Homeless Find Voice On Twitter

If you search on Twitter for “homeless” you may be surprised by the results. There are organizations listed that support homeless people, but there are also homeless folks – quite a few of them actually. And not just formerly homeless, but those currently living in shelters or spending their nights outside.

There is Mark Horvath, possibly the most well-known formerly homeless person around, sharing ideas and advocating for those currently homeless via Invisible People where he “empowers homeless people to tell their own stories.”


But have you heard about Gary aka John Doe? Rather than reading a “boring paragraph trying to explain who I am,” Gary’s website, Homeless in Boston, directs readers to this story on Boston.com that leads off like this:

Gary Johnston says he once worked as an executive sous chef creating dishes at a hip Manhattan bistro. He spent his time, he says, playing his acoustic Ibanez guitar, eating crab sushi and enjoying the colorful culture in his native Brooklyn.

Ten years later, Johnston now calls a homeless shelter in Cambridge home. His days are filled with therapy appointments. He eats at soup kitchens and bundles up in thrift store layers to face the brutal weather.

Regardless of where he started out, where he has ended up is clear. And he now focuses on tweeting about his life and raising funds and other resources for his outreach events. His next event is happening this weekend, actually.

And then there’s Carey Fuller, a homeless mom, single mother of two actually, located “somewhere in Seattle” and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health services administration. She’s a relentless advocate and really tuned in to the homeless community – as her Twitter feed and blog will attest.

Twitter? Blogs? It may all make you wonder what’s going on. And you may think that these folks are just hustling to earn a buck, and they may be (just like the rest of us) – but each appears to be very dedicated to the homeless community, with each working to benefit not only themselves, but the homeless community at large as well.

Can the rest of us say the same? Some could, no doubt, but the majority of us? Likely not. Doesn’t that seem a bit selfish in comparison, really?

Update: Earlier readers will note that “Homeless Bill” has been removed from this post. Turns out it is a parody account and is NOT using dry humor to raise funds/awareness. Thanks to Mark Horvath for pointing this out!

(Homeless image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong maryclong@digitalmediaghost.com Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.