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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default Homeless Hotspots

    Good idea or exploiting the homeless?


    AUSTIN, Texas ? A charitable marketing program that paid homeless people to carry Wi-Fi signals at South By Southwest has drawn widespread debate at the annual Austin conference and around the country.

    BBH Labs, a unit of the global marketing agency BBH, gave 13 people from Austin's Front Steps Shelter mobile Wi-Fi devices and T-shirts that announced "I am a 4G Hotspot." The company paid them $20 up front and a minimum of $50 a day for about six hours work, said Emma Cookson, chairwoman of BBH New York.

    She called the experiment a modernized version of homeless selling street newspapers. All of the money paid for Wi-Fi ? an often difficult thing to find at SXSW ? went to the participants, who were selected in partnership with Front Steps. ($2 was the recommended donation for 15 minutes of use.)

    But many have called the program exploitive. Wired.com wrote that it "sounds like something out of a darkly satirical science-fiction dystopia." Technology blog ReadWriteWeb called it a "blunt display of unselfconscious gall." The topic became one of the most popular in the country on Twitter by Tuesday.

    Critics have claimed the experiment turned homeless people into inanimate objects for the benefit of well-heeled techies. In an online op-ed, The Washington Post wondered "Have we lost our humanity?"
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1342972.html
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    I'm sorry I just don't get it. What could be bad about giving a homeless person a job if even only for a few hours?
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    Posting Addict culturedmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    I'm sorry I just don't get it. What could be bad about giving a homeless person a job if even only for a few hours?
    I would agree with you if they were a company that valued giving jobs to homeless people in general and in all areas. How many jobs in other areas have they given to homeless people? Until they convince me they embrace helping solve the homeless problem as a business and not just interested in exploiting a person with no choices, I can't get behind this idea.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturedmom View Post
    I would agree with you if they were a company that valued giving jobs to homeless people in general and in all areas. How many jobs in other areas have they given to homeless people? Until they convince me they embrace helping solve the homeless problem as a business and not just interested in exploiting a person with no choices, I can't get behind this idea.
    So it would have been ok if they had hired college students or someone else to do this, but because it was a homeless person that needed the money it is exploitive?
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Yeah something about it kind of rubs me the wrong way and does feel exploitive.

    The comparison to the newspapers doesn't seem accurate to me. It was my understanding that the paper that the homeless sold was kind of a business all with the intent of finding a way to help out the homeless community..and they were doing more than just selling. But maybe that last part is just made up in my head.

    This is the paper I am thinking of:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spare_Change_News

    That doesn't bother me...this does even if i can't really place my finger on why.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturedmom View Post
    I would agree with you if they were a company that valued giving jobs to homeless people in general and in all areas. How many jobs in other areas have they given to homeless people? Until they convince me they embrace helping solve the homeless problem as a business and not just interested in exploiting a person with no choices, I can't get behind this idea.
    By the way that might have been the case to where they expanded the idea into other areas had not everyone made such a big deal out of it being exploitive. Now they probably won't do it again. No one loses except for the homeless that could have had some honest work. But we wouldn't want that would we because we want the homeless to stay in their place and ask for handouts instead of doing something productive.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post
    Yeah something about it kind of rubs me the wrong way and does feel exploitive.

    The comparison to the newspapers doesn't seem accurate to me. It was my understanding that the paper that the homeless sold was kind of a business all with the intent of finding a way to help out the homeless community..and they were doing more than just selling. But maybe that last part is just made up in my head.

    This is the paper I am thinking of:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spare_Change_News

    That doesn't bother me...this does even if i can't really place my finger on why.
    So how is that different from this:
    http://homelesshotspots.org/
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    So how is that different from this:
    http://homelesshotspots.org/
    The newspaper you mean?

    I feel like its different because its more dignified and empowering in some ways. The homeless have the opportunity to take the money the may have and turn it into more. They are involved in more than just selling too, they are involved in the process of making the paper. I feel simply by the nature of the business model it has a more dignified aspect to it.

    Walking around with a hot spot device to me does not feel the same...especially with the t-shirt. Its less dignified...it feels like they are treating them like an object, a tool of sorts and nothing more.

    Is it a fine line? Something kind of grey? Yes it is. The different isn't huge...but its big enough that one makes me feel like its a lot better than the other.

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    Posting Addict culturedmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    By the way that might have been the case to where they expanded the idea into other areas had not everyone made such a big deal out of it being exploitive. Now they probably won't do it again. No one loses except for the homeless that could have had some honest work. But we wouldn't want that would we because we want the homeless to stay in their place and ask for handouts instead of doing something productive.
    Yes Gloria, that is exactly what I want. Sometimes I even like to go downtown and kick them while they sleep just to remind them of how little I think of them.

    I will give you the chance to explain yourself a little better and I will assume for the time being that you were not talking aout me personally and my feeligns on homelessness because if I take it that way we will have a BIG problem.
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    I'd also like to say, lets not pretend that this is some sort of heroic measure that will help bring droves of people out of homelessness and poverty.

    It won't...it will give them some cash, when SXSW is putting on an event.

    This measure does nothing to work *against* keeping the homeless in their place really...not saying it may not have been well intentioned. Just saying lets not make it into something it never was.

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