and spread the word about the missing woman. Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have proved invaluable for the effort to find Stone (photo).
In an August 2009 article, the Chicago Tribune noted:
“In the rapidly changing digital age, the same social networking sites that often are derided as places to trade gossip and waste time are increasingly being used to solve crimes and aid police in the hunt for missing persons. Yet police and private investigators say they’ve only begun tapping into the resources on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, where millions of people from around the world instantly share information at the click of a button.”
One of the most powerful tools in the Stone outreach arsenal has been Facebook. More than 1,800 people are members of a Facebook page dedicated to finding Stone. Through the FundRazer tool on Facebook, leaders of the “Looking for Lisa Stone” campaign are raising money to pay for an independent investigation into her disappearance.
Several videos about Stone’s disappearance are posted on YouTube.
“It has been 3 months now and the trail ... is growing cold ... so, we must find answers NOW!” longtime friend Tina Wiley wrote on Facebook.
Wiley isn’t the only loved one turning to social media for help in finding a missing person. Each day, about 2,300 Americans are reported missing.Continued on the next page