Social Media’s Power for Good: Helping an Elderly Father Find His Long-Estranged Daughter

The search for Mandy Hogben
September 11, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Michael Hogben posted a letter in a letter in a shop window in Kent, England—a long-shot, a last-ditch effort at finding his daughter, whom he had lost touch with nearly 30 years ago.

A passerby saw the letter and gave it a platform the 71-year-old Hogben had never imagined. That passerby took a photo and sent it out on Facebook. It spread to reach tens of thousands of people, who shared it hoping to help Hogben and his daughter reunite. That reunion hasn’t happened yet, but Hogben got a lead and has reached out to his daughter.

Someone sent him her address as a result of the online attention his plea received.

“I’m not on the internet,” he told the Daily Mail. “I had been looking and looking, walking around the town where she lives to try and see her, and I had had enough. I had spent years trying to do it subtly but it wasn’t getting anywhere, so I had to do something drastic.”

Having divorced his wife in the 1980s, he fell on hard times. He lacked steady employment for years and found it hard to travel and see his daughter. He assures his daughter in the letter that although he was distant, it hurt him to miss out on her life. He said, however, he understands if she does not want to reunite with him after so long and he wouldn’t want to push her to do so.