This is a first in a series of guest posts by Yogini. Detailing how to use Social Media to raise awareness for charitable causes. In the coming posts I will go into much more specific detail on tips and techniques used to do this.
Today, I understand the struggle of these families. But it doesn’t make things any easier for them. Someone goes missing every 30 seconds and that’s a fact. The main stream media is not much (if any) help to missing or murdered persons which don’t fit a specific criteria. In addition to being ignored by the media, many families of missing persons run against the “Blue Wall” of justice, law enforcement agencies that refuse to do their jobs either due to corruption, inefficiency, laziness or lack of funds. Either way its inexcusable. The reality is that thousands of families go through this every day with no end in sight. I was forced to pursue alternate methods to get Lilly’s case heard. The police were not doing anything, the media wasn’t doing anything and time was passing. The only real viable medium available to me was/is the Internet. Thankfully, I work in the Social Media Industry, which was clearly an advantage.
I’d like to share these insights with you, in hopes that it will be of benefit for you in your search for your missing loved one. While embarking on your journey, it is important to focus on the actions at hand and not the end result. Creating awareness within Social Media is usually an incremental process and it will not provide instant gratification but with patience and perseverance it will provide results. It is very important to note that each of these sites have particular rules and norms and if you intend on generating positive awareness and inspiring others to help you in your search, you must make an effort to understand the dynamic of each community, participate and make friends. I also included some reference links with how to’s, and information on social media etiquette.
Things YOU can do to Raise Awareness RIGHT NOW
- Registering for microblogging sites like Twitter, Jaiku and Plurk.
- Registering for video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo.
- Creating Ads on Craigslist & other free online classifieds
- Joining and taking part in Online Forums and groups like Mixx, Google Groups and Yahoo Groups.
- Creating and distributing Press Releases and Social Media Releases.
- Plan on outreach by commenting on relevant Blogs and posting Blog link to get others help in raising awareness.
Social Media Networks
The great thing about Social Networks is that many of these online community members share a common interest and are grouped as such. They are great place to get started. They are easy to sign up and easy to set up and customize. Once you are granted access to a social networking website you can begin to socialize by reading the profile pages of other members, finding groups to join and interacting with users. The friends that you can make are just one of the many benefits to social networking. It has very powerful viral qualities that will help to get your message out.
Social Networks can be used as a private journals, blogs, discussion forums, content distribution and network site. They allow you customize your profile page, network and get the word out. A good suggestion, is start by adding people you already know to build up some momentum. Make sure to use “keywords” related to the missing person within the profile pages so that they start appearing in the search engine results pages like Google , Yahoo and MSN.
With these sites you can create your own network and community. You can invite others, and add tons of 3rd party widgets that allow you to easily add useful functions like embedded video of missing persons, scrolling missing persons feeds , missing persons news and more. You can also build a Squidoo Lens and promote it within your other social networks. It’s very easy, and they come out in the search results.
These are professional networking sites. Plaxo has an online contact management feature which is very handy to share information and links with your connections. Linkedin allows you to ask questions from professionals in any industry. You can ask questions to professionals in Non Profit sector or Marketing sector for ideas to get your message out. You would be surprised at how many useful answers you will get.
Friendfeed is an content aggregator and lifestreaming site. It gathers content from most of the top social networks and displays in one convenient location where users can interact with it.
Using Social News Websites to Find Missing Persons
Below are some Social News sites. You can register for a free account and submit articles about your missing loved one. If you are just getting started, I highly suggest you take some time to look around the site and get to know how it works before you start submitting articles. Interact and socialize with others by commenting relevant and quality submissions. This is how you make friends and encourage conversations. However, submitting your own articles is not a good idea as they may get voted down or get you banned from the site.
Using Video Sharing Websites to Find Missing Persons
Using Online Picture Sharing Sites to Help Find Missing Persons
Using Online Microblogging Sites Like Twitter to Help Find Missing Persons
Examples of active Missing Persons related social media sites
(Consider joining these if you have a missing loved one and need help!)
- Flickr Missing Persons Group
- Friendfeed Missing Persons Room
- Care2 Missing Persons Group
- Missing Children and Missing Persons Community
- Justice in Miami
North America Missing Persons Bureau – Listing of officially reported missing persons
Listing of officially reported missing persons
Listings for missing persons who are US military veterans.
Help Find the Missing – Listing of officially reported missing persons.
America’s Most Wanted
The Charley Project – Listing cold cases of missing persons
Polly Klaas Foundation – Missing child recovery
Project Jason – Support for Families of the missing
CUE Center for Missing Persons – Great resource for families of the missing
Carole Sund Foundation – Reward money
Submit a missing person to Homeless Nation
Search for Unidentified Persons
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System
You can create a free milk carton for your missing person. Here’s an example:
Missing Person/Crime Forums
Forums are a fantastic place to not only generate awareness within Missing Persons communities, but also to network with other like minded individuals who are going through the same Missing persons ordeal. An additional added value is embedding a link in your forum signatures to your main blog. Make sure you include the name of your missing relative in the link. This will help your rankings in Google and other search engines.
Create a Blog
- http://www.blogger.com/ (very good for beginners – easy to use)
Bookmarks allow you to save your favorite sites and attach labels and annotations. Use bookmarking services to keep and store, organize and search your bookmarks. Bookmark everything that has to do with your loved one.
- http://www.stumbleupon.com/firefox_start.php – Highly recommended!
Hook up Google Reader to sign up for RSS feeds related to missing persons.
Submit Press Release
Reference Information and Statistics about Missing Persons
Using DNA and other Resources to Identify Missing Persons
About.com – Info & statistics about the missing
Examples of the Power of Social Media
Twitter save Lives
Social Meida Primer
Twitter and Missing Children
Communication the key to connect missing persons
YouTube as a Crime Solving Tool
Family and friends turn to social networking site to solve crime
Social Media Primers
How To Get Started In Social Media
Social Media Video – Social Media Networking in Plain English
It is my sincere wish that this be able to help someone find their missing loved on. If this was useful, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.