Teaching the Homeless About Social Media

Paris-based TV network France 24 is the latest outlet to check in with a story on Mark Horvath, a 49-year-old former Los Angeles marketing executive who faced the specter of homelessness back in 2008 after losing his job.

As part of one of the most proactive and innovative ways of responding to the Great Media Recession, Horvath decided to shine a light on the plight of the homeless across the nation via his now-ongoing project InvisiblePeople.tv. Remarkably, Horvath has now upped the ante with a second website, WeAreVisible.com, a hub that aims to teach the homeless how to use Twitter and Facebook, as well as how to blog their unique and powerful stories.

It’s a remarkable second chapter in a near-heroic effort by the laid off Horvath. He tells France24 that it was in Atlanta, where he one day spoke to a homeless woman living under a bridge and church officials kindly bringing her some food, that his whole perspective on how to help this disenfranchised class of citizens changed. “I used to think that any small thing you can do helps, but that day I came to the conclusion that sometimes one sandwich for one person isn’t enough,” he shares. “We need to join forces and act together to solve the bigger problem. And I’m convinced that social media networks can be a part of the solution.”

Hats off to Horvath. Thanks to InvisiblePeople.tv and WeAreVisible.com, the homeless have their own de facto news and communication home pages. Even better, support momentum is quickly building; on the WeAreVisibile Facebook page, news was shared yesterday of the receipt by Dayton, NV Horvath Nation helper Keifer Vezey of the birthday gift of a signed iPod from skateboarding superstar Tony Hawk.