Wow is all I can say to the generous folks who donated to help get to New York to attend the 140 Conference! I have to admit though that I am a little nervous as I’ve never been to a 140 before. True to my nature however, every new experience is an adventure to me so in many ways I am curious about the event more than anything. If someone had told me years ago that I would be a homeless blogger and advocate for the homelessness, I would’ve laughed in their faces. Yet here I am, getting ready to head to New York to attend the conference with Mark Horvath.
Never did it occur to me that the internet and social media could impact my life the way it has ever since I took a chance on writing a letter to Josie Raymond (a former editor with Change.org). I really did expect her to send my letter to the “oval file”. To my surprise she published that letter and even more surprising to me was the response that one letter generated. Not long after that some guy named Mark Horvath sent me an email with a copy of Josie’s email introducing him to me. Nothing in her letter indicated what it was I was supposed to do other than asking me if I ever heard of Mr. Horvath. Since I wasn’t sure what to do, I figured that if I just lay low and didn’t respond, he wouldn’t notice me. Hah! Boy was I wrong about that!
At first I was a little intimidated by Mark but after talking to him for awhile I realized he’s a real person like everyone else and he showed me how to set up a Twitter account and got me to join the We Are Visible community. He said to me “You know, once you do this, your life will never be the same.” That sentence has proven to be true. I had no idea how many people could be reached via social media. It is still a very surreal experience for me to Google my name and find how many different sites I’m on. The other thing is being able to reach out to people in different cities, states and countries which to me, keeps the experience human. I knew there were other folks going through the same situation as I was but I didn’t realize just how many were homeless until I started talking with them on Twitter, Facebook and my blog, careyfuller.com. I have also met a mix of non-homeless people, some who are sympathetic towards homeless and others who are completely misinformed. I find that social media is a very effective tool in educating the masses out of the commonly held stereotypes about homelessness and who the homeless are.
Now you may ask what it is I hope to get out of going to the 140 Conference and my answer is simple; I see the conference as an opportunity to learn all I can and maybe in return, others will learn that social media can be used to turn lives around. A big thank you to all the folks that chose to help me by donating to help me get my transmission fixed and for helping me get to New York!