Mark Horvath of Invisible People TV Receives GMC Terrain at SOBCon Chicago 2011
Mark, a Los Angeles storyteller and homeless activist, blogs at haRdLy NOrMal and vlogs at InvisiblePeople.tv. Sixteen years ago, Mark was homeless on the streets of Hollywood. Today, he works in marketing/communications and is an activist for the homeless.
Facing homelessness again after losing his job in this economy, Mark decided it was time to show Americans a close up and personal look at the people who are homeless in this country. Invisiblepeople.tv was born. In less than a year, it has become a social media phenomenon.
Mark is now on a road trip documenting the stories of homeless people, with the help of more than a dozen sponsors. That is where GM comes in…to make this trip a little more comfortable.
Mark is a poster boy for social media success. His attempt to raise awareness about poverty strictly using social media with zero budget has seen phenomenal return on investment. The InvisiblePeople.tv Road Trip is almost 100% the result of connections made via twitter.
He says: When I started Invisiblepeople.tv, I never ever said, “I’m going to use social media because….” I used twitter because – IT’S FREE! I’m your typical front page USA Today recession story. I’ve lost everything. Layoff, after layoff, after layoff, house lost to foreclosure. I did not, and still do not, have an operating budget. I use what I can afford and will give me real-time storytelling ability.
I so relate to this as I have been living beneath no means for three long years now. I lost my job as a magazine editor in May of 2008 and have never been able to return to that income level. Last year I just squeaked by, through the grace of God and a good friend.
In this interview with SMC’s Jennifer Cabala, Mark was asked: If a non-profit or advocacy group came to you about the best way to get their message out there what would you recommend? Marks response: A complete marketing and media strategy. Social media without strategy is a toy, not a tool. I may differ with many opinions, but some brands may not benefit from social media, so they should not buy into the hype. It all depends on who you are, your story, your audience and desired result!