Monday, March 9, 2009

An idea about how to make Amber Alert better

As many of you know, I posted a quick PSA announcement on an Amber Alert issued in my local area. The kid was found, the father arrested, and all is good. I had gotten the notice on my computer from my ISP (Wide Open West) and they had it pop up over my main browser. Once i saw the pop up, i had a choice of following it for more details, ignoring it, or opting out of any further updates. This struck an idea in me, and I want to see what you all think of it.

If you like my idea, please spread the word around. Post this (or a similar take) on your blog, talk about it to your friends, or just link to this post. Helping to get more kids home safely is a very important thing.

So, when I followed the PSA that popped up on my browser to Ohio's Amber Alert system, I noticed that they had a handy dandy little javascript add on that you can add to your site. Basically, when they issue an alert, the javascript that you added flashes on your website letting your readers know that there is a missing child in the area. This is a great idea, but it is lacking in a major thing.

How is an update to the coding really going to get new people to see the issue? If I go to the website, then I might notice the javascript code, but odds are that I will not. Furthermore, I am not likely to go to the website unless there is a new post. In the world of RSS feeds, only new items will bring in new people.

So this got me thinking, why not create some script that auto posts a post on blogsites that sign up for the service. You could customize the post (title, labels, etc.) and all the state adds is the important details. This could automatically post on blogs that signed up, and then spread quickly. It would show up in all of the RSS feeds, and it would quickly spread to the readers and the like.

My post had roughly 175 unique people view it before the kid was found (three hours after the post). While this does not seem like much, think about it on bigger sites. Say it was automatically posted on Glass City Jungle, or various other huge blogs throughout Ohio. Thousands that did not get a notice from their ISP, or their news (which I never heard it on) would get it right away. Blogs can spread this news quickly, efficiently, and for free. This is the answer.

Even more, sense most people have their blog update their twitter status, the Amber Alert would quickly be retweeted around the world, getting the most readers possible. The combination of these two viral means would ensure that the most people possible can see the alert, and it will hopefully lead to a quicker discovery of the missing child.

I propose that our state adopts this sort of system. I am sure that Blogger, Wordpress, Xanga, Live Journal, and the various other blogging platforms would quickly pick up on it and implement a safe and secure way to get the blogposts up automatically. You could focus it on one area, have it fully customizable, and make sure that everybody wants it. With over half of the country reading blogs on a regular basis, this important news would quickly spread across the interwebs on its trip around. This would make sure that everything was quick, and the kid was found.

So what do you guys think about this? Is this sort of thing a good idea or a bad idea? Please let me know how I should change it, or what you think that I should do with it. If you like the idea, spread it: link to this post, post this yourself (let me know via a post here or an email so I can keep records), or make a variation of the idea for your blog (again, let me know).

Basically, I want to make the system better, and want to see if this will work


Lisa Renee said...

I think it's a great idea, it makes me wish I knew how to write javascript coding, it would be something I would definitely put on my blogs.

Barga said...

they have it for you, you just need to paste it in a javascript widget

that said, what do you think of my blogit idea regarding this?

if you like it, want to spread it?

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