The search for Indiana University college student Lauren Spierer has involved social media in a way that we have never seen before. Lauren Spierer, the Indiana University fashion major, went missing after a night out with friends on June 3rd of this year. Her family has launched a nation-wide effort to keep the case in front of the largest possible audience. Their efforts have included the traditional “missing” flyers, but they have also used YouTube, QR codes, Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, and e-bay auctions. Some of their efforts seem to be born out of frustration – the case largely took a back seat to the Casey Anthony trial last summer. But some of their efforts are surely motivated by a belief that no effort is ever enough.
Their efforts at distributing “missing” posters even lead to one anonymous letter sent to her parents that there were “too many” posters to the point of “littering”. If other missing-person campaigns are looking for a benchmark of success, there you have it: hate mail from the callous and selfish. It makes me think of Grant Cardone’s goal of marketing: omnipresence.
Some of Lauren Spierer’s parents’ efforts seemed to be aimed at keeping pressure on witnesses who might not have come forward, or who might not be telling the truth. So far some of the witnesses have told inconsistent stories, claimed memory loss, or hired celebrity attorneys. In some states prosecuting attorneys have procedures available to compel these reluctant witnesses to either tell what they know, or to take the fifth. Such processes, such as grand juries or special inquiry proceedings, can help narrow down lists of suspects. And no one wants to be nationally known as the person who “took the fifth” in a case such as this. Defense lawyers can assist the investigatory process by brokering deals where witnesses gain immunity for secondary concerns like underage drinking that occurred that night.
Lastly, check out this awesome youtube video of a song her supporters wrote.