The Power of Social Networking

Awesome things happen when you cross Social Media with a close knit community who act more like a small town than a suburb.

Yesterday, I posted that we were greatly missing our travel mascot, Sharlene the Emu.

Last night, we had her back!

I posted a photo of her to Instagram, with where we last had her, & cross posted it to Facebook with public access settings.  Since then, her story has been shown around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, phone lines, & in person.  My father even made up a LOST poster to put in the Kalamunda IGA & a few other places.

A wonderful friend of mine, Lex, shared my Facebook post to the Perth Hills Chat Forum.

From there, her story branched out like a cobweb.  We tracked back from the person who found her, to find out how many levels of sharing there were.  Lots of people shared the story, but here I’m only writing the detail about the gossamer thread that brought Sharlene home.  The most important thing to note here, is that none of the people involved once Lex had shared my post, are people that I know.  In fact, we don’t even have any mutual friends!!

A lady named Karen saw Lex’s share on the Perth Hills forum & shared the post from there to her own Facebook wall.

Her friend Melissa shared it from Karen’s wall to her own.  Melissa’s share got a bite!

Allyson commented on Melissa’s post that she’d seen Sharlene that morning with a friend & was going to phone them.  Melissa contacted me (“I shared your post and a friend just phoned me to say that she found your plush emu!”) & included her phone number.  I called her & gave her mine, which she messaged through to Allyson, who then instantly phoned me.

Allyson told me that she had been to Stirk Park the day before with a friend a part of a larger group’s picnic.  The person who had organised the picnic had showed it to her as something cute he’d found & they’d left it at that.  When she’d seen Melissa’s post with our photo, she immediately recalled the conversation from that morning & went out of her way to find a way to contact the person who had found her.

Allyson gave me his number, & he was expecting my call.  (I’m leaving his name out on purpose, because I’m not sure if he wants it published) He told me of how he’d found her that morning by the BBQ (where Caroline & John had put her when they’d found her the night before) when he was the first to arrive for the picnic, & how no one who was there knew who’s she was.  He decided to take her with him, & when I called she was sitting on his mantle.  He said that he’d pop her in his enclosed letterbox so that it didn’t matter if he was home when we collected her, & said that it was fine for my father to collect.

“Is it a little boy or a little girl who is missing it?” he asked me.

“Actually, it’s me,” I said, trying to not sound sheepish.  “She was an anniversary gift from my Other Half & has travelled the state with us.  She has a lot of stories.”

“Ah,” he said.

At the time, I wasn’t sure if that response was because he understood or thought I was crazy.  The note he taped to the bag he put her in though, makes me think he understood.  “Good to go back home! X X”

I phoned Dad & told him.  We were both amazed at how fast this was happening.  But as I told him of where she was found & by who, Dad realised that he’d spoken to the picnic group when he was at the park packing up the last of the decorations from the night before!  He hadn’t known at that point we’d lost Sharlene, so he didn’t ask.

Dad met with him yesterday afternoon & collected her, but also took a number of photos “for Sharlene’s travel diary,” including a posed shot where she originally went missing.  He put them all into an email for me, & popped one up on Facebook to tell us that he had her & it was definitely our emu.


Left, the wonderful person who found Sharlene the Emu.
Right, sitting on Dad’s dash on her way to his place.

“Basking by the pool” at Dad’s
This is the photo he uploaded to facebook, to let us know that it was definitely our missing emu & that he now had her!

When we arrived at Dad’s that evening to pick her up, Dad had spot lit her in the front windowsill & set up a camera to capture our faces.

& the only links between the people involved in getting her home, are the Perth Hills & a bit of Facebook without mutual friends.

Thank you, everyone!!