Just In Time For National Missing Children's Day -- Website Creates Online "Buzz" for over 160 Missing Children

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New website helps create online buzz for missing children.

May 25 is National Missing Children's Day: a chance to honor, remember and reflect on the hundreds of children throughout the US who disappear each year. Some are found. Others, tragically, are never seen again.

Wayne Wirs, author of Fading Toward Enlightenment and founder of PeaceCause.org, now wants to use online "viral marketing" technology to help find those children. "The Internet is terribly underutilized for humanitarian issues," the 45-year-old author and photographer said. "The explosive growth in social networking websites means that one person, telling their network of friends about a missing child, can literally reach hundreds of thousands of people within 24 hours."

Wirs has recently created a website to do just that, LinkTiles: Missing Children (http://LinkTiles.com/TheMissing). Each day, the site is updated with the profiles of children who have gone missing in the last two months -- over 160 children in the US, with over 40 in Illinois alone.

The website displays little "tiles" of the missing children. Placing the mouse over a tile immediately opens a mini-profile about the child with an appeal to send the auto-generated email to your network of friends, initiating an Internet "buzz" for the boy or girl. "When composing the children's pages and emails," Wirs said, "I felt it was critical to communicate the very real danger these children are in and to express the anguish their parents were experiencing." Taking the idea of the "Have you seen this child?" milk cartons and flyers to a more advanced level, the site is poised to become a valuable tool in locating and rescuing missing children.

LinkTiles: Missing Children is part of a larger website, LinkTiles.com, which is set up as a resource to help people organize their web-based community presence and serve as mini-resumes for artists, models, writers, and other creative people. "Once I realized the power of this approach, to display a lot of information in a little graphic tile, I knew instantly that it could be used to find missing children," says Wirs. "I doubt anything quite like this has been done before, but I suspect this is just the beginning of websites created expressly for combining the power of social networking, Internet word-of-mouth and compassionate humanitarian causes."

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