Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Go Directly to Jail - Do Not Pass Go

Safe and well.

Safe and well.

Safe and well.

Over and over yesterday, I was doing what I could to help the people of Joplin, Missouri - never leaving my living room, but giving information and answers (if I knew them) to frantic pleas for help on Facebook.

Over and over yesterday, thousands of people posting,

"I'm looking for my aunt...."

"I'm trying to find my co-worker...."

"I can't find my grandparents...."

And I would refer them to the website, "SafeandWell.org"

It's a registry that the American Red Cross sponsors that allows people to search for missing loved ones, and allows people affected in the storm to tell people that they are indeed, safe and well.

I can't stress this website enough - if used, and used quickly, it can alleviate so much stress, anxiety and worry....

REMEMBER THIS WEBSITE. Use it. Pass it on.

It's not just for this disaster - it's for any disaster of significant size.

The pleas yesterday for information were heartbreaking....

People looking for their lost pets? I would give them the links to registries that had popped up with Lost & Found Pets of Joplin....

People looking for patients in hospitals? I would give out hospital phone numbers and addresses....

People looking for places that would accept donations? I would give out addresses of places I had found on the internet...

People looking for blood drives in their neighborhoods? I would give out the link to the Blood Drive database.

It wasn't much, but it was I could do from home, waiting to be deployed. I would be the self-proclaimed Social Media Guru of Helpful Information After a Disaster.

Until I got banned from Facebook, that is.

Apparently, Facebook has a limit on how many times per day someone can post links in their posts. And I had apparently gone over that limit, so Facebook has charged and found me guilty of being a spammer.

While I understand their need to protect users from legitimately being spammed, I just wish they had an appeal process.

I am unable to post links for 2-3 days. No way to contact someone at Facebook and plead my case - that I was far from spamming, but providing some much-needed information to people desperate after a disaster.

So, instead of being the Social Media Guru of Helpful Information After a Disaster, I am now a Criminal Facebook Spammer.

It's my first experience of being thought a criminal - and as much as I could find it amusing, I am actually frustrated.

So, as I sit and twiddle my thumbs, unable to give out the links that could provide someone with the key they need to find their missing loved ones, I'll keep saying prayers for the people of Joplin.

While Facebook would have me sitting and reflecting on the "error of my ways."




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