National Zoo uses Twitter to find missing panda
Missing red panda drives buzz and jokes on the social network
Computerworld - When Rusty, the red panda, went missing Sunday night from his exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, zookeepers turned to Twitter to find him.
And it worked.
On Monday afternoon, a Washington resident spotted Rusty and posted his photo on Twitter, calling on zookeepers to come get him. "Red panda in our neighborhood! 20th NW and Biltmore. Please come save him! @nationalzoo1," tweeted @AshleyFoughty.
Shortly afterward, the zoo updated the thousands of people following Rusty's adventure to say that he was safe and sound again.
"Rusty the red panda has been recovered, crated & is headed safely back to the National Zoo!" zookeepers tweeted. "Thank you so much to everyone who helped us look for and find him!"
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said the National Zoo made a good move when they used social media to find Rusty.
"That makes sense," he said. "Twitter is the freshest source of information. If you get lucky, the topic can generate a lot of interest."
And it did. The zoo's first tweet about the missing panda on Monday night was retweeted 3,339 times. "We are looking for a missing red panda, a male named Rusty. He was last seen at 6 p.m. last night."
The zoo did a good job including a twit pic of Rusty. In a following tweet, a phone number was included in case of a sighting.
However, Gottheil said the zoo also should have used a hashtag to help grow the online discussion and to help interested Twitter users find information about the search and rescue.
The zoo also used Twitter to provide information on where the panda might have been hiding, as well as to warn searchers that he is a wild animal and could be dangerous.
" Red pandas typically spend the warm daytime hours resting, so it's likely Rusty is somewhere in or near the Zoo hiding in a tree," the zoo tweeted. "Please help us keep an eye out for Rusty. Remember: red pandas are wild animals & will bite if cornered or scared."
While many people in the Twitterverse were sharing the zoo's tweets to help find Rusty, others used it as an opportunity to have a little fun.
"Doubt Rusty the Red Panda could go far. It's so hard to park in DC," tweeted @markknoller.
One clever Twitter user who tweets as the Bronx Zoo cobra that went missing in March 2011 and became a Twitter sensation, also chimed in, tweeting, "I have an alibi! RT @NationalZoo We are looking for a missing red panda named Rusty. He was last seen at 6 p.m."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is email@example.com.
Read more about Social Media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.
- Social Media in Technology: A Unified Strategy for Success Find out how social media is sparking a new era of customer and industry-understanding in technology enterprises and how industry leaders are overcoming...
- Agility & Scalability for Oracle EBS R12 and RAC on VMware vSphere 5 This white paper outlines extensive performance and scalability testing of Oracle EBS applications on a Vblock™ Systems with vSphere 5.
- Oracle and VCE: The Next Step in Integrated Computing Platforms In this ESG Lab review you will learn how a VCE system driven by Oracle, delivers the perfect blend of high performance and...
- Migrate Oracle Apps from RISC/UNIX to Virtualized x86 Ready to move Oracle to a virtualized environment? This brief explains how true converged infrastructure can help you migrate from a RISC/UNIX environment...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their... All Social Media White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!