Social media has increasingly become an essential way to rally the troops on a global level, but even more so in communities where the instant form of communication can help disseminate crucial information about everything from weather advisories to lost pets. When a deaf white cat named Turkish went missing earlier this week from his home in Stoke Newington just outside of London, it was the power of social media that had him back in his relieved owner's arms within a matter of hours.
Social media and marketing expert Robyn Pierce lives next door to Turkish's owner, and immediately issued an alert on Twitter after learning the cat had gone missing. She urged others, including the UK based Cats Protection League, to retweet the message and included hashtag #N16 (a postcode for the area) to gain the attention of local tweeters. Word spread fast, and after an exchange of tweets and phone calls, Turkish was located and returned home safe and sound.
Pierce told the Hackney Gazette she wasn't surprised they found the cat because she's convinced of the power of Twitter as a community tool. She says, “There are so many people here who use it in Stoke Newington and across London. Now I can use the tale of Turkish to explain Twitter to people who don’t understand it.”
This story was particularly interesting to me because several months ago I witnessed a similar scenario play out in my town after a local business tweeted a photo of a Pug that had been found on the street. After a chorus of retweets by the concerned community, the lost pup was quickly identified and returned to its grateful owner.
While nothing beats hitting the streets - especially in those crucial first few hours after a pet has gone missing - we shouldn't forget the power of social media to go far beyond any conventional means of communication. While it's easy to question the necessity of living in a society that feels the need to overshare every detail of our lives over the internet, it's also nice to remember how amazing it can be when a group of strangers come together and generate a favorable outcome by doing something as simple as hitting the "Retweet" button.
As for Turkish - the rogue cat who took Twitter by storm - he's now resting comfortably after being whisked off to his owner's parents' house in the country. I'm not sure if he's planning to escape again anytime soon, but if he does, next time he'll surely avoid being spotted by anyone with a mobile device and a Twitter account.
Via Hackney Gazette