Major Controversy at the SXSW Festival in Austin: Using the Homeless as Internet Hotspots

Mar 14, 2012  •  Post A Comment

"Probably the biggest story out of South by Southwest so far is a controversial charitable program that turned some of Austin’s homeless people into living, breathing wireless hotspots," writes Matt Creamer in Advertsing Age.

The story adds that "participants got a stipend above Texas minimum wage and were allowed to keep donations made by the Wi-Fi users."

That article says: "Part of the strategic backdrop for BBH’s idea is that street news, the genre of newspapers created and distributed by and for homeless people, needs a digital updating. Wrote BBH’s Mr. Radia: ‘Like any print publication, these newspapers are under duress from the proliferation of digital media. How often do you see someone "buy" a paper, only to let the homeless individual keep it? This not only prevents the paper from serving as a tool for the individual to avoid begging, but it proves how little value people actually place on the publication itself. Yet the model isn’t inherently broken. It’s simply the output that’s archaic in the smartphone age.’"

Please go to the entire Ad Age article to read various opinions of this controversial program.


Your Comment

Email (will not be published)