For everyone who said Twitter was useless – we’ve got news for you. Rather than the chatter you sometimes see on the social networking site, this time Twitter was used for some serious good. Twitter was used to tell the world that a missing man wasn’t dead, but was being secretly held hostage in a jail in Afghanistan.
After mysteriously going missing in the beginning of April, Kosuke Tsuneoka, a Japanese freelance journalist, was assumed to be dead. His family and friends had assumed the worst and practically given up hope until recently when two Twitter posts came from his personal account. The posts read:
“i am still allive, but in jail,”
“here is archi in kunduz. in the jail of commander lativ.”
Kosuke Tsuneoka hadn’t been heard from since his disappearance on April 1, so when a tweet came from his account, it immediately brought new hope to his family and friends. But concerns over the tweets authenticity immediately came into the spot light. To close friends, it seemed suspicious that the tweet was posted in English, as opposed to all his other tweets that were written in Japanese. Aside from the language, the tweet was posted using Twitter’s Mobile Web interface while all previous messages had been sent using the Gravity Twitter cell phone client. Lastly, many people wondered how he managed to get access to Twitter if he was really in jail.
However, it turns out that these tweets were real and some might say even led to his release just three days later. Tsuneoka says that he got access to Twitter when one of the low-ranking soldiers that was guarding him got a new cell phone and asked for Tsuneoka’s help with setting up the Internet.
The phone, a Nokia N70, seems ancient to most of us today, but is considered highly advanced technology compared to what many are using in Afghanistan. After being given the phone to examine, Tsuneoka called customer support and had the Internet activated. He then proceeded to tell the soldier about Twitter and how cool it is, to which the soldier asked to show him for a demo.
And this Tsuneoka did, but not by posting something random, but instead posting a cry for help to all of his Twitter followers that he was being held in the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz. It is not certain whether it was the Twitter posts that led to his freedom or the restoration of his family and friend’s hope, but his captors had released him to the Japanese embassy just three days later.
Kosuke Tsuneoka is now safely home in Japan, and to everyone’s surprise doesn’t mind returning to Afghanistan again. “I’m ready to go back right now,” he said. “But after all the trouble, I have to think how not to repeat the same mistake. That’s the problem.” His mistake was admittedly being kidnapped in a foreign country.
(Via PC World)