Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Parents of Missing Lauren Spierer Turn to Social Media


Lauren Spierer, a 20-year-old Indiana University student, went out on the night of June 2 and disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the early hours of June 3. Her parents, Charlene and Robert Spierer, along with the Bloomington Police, have appealed for help in finding the missing student via local newspaper services and appearances on local and national television networks. They have also reached out through the Internet, setting up a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account in hopes that social media might be able to do what more traditional forms of media have as yet been unable to accomplish.

The website FindLauren.com provides a picture of a young and smiling blonde-haired woman. There is a link that allows a subscription to updates in the search as well as announcements for actual searches scheduled. At the bottom of the web page are links to news stories on Spierer and a Facebook page.

The Facebook page "Official Lauren Spierer Updates from Her Family" allows the user to check on continuing updates on all things concerning the investigation, including links to news stories and various methods to help. It is not a page for well-wishers and gawkers, but one whereon the family wishes only to disseminate news about Lauren Spierer and her missing person's case. The family asks that no comments be placed upon the Facebook Wall.

For those wanting to leave comments, a Twitter account has also been set up. News, comments, updates, and links to various stories and websites concerning the missing student can be found and entered at @NewsOnLaurenS. Information is also being passed on via the hashtag #FindLauren. One can also follow the Twitter postings at Google's Blogspot.

As Bloomington Police announced Tuesday it was attempting to enhance images of a vehicle seen in the area of Spierer's disappearance, her parents appeared on NBC's "Today Show" to make another public appeal for help finding their daughter.

Spierer, who been visited a local sports bar called Kilroy's before it closed at 3 a. m., was last seen at 4:30 a.m. A male friend described her as walking barefoot at a street corner just a few blocks from her apartment.

Investigators found that Spierer left her shoes and cell phone behind when she left Kilroy's. It is also known that she had decided to stop at a friend's place before going home.

She was reported missing less than 12 hours later.

Spierer's case, like many other contemporary missing persons cases, has employed the use of social media to help not only inform the public about the missing but also to spread information to those who might be willing to help in the investigation.

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