At 20 years old, I have never thought about what it is like to be homeless. I grew up in a middle class family, with a supportive parents that help me pay for college, and I have saved enough money from working to afford my rent. So to come to class today and have a guest speaker named Angela Gargano tell us about the issue of homelessness in Madison Wisconsin, where I go to college, was truly an eye opener. Angela came in and told us about Friends of State Street Families, an organization in the Madison area to help families and individuals who are affected by homelessness everyday. When we were learning about Friends of State Street Families, we were spreading awareness of this cause with our Twitter followers by live tweeting. Live tweeting about this charity was very beneficial, but also heartbreaking at the same time. Although it may seem heartbreaking tweeting about such a huge issue that takes place right in front of us, getting this information out via Twitter was extremely powerful. It enabled us to share the information we learned with a large audience and helped make a big impact in a short amount of time.
It was not challenging in itself to come up with tweets about Friends of State Street families, because we learned so much during such a short time. The challenge that went along with tweeting about this cause were hearing the hard, sad facts about the effect of homelessness in our community. Statistic after statistic of depressing information and stories we heard in class were just heart wrenching to hear, and even more difficult to tweet. But to spread awareness about this cause, information like this needs to shared in order for people to realize the seriousness if it in our community. The statistic that really stood out to me the most was that the average age for a homeless person is just nine years old. How sad is that? Tweeting that information to my followers was something that at first, I did not want to tweet. Not many people want to hear about depressing news such as that statistic. This is due to the fact that the news and media do not want to cover homelessness in their communities.The Friends of State Street Families has a very great website, if you want to read specifically more facts about homelessness, click here.
If there is one thing we learned in class so far this semester, is that social media can be an extremely powerful tool. Live tweeting in class about Friends of State Street Families confirmed this fact. The first time that we live tweeted in class, my followers from outside our class did not engaged with my tweets whatsoever. But, during this live tweeting session I had friends from home and others engaging in my tweets by favoriting, retweeting and even replying to my tweets. To me this was fantastic, because not only was I spreading awareness for homelessness in Madison, but my tweets were affecting my other followers who do not even live in Madison. Also, the first day that we live tweeted I actually lost followers, but live tweeting today I actually gained two followers. With this being said, live tweeting for Friends of State Street Families was beyond beneficial to not only myself, but for my followers to spread awareness about homelessness. Maybe it will even influence them to try to make a difference in their community when it comes to homelessness.
Although live tweeting for this cause was challenging at times, I am beyond glad that we did this in class today. Even though we heard things that we did not want to hear, posting via Twitter can help spread the message in a quick, and powerful way. I have not been volunteering my time in the community as much as I should be, and after class today, I think I am going to see what I can do to help Friends of State Street Families. If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer or donate items to this organization, please visit the Friends of State Street Families website for more information.