I watched someone’s life get saved this weekend, all thanks to the Internet and social networking.
An alert went up Friday night about a missing person. It was someone I didn’t know and don’t believe I’ve ever met, but someone whom many of my friends considered to be a close friend. My Facebook feed was littered with notices of ‘have you seen this person’ and ‘this person was last spotted…’. Friends from many different spheres of my life posted alerts, looking for the person in question.
I threw up a copy-and-pasted alert, hoping to extend the reach of the alert. All I did know is that this person – whom many I consider to be friends were very worried about – had made a worrisome Facebook post and then just up and disappeared, with no further contact.
This morning, I awoke to find that contact had been made and the individual was safe. A healing process began, both for a community and for the individual whom, regardless of what they were going through personally, must have taken away some comfort to know how loved they were and are.
It was amazing to see. In the past, when most people have talked about Facebook, it’s been to complain about the newest interface or to suggest that social networking was replacing real-world networking. Many people level a great number of complaints against the digital age – one where social media is king – and for good reason. But this time, someone discovered how much they mattered to many people. And I get the impression that a life was saved. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, or maybe the life that was saved wasn’t the person who went missing but the person who witnessed the public cry for support and realized that maybe they matter to that many people too.
Whatever the details, I took away from the events of this weekend something remarkable and inspiring, and very hopeful, about the digital age we live in.