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Is Cyber-Begging Becoming A Culture?

Ariyike Akinbobola, in her Ariyike Weekly vlog, recently talked about a trend she had noticed on the Internet where people are found begging for money or free stuff in this video:

“It’s a different thing,” she said, “if you are trying to raise money on Go Fund Me for a sick person or for a genuine cause.” To her, it is good to support those causes, as they are a good use of social media. However, some people only go on the pages of celebrities and influencers to ask for money to pay their fees or bills. She thinks that social media is actually breeding a new generation of beggars. They cannot go to their family members or personal friends for help, and when these celebrities refuse or are unable to help them, they get violent and write horrible things to them, forgetting that these celebrities are human beings who have their own problems. We need to understand that everyone has their problems. The fact that they are posting photos and videos of “the good life” doesn’t mean that it’s all rosy in reality. No normal person likes putting their problems out there. These people might actually also need money.

She is not far from the truth as these things happen every single day, on social media sites, from Facebook, to Twitter and Instagram. You see cases of people asking for retweets for free items from known brands.

Internet begging, cyber-begging or e-begging is the online version of traditional begging, asking strangers for money to meet immediate and other needs or wants (money, food, and shelter). Internet begging differs from street begging in that it can be practiced with relative anonymity, thereby eliminating or reducing the shame and disgrace apparent of begging in public.

There is a new trend on Twitter, for instance, where people ask brands “How many retweets for a free…?” These brands then offer them the desired (often times expensive) item for a ridiculous number of retweets that these people may never meet up with, and get free advertising from them in exchange for nothing. There have also been situations where those asking get the number of retweets and the brands do not meet up with their own end of the agreement. When this trend first went viral, it was nice to watch. However, as with all things when they are abused, it got out of hand. It is hard to say just how much retweets are worth, and we see brands feeding off people’s followers, getting publicity for a product, and getting up to hundreds of thousands of retweets.

Cyber-begging comes in many forms, and can even hide under giveaways, or trends like the ones listed above. It is thought to leave room for laziness, and even cyberbullying when these demands are not met. And that is often very unpleasant to watch. You even see those who make it their business to complain until they get a free meal or Uber ride.

These events leave one to wonder whether this is a new culture people online are adopting, how long it will continue, and where it will lead to.

What do you think?

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