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.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetFacebookdisaster recoverytwittersoftwareapplicationsBusiness ContinuityWeb 2.0 and Web Apps

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

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

With determination and drive, you achieve outstanding performance! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?