My friend Leigh Fazzina just used Twitter as a rescue tool. Leigh took a bad spill from a bike in an unfamiliar area with limited cell reception. Leigh has a strong network of followers on Twitter and when she couldn’t contact emergency services using her phone, she was able to tweet; her followers responded and sent an ambulance to find her. Leigh is recovering with bumps, bruises and muscle soreness.
The story was covered by USA Today where some commenters have missed the point entirely.
What Leigh did was resourceful and because of the relationships she’s initiated, nurtured and maintained, she had a solid, reliable, caring group of people she could contact when she was unable to reach anyone else with any other more conventional method.
I had a similar, though non-emergency experience when our kayak was stolen a couple of weeks ago. After alerting police, I tweeted to my followers (who retweeted) until someone located our stolen property, thus starting the process of prosecuting the thief and recovering our kayak.
Twitter, and the networks it creates and allows one to maintain, is fantastic. If you don’t get it, you’re just missing out. That’s all.