Trying to connect displaced pets with their owners due to the Northern California wildfires is like the craziest game of Concentration EVER.
These are just a few of the black and white-faced cats either lost or found staring back at me from my computer screen (there are literally dozens):
There is just no practical way that people can connect all the different animals with their lost humans without using some sort of system. And that system is hashtags (#), which are searchable across different social media platforms. How do you make a searchable hashtag? It’s really simple (and make sure you have privacy settings set to “PUBLIC” so that it can be found):
This explanation, by Facebook, but they all work the same way:
So, for example, if you are searching for your lost pet on Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram (and MAKE SURE YOUR SETTINGS and posts are made PUBLIC), and your cat looks like this:
and you were a victim of the Tubbs Fire, you may want to make a post that says:
Those hashtags (above) will then get migrated, or filed, into hashtag searches.
Similarly, for example, if you have FOUND a cat who is an orange tabby, who is microchipped, and you KNOW the name of the cat is Gloria because it’s in her microchip data (be sure to put the pet’s name in the post as a hashtag!), your post might look like this:
It may take a day or two to populate hashtag searches, but it will work.
Facebook began using hashtags 4 years ago. They are more popular on Twitter and Instagram, but they work, whether you’re searching for something, have found something and want to find its owner, or you’re trying to connect the two…whatever.
Be sure your privacy settings are “Public,” and please go back and add hashtags to your posts (“Edit Post”) with searchable information.
When you are searching for something, don’t use the hashtag (#). Just type the word in the Search box. For example, I posted this earlier this morning:
And then went to the Facebook Search box shortly after and put the words “cairn” and “tubbsfire” and got this result:
Does this work perfectly? No.
Is it instantly searchable? Sometimes.
It is an imperfect search tool, but it’s the best thing out there. Given a little time (days), # searches become more accurate. They’ll eventually become indexed and migrate to Google searches (for example, look for “Bea” and “Fountaingrove” in Google to see how they gather steam).
There is definitely a lag time, but we must go back and repost things with hashtags so that the enormous backlog of lost and found animals can be reunited. The sooner the better.
Please spread the word!!!
FURTHER READING ABOUT HASHTAGS
How to Use Hashtags