Gary aka John Doe
Spare Change News
One thing that separates just about any modern-day scenario from the past is our ability now to reach out to others on a global level. Just about anyone with a need, a service to offer, or a voice to be heard can reach the world. People can make great changes within the system, and spark awareness to more people than ever before.
This is the power of social media, and with this power I’ve been growing stronger, more connected to resources, and able to reach out to help others in ways I never dreamed of.
This very paper’s mantra is Homeless Empowerment, and after attending the Social Media Strategies Summit a couple of weeks back, I’ve never been more empowered.
Fact is, there is a large movement in non-profit organizations right now to use social media to reach out to help more people than ever, on a grand scale. With this comes a refreshing mindset to integrate to the business world.
While attending this conference I was blown away by everyone’s reaction to me and my situation. The sad fact is that, being homeless, I constantly encounter people who are supposed to be working to help homeless people, yet no longer see the potential in an individual. Yet I sat with marketing people, best-selling authors, leaders of industry, and all they saw in me was a man using every tool at my disposal to rise above my situation and help others do the same. They had a genuine interest in the cause, an ability to look beyond stereotypes, and a willingness to help inspire me, as well as to allow themselves to be inspired by me.
I guess it comes to the old adage “Knowledge is power,” because with global communication at our fingertips, we’re being exposed to more, and can see that individuals can indeed make a difference, sometimes just as effectively as organizations and agencies.
Two weekends before the conference I had thrown an event in Cambridge where we fed and clothed a ton of people on the streets. I had tried to acquire some newspapers to distribute my article at the event, but I got intercepted by a “social worker” who claimed that as a homeless person I didn’t the ability or even the right to organize something to help fellow homeless people in need.
Funny that a social worker can’t see my ability and drive, yet everyone at the social media conference could. The support I received from them on a personal level, and for the cause, was humbling. Thanks to the kindness of people that I’ve met via social media I was able to pull this off without a hitch, and I am now working towards setting up more regular outreach events.
I’ve touched on this before, but with all the technology available there is nothing that can stop someone from reaching out to find like-minded people to work with toward a common goal, with a simple “strength in numbers” approach. We can tell our stories, and pitch our causes to millions of people in a single click of the mouse, or touch of the screen; as well as listen and learn of others.
As a society, I can’t help but feel that we are now more self-aware, and more in tune with others, than we’ve ever been, thanks to the power of social media.
Last issue I told you how I never would have imagined the opportunities I’ve gotten, and friends I’ve made, from social media, and I’m back in this issue to tell you that two weeks ago I couldn’t dream of what’s been coming my way today.
I don’t want to go on a moralistic “call to arms” here, but we now have the means of joining together across the world to effectively making drastic change. So please ask yourself what YOU can do, and if you still don’t know, jump online and find countless options.
If you want to know how to help right here locally, contact the paper or reach out to me at HomelessLife.com, @BostonHomeless, or if you have no online access, simply text the word “Homeless” to 50500 to contact me.
We are in the streets, we’re online, we’re right next to you without you knowing. We can help you, so don’t be afraid to reach out to others.
GARY AKA JOHN DOE blogs at http://HomelessLife.com