Homeless people equal 4G Wi-Fi hotspot: Brilliant idea or downright demeaning

An unconventional experiment which involved using homeless people as 4G mobile wi-fi hotspots has gather a lot of crowd at the SXSW happening at Austin, TX. The project is defined as a “Charitable Experiment“.

A lot of homeless men equipped with Verizon MiFi’s wearing specially printed t-shirts which say, for eg., “Hi, my name is Clarence, I am a 4G hotspot, SMS HH Clarence TO 25827 for access” with a URL of the Homeless Hotspots website. It suggested that public pay $2 for 15 minutes Wi-Fi access to the internet. Suddenly, a lots of sparks generated around the world as the news spread, some thought of it as an awesome idea, which may help the homeless people, while other called it downright demeaning. Humans being used as a marketing tools, the Twitter-verse’s reaction were liek “what has this world come to?” and accused the project of being a “gimmick”.

Launched as a ‘beta test’ by advertising firm BBH Labs said “there’s an insane amount of chatter about this, which although certainly villainises us, in many ways is good for the homeless people we’re trying to help”, on their blog.

The advertising firm, apparently says that it is trying to modernise the concept of street newspapers, which are created and sold by homeless people. Instead of selling a newspaper, the homeless person now sells Internet access as well as access to the newspaper’s content.

When the idea was pitched it got a lot of attention and appreciation, while after a while it was mocked, “My homeless hotspot keeps wandering out of range,” wrote one before going onto add “by literally labeling the person as a ‘hotspot’, you are priming an affluent, iPad-toting public to think of that person as a commodity”. Another person said: “Helping hipsters check their email is not charitable, in fact it’s potentially dangerous and detrimental to the situation the people on the street are facing.”

BBH Labs Director of Innovation Saneel Radia said, “It’s unfortunate how much information being shared is incorrect, this project is not selling a brand and there is no commercial benefit whatsoever to BBH Labs. Each of the Hotspot Managers keep all of the money they earn. The more they sell their own access, the more they as individuals make.” While we leave the final verdict to the people actually volunteering it, We think it’s an awesome idea, something is always better than nothing. What do you think about this stunt where People are being used as a commodity or a marketing tool. I think dignity of labor comes into picture here, no work is too small or too big. via: BBC

The DNetWorks Team