Internet of… things?

Looking forward to hear from the Ketchum / Access / Zocalo posse who swarmed SXSW to report back in the internal-use-only webinar tonight.

Looking at the tweetstream coming out of Austin, however, it seems the big discussion topic was the PR snafu around the Homeless Hotspots project.

Not to pile up as another self-proclaimed expert with a “I saw this coming” post, I must say this idea did not seem bad at all to me: relatively upper-crust types come here, they seek Internet everywhere, we (the Sponsor Company, BBH Labs, with whom Ketchum is in no way associated) give the homeless a simple way to profit from this by loaning them free of charge the equipment to sell hotspot access.

It turns out the way it was construed was a gladiator-type situation with the underprivileged selling themselves for the futile amusement of the well off. “People” becoming “things” (Ramin would love this) like repeating towers or human antennae.

I did NOT see that coming, and largely I still don’t understand it, as then a similar reasoning should apply to all kinds of menial services provided to us by lower class laborers. Why is not the cleaning lady selling herself in lieu of a cleaning machine or a delivery biker selling himself as the mail system?


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