About six months ago I "friended" a young guy on facebook who seemed like a nice person. For all I know, he still is. He lives in New York, he's a struggling young performer, and his brother happens to be a well known local personality in the Philadelphia area. I live in New Hope, PA, which is on the border of New Jersey and directly in between New York and Philadelphia. So I know of all the local news and TV personalities in both New York and Philly.
This young guy also happens to be gay, and so is his semi-famous brother in Philadelphia. And I think it's important to support other gay people all the time. In the beginning, I didn't think much about this young guy's facebook posts. At best they were cute; at worst they were trite. They were mostly about how hard he's working to build his career in the music industry. Good for him and good luck.
But a couple of weeks ago I noticed something interesting. This same young guy started posting about raising money to make a brand new CD. Evidently, it costs around twenty thousand dollars to do this and this guy decided to hold his own personal fundraiser on facebook to raise the money. Facebook users can contribute anywhere from five dollars to 1500 dollars, and there's even a facebook page where this guy lists all the things he's going to do for people who contribute large sums of money. I'm not sure exactly what these things are, but for fifteen hundred dollars someone gets to have lunch in New York at this guy's favorite restaurant (not specified in detail) and they get to enjoy his company all afternoon. Remember, this is an unkown twenty-something singer, not an actual recording artist.
When I first saw this a huge red flag went up and I just started ignoring his facebook posts. And then I started getting private messages from other people on facebook who had seen the same posts this guy was making and some of these people were absolutely livid that he'd have the audacity to beg for money on facebook. So I checked again and saw that he did, indeed, get thirty-five people to contribute so far and he's made about four thousand. Not bad for just posting a few photos on facebook and adding quips and comments about how talented he is.
I'm not weighing in with my own opinion on this one. If an unknown entertainer can hawk people on facebook for money and get away with it, it's none of my business. I wouldn't do it now and I wouldn't have done it when I was in my early twenties. And I certaily won't donate a dime to THIS cause. And if my younger brother were doing this, I have a nice long talk with him. But I have read and heard more negative comments about this guy than I've read or heard positive comments. Which takes me back to my former posts about facebook. Be careful what you post. It's going to be around for a long time. When people contribute money to a cause, especially during hard economic times like these, they like to know it's going toward a charity that's going to help someone in need. And from what I've seen so far, a cute little gay guy trying to make a new CD, who may or may not even have talent, isn't the kind of need they care about.