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Hypocrites? Of ‘generous’ persons helping people and posting about it online

Helping people is considered a good thing.

Not only is it a Biblical teaching but a cultural expectation in many societies. Helping others can ease their suffering and improve their overall well-being. It allows individuals to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, understands their struggles, and respond with kindness and understanding. This strengthens interpersonal connections and fosters a sense of unity and shared humanity.

Acts of help and support can create a ripple effect, inspiring others to do the same. It gives individuals the opportunity to use their skills, resources, and time for the betterment of others and this can bring about a deep sense of satisfaction and personal fulfillment.

However, there are some people who go around helping others but use this for personal gain. Such instances are when someone helps a beggar and makes sure to record the entire interaction and post it online for likes, and comments, and amassing followers, to brand themselves in ways that would attract brand partners for social media campaigns and simply to create a whole new persona from who they are really are in reality. Nairobi News lists below some of the reasons why posting about acts of charity can make one appear as a hypocrite:

  1. Self-promotion and insincerity- When individuals share their charitable acts on social media, there is a concern that it may come across as self-promotion rather than genuine selflessness. It can create the impression that the motivation behind the act was to gain attention, validation or to enhance one’s image.
  2. Exploitation and invasion of privacy- Publicly sharing someone else’s personal struggles or moments of vulnerability without their consent can be seen as an invasion of privacy. It may exploit the individual’s situation for personal gain or attention without considering their feelings or dignity.
  3. Lack of authenticity and virtue signaling-  Posting about charitable acts on social media can sometimes be viewed as a form of virtue signaling- where individuals attempt to demonstrate their moral superiority -or gain social approval by showcasing their good deeds. This can raise questions about the authenticity and true intentions behind the act of helping.
  4. Dependency on social validation- Sharing acts of kindness on social media can create a dependency on external validation and praise. When individuals become accustomed to receiving recognition and validation for their charitable acts, it may affect their motivation to help others genuinely and selflessly. Everything they will embark on doing will begin being measured by social media engagement numbers and comments as opposed to simply helping others out of good will.
  5. Disruption of genuine connections- Posting about helping others on social media can shift the focus from the person being helped to the person performing the act. It can disrupt the genuine connection and trust that exists between the helper and the person in need, potentially making the act transactional rather than rooted in compassion and empathy.

Despite some instances where sharing charitable acts on social media can be beneficial- like raising awareness or inspiring people to be philanthropic- it is important to approach publicizing such acts of kindness with sensitivity, respect and a genuine desire to positively impact the lives of those in need than seeking personal gain and validation.

In the Kenyan scene, many celebs and influencers often post content of themselves helping the needy but the conversation often turns to why they did not leave the cameras behind and felt the need to air their rare philanthropic moves. Often times, even when announcing help to fellow celebs, some are often seen as degrading such as when Eric Omondi announced over the weekend that he would auction his shoes and use the money to help Stevo Simpleboy sort his life out.