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Topic: social media
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May 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Forty-five bucks, a backpack and a Twitter account.
That’s all it took for Mark Horvath — more widely known in the Twitter-verse as @hardlynormal — to find his calling as an advocate for the homeless. His story reinforces my belief in that old cliche: one person truly can make a difference, especially when the medium is the Internet and the messenger is a former television marketing guru.
I heard Horvath speak Tuesday night at a Social Media Club of Seattle event in South Lake Union. He doesn’t sugar-coat his own struggles. Horvath says his passion comes from experience. He has found himself living among the homeless. Though he could get a desk job these days, the Los Angeles native prefers traveling the country and using his social media prowess to raise awareness about the key ingredients to ending homelessness: housing, jobs and health services.
The way Horvath tells it, he was once a skeptic of Twitter. But he began to see it as a tool for gathering donations and giving the homeless a megaphone to share their stories. His tweets have proven so effective that Ford Motor Company has sponsored his cross-country drives to collect stories from homeless people. Hanes has donated 2 million pairs of socks (which is how he often breaks the ice with the subjects of his interviews). He created InvisiblePeople.tv, as a place to post videos of the people he encounters. Seeing and hearing them speak is powerful and adds some nuance to a common notion of homelessness as an issue that only afflicts veterans, alcoholics and drug addicts.
Since arriving in the Emerald City a few days ago, he’s already put a human face on Seattle’s homeless epidemic. In the videos below, meet Laura, a mother of two living out of a tent, and Sabrina, a Spokane native who now lives under a bridge.
So what happens now? Horvath is a one-man machine, but he emphasizes everyone has the ability to listen to the homeless.
“We’re either maintaining homelessness, or ending homelessness,” he says. Clearly he’d prefer the latter, which means giving short-term things like food may not always be the best solution.
Horvath encourages us to help homeless people access resources. (Here’s a link to King County’s list of phone numbers and organizations.) He insists they are not “service-resistant,” but they are accustomed to roadblocks and need “tangible social interaction.”
May 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM
No word yet on whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has read or responded to his American friend Dennis Rodman’s Twitter plea to release Kenneth Bae, but we’re crossing our fingers the NBA legend’s personal efforts at diplomacy will somehow make a difference for the Lynnwood tour operator who’s been imprisoned since last November.
Rodman’s response Tuesday to my blog post last Friday asking him to exercise some “basketball diplomacy” has been picked up by news outlets around the world, including CNN, Foreign Policy, Sky News and The Times of London. Who knows if Rodman’s Twitter post to Kim Jong Un, whom he calls a “friend for life,” will be effective. I do know traditional diplomacy between government officials isn’t working too well (and the U.S. has no intention of formalizing relations with North Korea).
The New York Times reports North Korean officials are rejecting the notion they are using Bae as a “bargaining chip” or seeking a visit from a high-level American envoy. I have my doubts, but let’s attempt to take the politics out of this whole debacle and give the flamboyant Rodman a chance to work his charms for a peaceful outcome.
ICYMI, here’s Rodman’s original tweet:
I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him “Kim”, to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose.
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) May 7, 2013
Perhaps Kim Jong Un wants to save face as leader and prove he can be reasonable? OK, then someone he likes and respects needs to tell him there’s no benefit to keeping Kenneth Bae detained in a hard labor camp for 15 years. North Korea’s interests will be best-served by sending the man home on humanitarian grounds, as the current leader’s father, Kim Jong Il, did for previous American detainees.
Last week Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that her brother — a husband and father of three — has made frequent trips into North Korea from China without incident. Chung told Cooper he may have tried to feed orphans, but she is certain he meant no harm to the country. She revealed the family has only spoken to Bae once since he was detained six months ago.
“We just worry about my brother getting caught in between the political nature of this process, and we just pray and ask for leaders of both nations to please, just see him as one man caught in between,” she said during the May 2 interview. “We just ask that he be allowed to come home.”
Watch Terri Chung’s CNN appearance here:
The eccentric NBA hall-of-famer claims he developed a bond with Kim Jong Un after he traveled to North Korea in March with a Vice production team for an upcoming HBO documentary. At the time, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter wrote about the crew’s unprecedented access and the North Korean first family’s devotion to basketball and the Chicago Bulls.
I know it all sounds ridiculously simple, but let’s take advantage of this common interest in the NBA as a tool to ease tensions in the region and to learn more about Bae’s imprisonment.
April 23, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Dove sells soap, body cleansers, skin lotions and oils. That was until lately. The powerful brand has embarked upon a series of commercials that explore the precipitous minefield of women and self image.
The latest features a former forensic artist for a police department sketching a series of women hidden from view behind a curtain. Since the artist cannot see them, he must rely on their descriptions of hair length, facial structure, shape of the nose and other prominent features. The artist then asks women to describe the face of one another. The result, well, check out this Youtube version yourself.
March 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Big week for same-sex couples and the Supreme Court of the United States, huh?
My Facebook feed is blowing up with different versions of the Human Rights Campaign’s signature red “equal” logo. Many of us are changing our profile photos to mark the significance of this week’s arguments over the constitutionality of California’s same-sex marriage ban and the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act.
We’d love to share our take on the sign with you below. Feel free to use it as your social media profile photo:
The image above is also a reference to our editorial board’s “I Do” social media campaign last fall in support of Referendum 74, the measure that affirmed the state Legislature’s 2012 decision to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.
Though our state has made progress on this front, many Washingtonians are still subject to DOMA laws, meaning those who are in same-sex relationships and working for federal agencies cannot receive federal benefits. Within state boundaries, federal employers include seven military bases, the Department of Energy’s Hanford site, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Attorney’s office, etc.
Our state should be proud to be one of nine states to recognize marriage rights for all, but we still have work to do to ensure full and fair rights at every level of government.
Let’s hope the highest court in the land helps us move this dialogue forward in a positive way.