Speaking In Seattle Next Week – Gonna Be A Whrrl Of A Time!

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I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled onto Whrrl. Seems that since I’m primarily a storyteller any tool that can help tell a story attracts my attention. InvisiblePeople.tv is all about people’s stories yet some of the most powerful stuff happens before I hit the record button. I’m constantly looking for new ways of telling the story within the story.

whrll3At first I didn’t get Whrrl and broadcast some feedback over twitter. Yikes, be careful whenever you do that, ya just may get a response! Whrrl listens and immediately engaged me into conversation. I was a little shocked and to be honest standoffish. Lots of brands talk about listening, but from my experience it is still very rare. Plus, I didn’t want to come across as this weirdo “homeless guy” complainer.

John Kim actually took the time to call me. But wait! He really listened to me. I have unique needs for what I do and I don’t believe Whrrl originally planned on my style of storytelling! Right from the start I saw the potential in Whrrl and was very impressed someone would take the time to speak to little ol’ me!

For the next two weeks I played around with the app yet it wasn’t until I traveled to Sacramento’s tent cities that I got serious about Whrrl. You can see those Whrrl stories here. To be completely honest I was shocked by the response the stories received. Finally Whrrl gave me what I needed to tell the ‘other’ story.

I started to wrestle with driving around the country this summer giving homelessness a face and a voice. It was really just an idea when Heather Meeker called with great news. Whrrl came up with a sponsorship proposal and the InvisiblePeople.tv Road Trip U.S.A was set in motion. Whrrl was the first sponsor to believe in me and I’ll be forever grateful.

Now here’s the really cool part: Heather said she’d like to join me handing out socks to my homeless friends. WHAT! Sure enough in about a weeks’ time along with our friend Wm. Marc Salsberry we headed on down to Skid Row. Ok, Whrrl listens, now they want to go with me and hand out socks! How cool is that! You can see the Whrrl story here.

About two weeks ago Whrrl offered to fly me into Seattle and asked me to speak. I agreed under one condition, can you guess? Yup, I must hang with my homeless peeps. I most definitely am a little whacked. Most people when they visit a new city want to visit tourist sites! Well, most ‘normal’ people anyway!

pinktentsIt’s interesting that I’ve wanted to visit Seattle for some time now. I’ve looked at a map trying to figure how I could make that a stop on the tour. Too far north so I thought it was a wash. Also interesting is the tent city story that national media never picked up. (Oprah, ya need to address the issue and not just a region!) ‘Nickelsville’ homeless camp I believe has been moved 7 times and currently is a political hotbed. I’m used to walking into this type of situation yet I know it’s not for everyone! Now get this, John and Heather are going with me! That is AWESOME!

Thanks to Eugene Cho‘s help I was connected to Dustin and Jeff who started the Church Outside. The Church Outside is a gathering every Monday night in ‘Nickelsville’. I am so excited. I talked to Dustin today and he told me about all the great things that are going on. For one they try and create a welcoming environment for what he calls “roof challenged” or “nonhoused”. The service if you will is about providing a place for people to speak openly. I LOVE IT! Most church services are one-way. Preachers yelling at ya for an hour then you go home. There is no healing in that! What I noticed even just by talking to Dustin is he has a broken heart for the hurting. I’m very excited about connecting with him.

Those that know me will tell you that I don’t hold punches and I don’t ‘kiss’. Whrrl is the real deal. I am impressed with their professionalism and customer service, yet I am in awe of the company’s heart. In any cause marketing campaign there needs to be return on investment. But to be a successful relationship that affects real change everyone needs to be in it for all the right reasons. Whrrl is helping me tell the homeless story for all the right reasons.

If you’re in Seattle this Wednesday join us for ‘Social Media Can Save the DayClick here to RSVP and find more info on the Pelago blog. An evening of interactive communication about the cause and how we can use social media to make big things happen for good. I took a little extra time to write about some of the history on how this tweetup came about. Because of how my relationship with Whrrl started, and that John and Heather will be going to the tent cities with me, I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing night for all!


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