Here's a typical unfortunate scenario: You're out on a trip and somehow your laptop gets stolen. Let's say it's a Macbook. You then remember you were smart enough to install some anti-theft software such as Lo-Jack, or a more low-tech but free solution such as Prey. Lo and behold, your beloved laptop comes back online and you're tracking the movements of your laptop's unsuspecting thief.
You grab enough evidence and plan to file a police report to get your laptop back. But that could take a while. In this particular case involving a man from Ottawa, ON, he tried something different. He went on Twitter and shared his story with his followers. Fortunately, some of them happened to live in or near Manhattan, where the man lost his Macbook. The end result? A bunch of random Twitter users were able to track down the thief and demand the return of the laptop. Police were not involved.
As reported by the CBC, Sean Power, a web analyst from Ottawa, became an overnight sensation on Twitter when his story shared on his Twitter account led to to the successful return of his laptop early yesterday morning. It first started with Power remembering he had Prey installed on his laptop, then tweeting the picture of the thief. Once he had enough info, he called the police, but they refused to go to the location as he did not file an incident report.
Fortunately, at that same bar the thief was in, a follower was there, spying on the thief. Despite Power's pleas for him not to confront the thief, he managed to obtain the thief's cell number. Power then surprised the thief with a phone call. The thief gave up the laptop to the distant Twitter hero.
Power got his Macbook back, although with a few undesired modifications done to it. His files remained intact. As for the thief? Powers isn't planning on pressing charges. A rather happy ending (minus the spray paint) to another case of the growing impact of Twitter on our daily lives.