I recently had an amazing adventure in lower Manhattan as I tried to find my “lost on the NYC MTA Transit bus” pocket book. The ordeal left mean thinking, “Why Aren’t There 21st Century Solutions to Our Lost and Found Problems.” Here’s one idea.
Twitter as a Lost and Found Solution
One simple and free solution would be to utilize Twitter which could serve as a perfect tool to help lost items become reunited with their owners. All that would be required is a format protocol to be put in place and shared. This could work for schools, transit systems, and more. A simple tag could be L&F followed by (lost or found) the organization, the date, the item and either who it belongs to (first initial, last name-if such evidence exists) or where it can be retrieved. Here is an example of what this might look like:
Lost items: L&F Lost @ MTABus14D 09/12/09 - silver pocketbook belongs to LNielsen
Found items: L&F Found @ 05M123 Class8-242 09/12/09 - black polo retrieve from room 526
This could be sent for free via twitter sms (twitter.com/devices), twitter voice (877-893-3822), or via computer (twitter.com). A transit worker or educator without access to a phone or computer could radio this into dispatch or the school dean.
The benefit of this is that people can instantly figure out anytime/anywhere if their item has been found and they can also have a notification to organizations when items are lost.
During my recent amazing race through Manhattan to find my pocket book I learned that there was no set protocol in place. While I was lucky to have had myself and a friend chasing and hopping buses around Manhattan a more efficient, effective, and economical approach like the one I am suggesting could make life easier for the driver trying to get to his destination on time, the passenger trying to find her lost item and/or the educator who has found an item or the student who has lost one.