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Friday, October 22, 2021

Humor: Nothing Beats A Good Venmo Stalk

CHELBERT DAI / AGGIE
CHELBERT DAI / AGGIE

headshot_yrYou can find out a lot about a person by looking at their purchase emojis

Social media stalking isn’t creepy. Claiming to be above social media stalking when you absolutely do stalk on social media, however, is 100 percent creepy.

It’s human nature. We love information. We want as much as we can possibly get. We’re social animals. Whether it’s keeping up with the Joneses, scoping out a potential flame or keeping tabs on an ex, everybody lurks.

Denying that you pay attention to publicly accessible information is like saying girls don’t poop or that you don’t get secretly happy when “Mr. Brightside” comes on at a party. You’re either delusional or a liar. So with that out of the way, and knowing that we’re in a safe space, I’m ready to divulge some of the best information-gathering (that’s the euphemism I’ll use from here on out to sound less bizarre and not get a restraining order filed against me) techniques I’ve picked up over the years.

Now, this article would be much easier to write if everyone in college stopped withdrawing physical cash and instead only paid using some sort of social platform that takes something as functional yet personal as paying your friends and puts it all out there like some sort of drunk Snapchat story.

Wait a minute. There’s an app for that? You can pull up a feed and see who’s paid who for what? You can expose to everyone that you’re buying Snowglobe tickets from your on-again, off-again, and that you’re going to spend three days raging in a cabin while freezing your ass off in a sub-zero rave? You can figure out who’s paying utilities to whom, which friend always fronts money and why your goodie-two-shoes next-door neighbor always buys “fun stuff” from the white kid with dreadlocks every other week?

Venmo is a beautiful thing. Forget having a legitimate excuse for the homeless guy asking for money whenever I tell him I’m out of cash (yes, I already know I’m going to hell, you don’t need to remind me). It’s the most effective information gathering tool we have. I’m almost convinced that the founders didn’t even care about the fact that they’ve almost eliminated cash from the college life. They knew PayPal was around. They knew there were other peer-to-peer cashless solutions out there. They also knew that there was no way to see whether Megan’s been missing her monthly Rent (house emoji) payment. So Venmo was born.

I’m not saying that every tech company aims to scratch our collective gossip itch. I’m just saying that you can find out who won the break-up by seeing if your ex got fired from their “Sanitorial Management” job while you share with the world that you just got hired by a Fortune 500 company. LinkedIn is obviously about networking. It’s obviously about figuring out who you know where to help you on your job search. It’s an amazing tool and every student that isn’t on it as they apply for grown-up jobs is shooting themselves in the foot.

But a nice, relaxing LinkedIn lurk is underrated for information gathering. Not only do you get the obvious stuff like employment history, you also get some other juicy details like the “skills” they have and whether other people actually agree with Tim that he’s an accomplished public speaker (only four people endorsed him for it, so probably not). The key is to go on with incognito or private browsing, because if you go from your LinkedIn profile on someone else’s, they get a notification that you lurked. I know because an ex-girlfriend of mine’s new boyfriend had a little look at my profile and I got an email about it, so be safe out there.

Safe. Yes, be safe. The internet is amazing. I love social networking sites because they’ve brought me closer to my friends. I believe in putting yourself out there. But, at the same time, be aware of all the privacy settings at your disposal — it’s totally in your control what you do put out there and what people can see it (even on Venmo and LinkedIn).

 

Written by: Yinon Raviv — ravivyinon@gmail.com

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