Networking

Homeless Man Builds Online Movement

He may not have a home, but Eric Sheptock has Twitter and Facebook accounts, an email address, and two blogs—and he uses them all to advocate for Washington, D.C.’s homeless population. Sheptock, a former crack addict, has been on the streets for 15 years and has become a thorn in the side of the city’s public administrators, constantly needling them to improve the city’s homeless problem. His use of social media—he spends five to six hours a day online at libraries—has given him a voice and even a modest income through paid blog posts and related speeches. "We have mechanisms in place to respond when there are problems, but oftentimes we don't know that those problems exist," says Scott McNeilly of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, who Sheptock often lobbies.