Recession Turns Facebook from Social Networking Tool into Social Panhandling Tool


facebook_panhandlerA friend of mine got a message from some girl on facebook that basically said, “hey, do you remember me?  I think we went to middle school together.  Anyway, hi!”

My friend was pretty shocked to hear from this person he hadn’t seen, or even thought of, in years.  Still he was polite and not only replied but corrected her timeline, “actually I think it was elementary school, how have you been?”  I’m pretty much paraphrasing those parts of the interaction because those are just the build up to the best message ever sent on faceook.

So, out of nowhere, someone you knew in elementary school, completely out of the blue messages you on facebook.  I’m willing to bet that you aren’t thinking that you’re about to be hit up for money.  Well, in this case, you’d be wrong.

Here is the third message he got from her, and yes, this is verbatim:

I’m in a tough spot right now and i was wondering if you could possibly send me $100 so that i can stay alive?

I could put a banner ad for any projects you are doing right now, or list your website as one of my friends supporting sustainable initiatives, or just list you as a supporter…?

I would not ask if i weren’t so desperate, since i’m sure we are all in the same boat, but maybe we can help each other?

Big hug,

That’s it.  No explanation, no I need to pay rent or keep the lights on or feed my kids, just, “so that I can stay alive”.  What the hell?  How can $100 save your life?  Maybe she’s been kidnapped and is being held for the world’s smallest ransom?

Listen, I’m not trying to sound like a dick or anything, I know times are tough for everyone but I looked at this woman’s facebook page and she doesn’t exactly look like a pauper.  She lives in Miami and looks to be pretty well dressed and healthy according to recent photos.  Not to mention she obviously has web hosting up of some sort.  You’d think if you were pandering for money from elementary schoolmates on facebook that you’d go ahead and cancel that web hosting subscription you shelling out money for.

A day or so later my friend got a message from a different friend that had also apparently went to elementary school with this girl saying, “You’ll never believe what happened?  [Jane Doe] just contacted me out of the blue and asked me for $100.”

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