Last night, one of my colleagues at Packard Foundation, Jeff Jackson, left this post on my wall. I did a little Twitter coaching and connected him with others who might help. This morning, while we were on the phone, Jeff had some good news about Carlos and Erika, but his godson is still missing.
Located the family I lived with in Chile. They were on a bus to Stgo during the night when the quake hit. Located best friends Carlos/Erika in Talca near the epicenter. They lost their Cultural Center. Still missing godson's family who were on vacation in the south near epicenter.
So, if you could take a minute to retweet this message for him.
RT @JeffVallarta #Chile, help me find godson Amaro $ family: Eric Rojas e Ingrid Sepulveda, Melepilla, 601-5063, 8-568-5570, 9-423-1180
I can't imagine how helpless Jeff must feel, but he has been using social media and social network tools, along with phone calls to search. Here's what he has tried a combination of networking with NGOs, disaster organizations, friends, and strangers participating in different Facebook groups or Twitter hashtags.
(1) Watching the social stream from a TV station in Chile live streaming
(2) Contacting the family's friends on Facebook through their accounts
(3) Keyword searches on Twitter using the various hashtags including #chile, #buscapersonas (lost persons)
(4) The Google People Finder
(5) Networking with NGOs working on the ground in Chile
(6) Relying information back and forth to people who are calling numbers in Chile and as far as way as Canada or Spain
(7) Networking with social media bloggers, twitter users in Chile who have been helping him spread the message.
(8) Using information from Crisis Commons and Ushahidi
(9) Networking with professional colleagues online by leaving messages on their FB or Twitter.
Jeff says the narrowcasting strategies have worked best, "Best luck so far is to blast your most active networks via their FB sites and strangers offer to use their phones to find loved ones. Human Rights Museum and Villa Gramaldi have been my best networks as they've been well-organized for about 30 years. Also, I've been calling people removed a bit geographically (including Spain and Canada), keeping multiple windows open at a time and checking regularly all (found news is coming in via calls, FB and email)
Not just related NGOs, I targetted mature networks I've been part of for 25+ years (mostly human rights) and tapped their fan pages and strangers took on the cause with their phones (land lines working better than cell phones still).
I'm sure there's more he's doing and when this crisis is resolved, I'm sure Jeff will have some great advice for families that find themselves in the position of searching for loved ones when disaster strikes.
If you have any additional advice, or if you want to help beyond retweeting his message, please leave a comment.
Update: Jeff located his godson! Here's the message he left for me on my Facebook profile:
Just FOUND Amaro and family! Thanks Beth. I stalked their four FB accounts, commented "Help me find Amaro" on all of their friends/family comments of the past two weeks, and within a couple hours had three confirmations from strangers in their networks that they are all OK, just totally disconnected on their rural farm without internet, electricity, water, roads, cells, phones, etc. But SAFE! Thanks so much.
Lessons learned when searching for loved ones, even in outback Chile:
1) Tap in to friends in common, friends in their social network, and the willingness of nearby or distant strangers.
2) Post "Lost" messages everywhere and frequently.
3) Avoid wasting time on fast-paced Twitter feeds, unless you know how to narrow searches with hashtags (#) quickly.
4) Quickly go to their FB page and comment on the comments of all their friends from the past couple weeks asking if they've made contact.
5) Be brief and use key words.
6) Keep multiple windows open on the computer including local news feeds, emergency sites, Google People Search, etc.
7) Stay focused on the good chances all is all right, just disconnected.
8) Thank those who helped and inform folks the LOST is FOUND.
Lessons learned to prepare to be found:
1) Make sure a few people know where you are at all times.
2) Have a primary contact that family and close friends know - not a local contact.
3) Have a contact list that your primary contact can access and contact.
4) Post own name on Google People Search as FOUND.
5) Have someone at home to answer the phone and/or leave a message on the door.
6) Before all of the above, escape to safe place and help others; put shoes on first (avoid glass, wires and water).