It’s a shame, but New York City has a lot of homeless people. All too often passersby simply avert their eyes and keep moving when they approach a homeless individual on the street. In an effort to bring more awareness to the issue, a New York ad agency gave four homeless people each a cell phone and Twitter accounts to share their stories.
The four individuals are Albert @albert814, Carlos @jessie550, Danny @putodanny, and Derrick @awitness2011. And their stories are really quite amazing. For example, Carlos has a Master’s degree and was a paralegal for almost 30 years. He lost his apartment after medical bills added up after a car accident and had to move out. And, Danny was able to reconnect with his 27 year old daughter after being separated for the past 11 years. Albert was offered a job to start rebuilding his life as a results of the social media experiment.
This project is the brainchild of three interns at Bartle Bogle Hegarty – Robert Weeks, Rosemary Melchoir, and Willy Wang, all in their early 20s. They were challenged to come up with something big and that’s how they thought up “Unheard in New York.” The company gave them $1,000 to get started.
The overall goal is to get a social interaction moving and bring more attention on the homeless problem that the United States faces everyday. The project does have its critics, however. Many wonder why all these four people were given were cell phones – why not a meal or a chance to move into a more permanent home? The men don’t see it the same way, just read one of Derrick’s tweets:
- “Twitter is giving me an opertunity to share my experiences and the source of my streangth, and reason for my hope with others.”
In the several weeks the project has been going, each man has almost 3,000 followers.
– Lance Grooms