According to a report by BBC News Joanne Mehaffey used Twitter as a way of communicating the message that her mother had gone missing and the micro blogging site is being credited as being the reason why she was able to eventually find her mother.
Her mother, Diane, had gone out to walk her dogs in the morning at 9am but after several hours she had still not returned to her home and her family were becoming worried about her well being especially as she suffers from Alzheimers.
Joanne Mehaffey was not in the area at the time and used Twitter as a means of passing on the information about her missing mother as she travelled back to the area to search for her mother herself.
She tweeted a picture of her mother along with the message: “This is my mum & she’s gone #missing. Help try & bring her home safe #missing #belfast #plsRT #alzheimers” and then waited to see if a positive result could come from it.
Joanne told the BBC: “I love Twitter and I love Facebook and I needed as many people as possible to see mum’s picture to speed up her being found. I knew I needed to do it sooner rather than later.
“While she would not have necessarily wanted everyone to know that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s, I needed her brought home, and if that meant I needed to share it, I was going to share it.
“I knew that Twitter was a powerful tool. I just needed one person to see her and that’s what happened.”
Another Twitter fan was key to located her mother and it was Christina McStravick in Lisburn who saw the Tweet.
She told the BBC: “I was sitting about six o’clock in the living room, watching TV, and I noticed a woman walking past the window with two dogs,” she said.
“She seemed a wee bit dazed and kind of caught my attention but I didn’t think anything of it.
“Literally, 30 seconds later I was on Twitter. I saw that Oscar (Knox) had retweeted Joanne’s poster.
“I jumped in the car, drove round and drove slowly past Diane. I didn’t want to scare her but I realised it was her.”
Because she was aware of the situation she was able to act calmly and she managed to persuade Diane to come into her home and have a cup of tea while she called the police and Joanne to let them know that she had found her mother safe and well.
Joanne spoke of her appreciation of the help and the power of social media in emergencies: “My mother had walked about eight miles. We would never have thought she was there.
“My husband says he’s a Twitter widow, but Twitter and the kindness of strangers brought my mum home.”