Bringing Kellan Home - Facebook Works in Wondrous Ways
Let's face it, when it comes to social media, and perhaps especially Facebook, we are all cynics. It's narcissistic. It's false. One more selfie from that person who puts up three a day and I'll slit my wrists. But then something extraordinary happens and it all makes total sense.
Gather ‘round, we have a Blue Shoe story to tell.
We have a client whose boyfriend had a son with a girlfriend, who then left him for a woman. They shared custody of Kellan, who is almost four. One day Kellan’s mother didn't show up to meet his father for the exchange. Months passed while he tried to get the police to do more than the minimum, and then he made a call to us, asking us to do a website to get the word out there. A social media version of Kellan’s picture on a milk container. We really do need to drink more milk.
Our team decided it was better to go where people were already congregating, so we set up a Facebook Page, Bring Kellan Home. If you go there now, you will not see the many pictures of Kellan that were there. That is because he has been found. That chapter is closed for Kellan, and we want him to have his anonymity now. But not then.
We made it a “cause” page. We chose Bring Kellan Home as the name of the page because it told the story in the title. We put the legal papers up to prove that he wasn't a child who should stay stolen. We put pictures up of the two women who had gone on the lam with him. We begged people to share the story. We went and asked them to share it again so if someone in their circle missed it on Tuesday, they would see it when it was re-shared on Thursday.
We started a countdown. Four months, three days, and twenty-four hours. We kept asking, and we boosted. We boosted to women between the ages of 29 and 65 who liked Walmart. Who liked parenting. We targeted those who would care about a stranger’s child who was missing. We went to the groups on Facebook that the abductor used to frequent and asked them to put the info up in case she was still in touch with any of them. We let her family know we would put that threesome on the run in the minds of everyone in the Southeast, where the family thought they were hiding.
And so it went. Hundreds of thousands saw the page. Tens of thousands forwarded it, and many thousands liked the page.
Two days ago, in the backwoods of Georgia, a waitress in a Chunky Chicken restaurant saw him. They were running from the Facebook Wanted Poster, which was following them like those posters in the Wild West of old. And now Kellan is home with his dad.
Now what? We decided with his family that we wanted to leave the page up as a template for others who might want to use it the same way we did. But we didn't want this fabulous young person to be the poster child and be recognized everywhere he went, so we took down the pictures of him and made him anonymous. His story is still up, but his identity is gone. This is a major book in his lifetime of books, but it's not the first line of the rest of his life. It had a beginning, a middle and an end. A happy ending. And it's time to leave it behind.
Today a message went up on the page thanking everyone who had taken a few seconds to look at a picture of a little boy and remember it. And, our team at Blue Shoe put the architecture together to use Facebook for the greater good. Cost effectively. So, let the word go out that it's all in how you use it. We left no stone unturned.
We hope others will use our blueprint to set up more pages for missing children to see if maybe, just maybe, we can all take a few moments out of a day and find other Kellans whose families want them home too.