April 7, 2011 at 9:23 AM ET
We frequently complain about the Internet's ability to corrupt the younger generations, but today we celebrate it for the role it played in a missing 16-year-old boy's safe return to his home in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The young man was found about three hours after news of his family's worries reached Twitter.
The Next Web reports that the initial cries for help — tweeted by users @Modhayan and @Omar_Othman — included a photo of the missing boy, Faisal Fri, along with contact information for his family. That information was quickly spread across Twitter — often with the #FaisalDH hashtag attached — and about three hours later there was a happy ending.
While there aren't many details about the boy's disappearance, how it happened, where he was found and so on, it is worth noting that what we do know about the incident is a great demonstration of the effect any Twitter user can have — whether he or she has millions of followers or not. After all, the plea for assistance by @Modhayan earned a Twitter Top Tweet position — a title granted by an elaborate algorithm which tracks the popularity of tweets — despite the fact that the man has fewer than 300 followers.