A woman in Utah was held hostage for 16 hours by a gunman who kept posting to Facebook and even posted photos of the two of them he took with his camera phone. His Facebook page become a popular stop for friends and family, as well as other people weighing in with their two cents worth.
Jason Valdez, a 36 year-old from Ogden, Utah, took the woman – known as Veronica – hostage Friday and held her for 16 hours before the police stormed the motel room they were in, saving the hostage as Valdez shot himself in the chest. The wound wasn’t fatal and he is now in the hospital.
What makes this story stand out is the use of Facebook by the gunman to communicate with friends and family – including one that warned him of police in the bushes near his room. “Thank you homie. Good looking out,” was Valdez’s reply. One has to wonder if the police will use this to arrest the person giving the warning.
Posting a couple of pictures of himself with his hostage – stating “Got a cute hostage huh?” also turned the situation in to more of a circus.
The scary implications of the event was how many people got involved in conversations. Friends offering support, family members telling him to be smart and hundreds of others who just had to get involved – sort of like the people who gather at a crime scene, only virtually in this instance.
On the marketing side, there were a few people spamming the comments though I did not see any lawyers trying to sell him the legal representation he is going to need.
Valdez had left his Facebook account open to public comments so they came out of the woodwork. Harsh statements, racist comments, and conversations that went off on tangents filled his and others posts to him. One post had 700 comments, and others over a hundred each.
For a person with only 167 friends on Facebook, Valdez got comments from all over the world. But when you use a public forum to broadcast your words you risk drawing comments from all sorts of people, including a lot who aren’t going to say nice things about you.