Remember that woman who used Facebook to track down the drunk who stole her laptop? It turns out she's part of a trend toward never losing anything ever again, thanks to the internet.
The New York Times tells everyone about it on today's front page, via a series of heartwarming and completely typical (we're sure) anecdotes:
- The Miami Airport returns about 30 percent of its lost and found items via the internet, including one person's missing urn of human remains ("inexplicably left... on top of a trash can at a departure gate").
- A Scottish hiker found a digital camera, circulated some pictures on Flickr, and figured out where the owner lived. A nearby Flickr user drove around until he found the house in question, and the camera was soon returned to its owner (a clumsy American, naturally).
- An engineer found a wallet in a 7-Eleven and, before turning it in to the cashier, photographed the driver's license on his iPhone. He found the college student that night on Facebook and emailed her directions to the wallet.
- A San Francisco woman got an email about her missing wallet before she knew it was gone, from a guy who found it on a bus and couldn't get a message to her through the robots at the credit card companies.
- One computer geek ("network engineer") apparently found the owner of wallet as he was holding it after finding it in a Whole Foods parking garage. He found the phone number of one of her friend's on a college website and asked her to alert the wallet owner.
This is a nice story in the Times, except for the fact that everyone will now assume they can find just whatever via the internet, thus clogging Facebook and Twitter and email inboxes with "Anyone find a..." or "I stumbled across this..." messages until it doesn't work for anyone. Come to think of it, have you seen our keys anywhere?? We just had them....