I really don’t know where to start because I have so many stories about social media changing my life and providing a tool to help others. Plus, to be honest, I hate writing about myself. I am also emotionally and physically exhausted right now!
I am typing this at the front desk of a homeless shelter where I am temping for the day. For the most part I have been unemployed since November, 07. Hard to imagine I’ve lasted 19 months! Crazy! I did have two jobs during that period both only lasting three months. I lost my house to foreclosure two months ago and I literally have lived without an income since the middle of March. As God as my witness my fridge only has a few bottles of water and some mayo – that’s it! If it was not for the people who network with me on Twitter and Facebook I don’t even want to think about where I’d be. It still slams my mind that I exist right now only because of the generous hearts who follow me via social media.
Sitting at the front desk of any homeless services organization may be the worst job in the world. It’s not the tremendous patience needed to deal with hurting people but having to turn people away that wrecks me. I am not a fit for this job. Again being honest; if I wasn’t in crisis and needed money I would never sit here. The stories alone will tear apart the hardest heart. Jenny, the girl who usually sits here is an angel, traffic cop and concierge all rolled into one! I love this shelter and believe it’s one of the best. There is just not enough help for all the hurt so the person sitting here is saying no far more than yes!
I only say all that not to get sympathy but so you’ll know how much social media has impacted my life. Also, as a little disclaimer, if some of this post is a little off – I am beat! Insane as it is I just returned from a few days in Seattle making new homeless friends and speaking at a tech firm about social media for social good. Me, the unemployed guy with no food or income traveling to Seattle! Crazy! Whrrl invited me up and treated me like real family! The history and reasons behind the trip I blogged about here. Takepart.com also wrote a great post you can read here. What gets me excited is how much social media can affect real change and how tech companies like Whrrl are providing the tools for nonprofits to tell their stories.
I’m a storyteller who likes to use media to help tell a story. Whenever I go do my thing social media goes along with me. Homelessness.Change.org and Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog are only two of many blogs that wrote about my visit to Seattle’s tent cities. Below is the embed Whrrl story, “Nickelsville in Seattle. Day 1”
Please know I never planned on any of this. After seeing so much hurt I just had to do something so I started InvisiblePeople.tv with only $45, a laptop (that cannot even cut video), iPhone and Twitter. I started to use twitter for one reason – free! How I use social media is I try and tell a story and engage people to join me for the adventures. I never dreamed people on twitter would be helping me with food and rent!
I am honored that so many great blogs from many different countries have written about me and InvisiblePeople.tv. Here are two Mashable posts that relate the most to social media:
5 People Who Broke the Rules of Social Media and Succeeded – please see my comment
Then just now I found a post by one of my heroes Danny Brown who instead of putting me in a nonprofit category classified me under social media! WOW! (Thanks Danny)
Here is the deal. The world is a mess and if I think about it long enough I’ll go nuts. I have a choice: I can get depressed or I can take action to help others. Twice in my life I chased money and I failed. When your priority is helping other people you can only succeed! I cannot help the people in NY or Florida but I can help the hurting directly in front of me. In addition, I can hopefully show the nonprofit world it does not take huge marketing budgets to affect real change. Be real and tell a good story, social media will do the rest!
THANK YOU social media for saving my life and helping me to help others!