CYBER-BEGGING || THE NIGERIAN VERSION

 



 

BY SAMSON OKEMAKINDE

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Samson Okemakinde is a software developer,musician and journalist.The views expressed here,are his own.

 

Internet slangs are not new, and going by the fact that the computing profession, which gave birth to the world wide web is full of terms that either fuse existing words or run some word-play on them, cyber begging doesn’t come as much of a surprise. As you probably know, cyber-begging is a fusion of
In plain terms, cyber begging simply means, begging, the cyber way. It means begging for money or/and other resources from people via the internet. Being familiar with the fact that there are a lot of physical beggars in Nigeria, you might be surprised that people now do this over the internet.
A point of notice here. Cyber-begging should not be confused with crowdfunding (on platforms such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Nigeria’s own GetFunded) where people essentially ask other people to support a cause or pay in advance for a product/technology they are developing.
Cyber-begging is plain and simple. I want to do something, and I want you to give me money for it. I am not developing a product, I am not running an NGO, I just want to do personal things such as buy some food, buy a new phone, get a new hairstyle, augment my breasts via plastic surgery, pay for abortion for my girlfriend, etc. Now you should get an idea of what I’m saying.
This phenomenon might sound like a new thing (maybe in Nigeria/Africa) but it’s been around for a while, and became somehow popular with Karyn Bosnak and her savekaryn.com website in June 2002. (You might want to look that up).
My opinion on cyber begging is something I had rather keep to myself, though I certainly do not consider myself nice enough to give you money for breast augmentation.
Now we all know what cyber-begging (or internet begging) really means, you might be surprised to know that it is used in a different context (with a slightly different meaning) in Nigeria. Essentially, it is used in relation to Ponzi schemes in Nigeria (I know you must have heard of those). I don’t have to elaborate on Ponzi schemes in Nigeria, I mean, there are so many of them now. A friend recently sent me a list of about 45 ponzi schemes currently in operation in Nigeria, so, I’ve stopped counting.
On the Nigerian Ponzi scene, a cyber-beggar is a Ponzi user, who has been paired to pay you, but calls to BEG you to confirm him without paying you.
Of course, cyber-beggars are considered menaces to the Ponzi user. I once witnessed a Ponzi user rain heavy curses on a cyber-beggar asking to be confirmed without paying his 10,000 due. It was really serious. If you are a Ponzi user, you don’t really want to be a cyber-beggar. There is collective hatred for them throughout the Nigerian Ponzi community.
As usual, we Nigerians have recently become experts at rebranding terms and giving them new meanings the Nigerian way. If I were a Ponzi user (I think we have to come up with a term for that too) and you are a “cyber-beggar”, I would probably not be nice to you also. If you are the normal internet beggar, you had better have some pretty strong reasons to convince me to “dash” you some of my hard earned money. (Definitely, not breast augmentation or plastic surgery: I don’t know why I keep emphasising on these).
Anyway, now you know what the term stands for the next time you hear it used.

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