Blown To Bits

The Power of Social Networking

Thursday, May 27th, 2010 by Harry Lewis

I must come across as a grump about social networks since I have complained about the Facebook privacy issues so much lately. Today I am happy to share a, well, happy story.

Faithful readers may remember my blog post about Dan Reetz, the genius of the Do It Yourself book scanner. Two friends passed on this Newsweek piece about how he used Metafilter, a community blog, to marshall help for two young and naive Russian women of his acquaintance who were, almost certainly, being lured into a sex trafficking ring in New York City. This was a hard one for the social web to respond to, because the women refused to accept help. Someone on Metafilter volunteered to take the women in and persuaded them to hang out at her place rather than meeting a mysterious person at a shady night club to work as “hostesses.” Money appeared too. It’s the sort of story that restores your faith in human nature, and the potential of the Web to concentrate and focus it as a force for good.

Dan is, by the way, on his way to a job working for Disney Research, which is just perfect. He is creative and fun and just cool, a good old-fashioned artisan-engineer-artist. Here is another summary of the story.

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