GraphicMail Gives Homeless Man a Sponsored Account

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Global email marketing service provider, GraphicMail, has offered a homeless man, Eric Sheptock, a sponsored email marketing account to help him advocate the rights of homeless Americans. Sheptock creates a voice for a marginilized minority using online media to spread his message and engage the public in his cause.

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In spite of not making much money as a homeless advocate, I've amassed much social capital. And that can prove to be more valuable than any amount of money.

Since June 2006 Erick Sheptock, a homeless man from Washington D.C., has made it his vocation to raise public awareness about the lives and conditions of the homeless. He harnessed the tools at his disposal – blogging, social networks and now email marketing - proving just how accessible and far-reaching these tools can be.

Apparently it all started on Twitter but soon expanded to Facebook and his blog, Tick Tock Eric Sheptock. He reaches out to his 5,000 Facebook friends and 1,424 Twitter followers on a daily basis.

If you’re expecting an uninformed rant blaming all and sunder for his homelessness, you’ll be disappointed with his work. His blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates are topical, informed and he presents his case well. It’s not idle work either – he’s managed to effectively reach officials and resolves problems brought forward to him by community members on a daily basis. According to his blogger profile, his aim is “to end homelessness [by] making housing a ‘realized’ human right”. (He categorizes himself as a Marxist and actively studies and debates socialist theories.)

Sheptock has himself been homeless since 1995. Since starting his efforts, he’s definitely seen the exposure present him new opportunities. It’s lead to public speaking opportunities (at universities, on television and radio), working with STREATS (an organization of homeless individuals Striving To Reach Educate And Transform Society’s views on homelessness, founded by Gregory Wragg) and becoming a representative of the National Coalition for the Homeless.

He does manage to earn some cash from his endeavors, but it’s not enough. However, while Eric, in his blog post of 26 November 2010, states that he has the opportunity to train himself in a blue-collar vocation, he chooses to stand by his efforts. An adept writer and public speaker, he enjoys crafting these talents and the purpose of his cause. According to Eric, he simply cannot let his community down. “In spite of not making much money as a homeless advocate, I've amassed much social capital. And that can prove to be more valuable than any amount of money.”

After reading an article published by the Washington Post on Eric’s life and cause, as well as his digital dealings, GraphicMail contacted him to find out if he’d be interested in expanding his campaign into email. He accepted the offer of a sponsored email marketing account and is now busy creating his first mailing lists and plans on conducting his first send within the next few days. Given his social success, an email campaign could be the perfect way to build closer personal connections and engagement with his followers, and also help him to reach a wider network of interested parties.

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Barbara Ulmi
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