Fourteen years ago, Mark Horvath was in crisis. The former exec was living on the streets in Hollywood, California, where for a dollar he let people take a photograph of his pet iguana, named Dog.
"I was sitting by the Chinese theater with my iguana, surrounded by Asian tourists, with my head down, thinking, 'How am I going to get out of this?' " said Horvath, whose nickname was the "Lizard Man of Hollywood Boulevard."
Last month, Horvath returned to Hollywood Boulevard, this time as a featured speaker at the 140 Characters Conference, a Twitter-inspired gathering attended by movers and shakers in social media. Horvath told the audience how he uses an arsenal of social networking sites - Twitter, Facebook, Whrrl, MySpace, YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr - to illuminate the plight of the nation's homeless.