Some hours ago there popped a video up on YouTube but I found it on Reddit as the video climbed directly to the first place in the “Reddit charts”. That means this video gonna get a lot of attention. The video is about a guy who tells a homeless man, that he can´t donate any money but a winner lottery ticket, although he is not sure how much he won. But it´s a joke as the lottery ticket is not a winning ticket and the kiosk owner is involved in the prank. But look for yourself…
Now, here the reason why I share this video too. It might look like a good deed and maybe it is meant to be a good deed and it makes me happy to see that a homeless gets 1000 Dollar but I feel there is a motive to this video. It might sound cynical but such videos are exactly what the mass want to see. Not that this video is going viral on Reddit, I promise you it will receive a lot of views from the YouTube search too due to this fact. And I bet it will go viral on other social media locations too. Don´t get me wrong, I am happy for the homeless and if the donator means it sincere, then it is a great idea but…
A touching video where somebody gives away $1000 to a homeless man is simply guaranteed to go viral. And this looks suspect to me. The video got a lot of positive comments and I understand it but there are also those who say that the video is created for personal gain and that the video could generate more than 10.000 Dollar of ad revenue if it has been seen a million times. You could still call it a win-win situation for both, the homeless and the video creator. But the question stays, is this all right?
Now, this seems to be a trend. Some people noticed that you can go viral with such heart-warming video stories. I´ve seen similar videos in the past. Do you remember the guy who taught a homeless how to code? The video went through all channels and it was a great example of viral success. The homeless allegedly coded a mobile application. The app is called “Trees for Cars” but do we really know if the homeless created the app or was it the guy who allegedly taught him how to code? However, the story went viral and the name of the app became known later too as there was still huge attention by big media magazines.
This means it is just logical that some people accuse that there is a bigger intention behind the videos. Some people even wrote that this is utilizing if poor people, to get as much people and media attention as possible.
As said, don´t get me wrong. These stories are incredible and if the intention is human kindness, then I do love it. But I don´t get the thought out of my head that this is not the reason and that the poor, the homeless people are just a tool to either generate revenue or to get a name, brand, product or anything else spread. The question must be allowed.
One thing is sure, such videos are highly targeted to a very big audience, as we all have emotions and as we all would love to see more human kindness. They are therefore very sharable as the stories hit our emotions directly. And this would be great, if there wouldn´t be the impression, that clever people found a new marketing ways to instantly jump-start a story, a campaign with the target to reach as much people as possible but with the aim of monetary gain over anything else. Could this be the other side of the coin? What do you think?
There are ads activated on the lottery ticket video and to be honest, as someone who has ads activated on his own website too, I am not someone who is strictly against the concept to get a little bit out of the efforts of creating content. It is in my opinion rather fair as we give something and that not without own costs, but I ask myself how far content creators should go? In the case of the lottery ticket video, I wonder if this is still ethical. Can you utilize poor people to get as much media exposure as possible? This is the question I ask. I mean, maybe this poor guy wouldn´t allow to be on camera, if he would be in a better situation? I ask myself if he is in a situation to give up his privacy because the money has much more value than his privacy due to his sad situation?
Another question would be if the stories are faked but the emotions looked somewhat real. If it´s real, the question stand…
Is this still ethical? What do you think? What is your opinion about such videos?