Random Acts of Kindness on Youtube
Three Toronto men have posted a Youtube video in an attempt to remix and re-direct the one-upmanship format of neknominations (binge drinking on camera). In neknominations, people drink alcohol in extreme situations, then challenge friends to best them within a day or two.
In RAKnominations, people perform video-recorded random acts of kindness and challenge others to ‘pay it forward.’
The phenomenon and video provide an extremely rich opportunity for discussion and analysis.
In RANDOM ACT of KINDNESS – TORONTO, three men explain that their actions and video are a response to neknominations, then roam the streets of Toronto in search of someone in need.
They come upon Jeff and offer him clothing, a meal and a haircut. He climbs into the car and off they go.
A short but sad autobiography includes a visit to Jeff’s current home on a steam grate. He explains how he copes with inclement weather.
Then it’s off to a clothing store for new clothes.
A haircut and a shave.
Jeff requests a Burger King meal.
Then, presumably, a return to his grate.
The trio finish by challenging other Torontonians—and especially Rob Ford—to take the RAKnomination challenge and ‘pay it forward.’
Many powerful discussions might arise from this video.
Questions to consider include:
What roles does Youtube play in the men’s efforts to re-direct neknominations into different activities?
Should the men be congratulated for taking the initiative to help a homeless man and challenge neknominations’ anti-social actions with a positive social action?
How might the men’s efforts affect Jeff’s future life?
How are their actions different from donating to a men’s shelter?
How does this video challenge or confirm people’s conceptions of homelessness and homeless people?
How likely is this video to motivate others to take action to help the homeless?
What might people learn about homelessness from this video?
How is this video different from this earlier one involving giving money to people in need?
How likely is it that there will be videos from people who have taken the challenge?
Some of the video’s comments are congratulatory and encouraging. Some even pledge to do a random act of kindness. Some, however, take the men to task, suggesting that they are “Self-gratifying, short-sighted, idiotic.” Why might there be different reactions to the video?
What comment would YOU leave?