One found memory card, one photo from it and the power of social media.
I’d seen a few success stories in various papers over the past year of two, involving one well meaning discoverer of a presumed lost memory card, a load of people online determined to find it’s owner and eventually the owner him/herself, looking gleeful in possession of what was once lost.
So when I got a tweet from Jenny Manby (@JennyManby) asking if I could help find the guy in the picture and reunite him with a memory card she’d found at the bar of a Mumford and Sons gig, I knew it was at least possible.
But for me, there was a twist. I was in a rubber dingy, picking up signal from a river bank cafe having just been told that I’d accidentally ventured into Bosnia. This wrong turn wasn’t as big as you may expect. My sense of direction isn’t great, but I hadn’t popped to Elephant and Castle for a pint of milk only to find myself in former Yugoslavia. I was on holiday in Montenegro, a beautiful neighbour of Bosnia, both of which were war torn only a decade or so ago, stark signs of which were as obvious and lingering as they were sad and fascinating.
In a minute or ten, I put together a tweet and a Facebook post asking people to share, share and share again. With 1.5bn combined users it was, with hindsight, obvious we were going to succeed. Sure enough, within 72 likes, and 19 retweets, up popped Stefanie Jones (@StefJones) who seemed to think our man looked very much like another man named Olly Breckon (@OllyWoodTV). It was and it had taken only 45 minutes. I was still in Bosnia, still 5 minutes from the border.
I say it was obvious we would succeed but I don’t really mean it. I’d love to work out the odds of this happening so easily and so quickly. I’d have doubly loved to put some money down on it. It’d be nice to take this opportunity to spurt beliefs about the virility of social media bringing with it a connectedness and responsibility to one another, wherever on this planet they may live. It’d be great to claim too that the power of all this has been illustrated here with this example. But luck and coincidence must have had a big part to play here. Surely?
I met with Olly yesterday as he insisted on buying me a beer. He’s a legend. Which makes this all that much sweeter. Olly had picked his card off Jenny the week before and had told me that she too was a legend but I knew this already having realised since my return from the Bosnian wilderness that I’d had her round for a coffee a few months ago because a film she was working on needed a location with a “messy kitchen and overgrown patio”, both of which I’m the proud owner (renter) of.
Can the world get any smaller? Well, yes! Olly then mentioned that after he saw the tweet, another friend of his on Facebook had pointed out the post there to him.
Ok, so me, Olly, Jenny, you lot, we’re mostly from the same part of the world, are perhaps around similar ages and so our preferences for things such as liking Mumford and Sons may be aligned too. But still this is odd isn’t it? I mean, what are the odds of finding him TWICE? Maybe there’s some sense in that theory of six degrees of separation but even then, doesn’t Kevin Bacon need to stick is oar in somewhere?
Thank you all for making sure Olly didn’t lose the memories he had on that card. Thank you specifically to Jenny for taking the time to go out her way to help someone she doesn’t know. If you’re feeling a little lost in the coincidence in all of this, take a moment or two to listen to the great Carl Sagan…… he’s a knack of putting things into perspective.
I’ll be sure to dine off this story every time someone asks me what I thought of Bosnia.