When Search Results are Murder; Balance Social Media, Optimize Life


This ‘back to school’ week marks 21 years since the Gainesville murders, when five innocent University of Florida students were brutally murdered by Danny Rollings just days before school started.

Up until eight years ago if you did a Google search for ‘Lisa Buyer’, some of the page-one search results were murder, literally.

Being last to talk to one of the victims, you could find headlines of media coverage with my name trailing from the day my friends’ (Tracy Paules and Manny Taboda) bodies were found in 1990. The murderous search results including my name run through the 1994 trial of their confessed murderer, at which I testified as a State witness against him, and through the 2006 execution of Rollings, which I attended with the families of the five victims.

Life in the social media fast lane is not for the faint at heart. It’s about who breaks the news first on Twitter, what Facebook Page post gets the most Likes, how many search results you control on page one of Google…With social media networks life can feel like, or actually is, a 24-hour marathon. It’s easy to get caught up, become obsessed, addicted and not know when to get off the hamster wheel to take a break.

But life and death can be a quick wake up call.

New beginnings like Microsoft’s Mel Carson’s new baby born this week or PR pro Sarah Evans’ birth of baby Evans last week and sudden endings like an untimely death forces us to stop and think. Sometimes we get so caught up in things like vicious deadlines, Klout scores, impressions, Click through rates, that we forget about the big picture of optimizing our lives.

Optimizing your Life. How do you want to be remembered?

I walked my nephew to the bus stop on his first day of high school last week because I took the time to do it. The photo taken of the two at the bus stop is now his Facebook profile picture. I would rather get the ‘Cool Aunt’ badge than the ‘Workaholic’ badge.

On Facebook yesterday Foiled Cupcakes Owner Mari Madden Luangrath wrote:
“Just found out that someone I know well enough passed away… IN APRIL. BIG wake up call for me to slow down and pay attention to things that actually matter.”

There is no replay in social media, or in life.
One of Mari’s friends responded to the post with the article
“The top five regrets people have on their deathbed.”

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. Wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

It is worth a full read.

Some, like my friend Tracy, don’t even have time to think about any of this because death comes so quickly, some have the time when diagnosed with something like cancer and some of us can realize it now, and start optimizing the time.

Once I started setting up my social media profiles and focusing on my own SEO, my murderous search results turned positive.

Moral of the story: Let social media work for you, not against you. Life is short.



  1. Lisa:
    You were a great friend to both, Manny and Tracy. Your article was written exquisitely well. From one public relations professional to another, I have to say that journalism and mixed media sometimes cannot portray all of the facts, understandably. However, the words you expressed regarding the “big picture” of “optimizing our lives” will remain a focal point in my mind, forever. Thank you for the wonderful article. Lots of love to you, Lisa.

    Leah Fein
    American Sr. High School
    Class of 1986


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