SXSW is under way, with it’s film, music, and tech discussions leading the festivities. One of the insane ideas that has debuted is using homeless people as 4G (wireless internet) hotspots!!! All of the homeless people are wearing shirts with their names, declaring they are 4G hotspots, and for a PayPal donation, will give conference attendees internet access for as long as they want (via Buzz Feed).
There are 10 men in the campaign, called Homeless Hotspots, which was thought up by marketing firm BBH. There has been backlash by media outlets, but BBH has defended the campaign (as most campaign people do). The Austin advocacy group, FrontSteps, said it’s getting them a lot of attention, and is a new tool besides printed media for homeless to raise funds. This might be true – have you ever craved the newspaper the homeless sell you more than wireless internet?
Does this seem wrong to anyone? Sure, we all need Internet access, but it seems degrading to get wi-fi from a man without a home. So, is this a) a great new model for homeless people b) exploiting and insulting homeless people or c) great for SXSW folks, because I need internet access in Austin.
“Dusty is from Corpus Christi, TX. Dusty is extremely outgoing and considers himself a people person. He’s urgently looking for employment as he no longer collects unemployment benefits. PayPayl Dusty’s hotspot, or Venmo money to (646) 820-4281 and save us fees! Be sure to include which HotSpot. We suggest $2 per 15 minutes.”