The good news for the sexting fans is they’re not alone. But what about the bad news?

Jeffrey Salvitti, who started his career at JPMorgan Chase, America’s biggest bank, then went to work over 7 years for Google, posted a blog on April 2015 describing the “best ways to monetize your messaging app”. And like Liam Gallagher, there are many things that I would like to say to you. It strikes me that, this week, the always savvy tech coaches from The Next Web decided to cover a number of initiatives to facilitate things like creating games or making a website without a need to understand programming language, but then pointed out to a future of smarter chatbots. I hate that the term “pingback” is actually a thing, but the guy writing this blog, who’s not your teacher for some reason, has covered precisely the chatbot problem, and if we can’t name some names, then at least let’s assume some people have a particular distaste for midnight chat and bacon. What’s the deal, Amsterdam? The Heineken star is very red. Are you sober now? Starting over?

If I didn’t believe that a discussion on surveillance was relevant for the 21st century, at least, then I wouldn’t bring things up at all. The best I can do, though, is to offer people a bridge with cringe: there are profiles of people who are called “flooders“, but also “trolls“. And I think we can stop right there. Actually, let’s draw, shall we?

As you can see from our extensive, state-of-the-art research tools results compilled in the form of a self-aware quasi-meme that actually depicts a human face in Japanese style, spam is in between a certain kind of tension, not a peaceful convergence of mutual interest and collaboration. I’ll explain: oftentimes, people who have a lot to say cannot actually articulate their thoughts, feelings, opinions and so on. Nobody listens to them; so they’ve found out, recently in terms of historical documentation, that they can make use of digital platforms in order to feel seen, validated, represented, loved, and eventually (but not necessarily) become both a target of attention in a positive way and also an innanimate object of lust, probably in a negative way. It’s important to say “probably”. It’s also important to say “target” and include the adjective “innanimate” when using strong words such as “object”. Now if you can’t see what I did there, see you next class, bro.

Trolls are people who target other people. They’re not alone. They also don’t want the attention for themselves (good for you, trolls), but for that to focus, negatively, on other people. That can take a softcore approach or a hardcore approach. And the only point of convergence I’m intentionally looking for here, considering how many trolls read a text just to trash it a few weeks later, when they’re finally done editing a 3 minute video, is that you have to open your mouth in order to get a troll approaching you. That is, of course, a false premise: what you have to do is open an account. And that includes e-mail, not just Instagram.

Coming back to the theme: Instagram is not, as it’s been very much reinforced by Sheryl Sandberg (and one has to wonder what exactly you need to reinforce when you have 1.6 billion dollars sitting on your lap top), a platform where people should look for sexual content. Of course, she’s a prolific and very focused speaker, and some of her known initiatives (because we literally can’t about the unknown, and I think that’s perfectly reasonable) are worth a round of applause, like her side organization’s initiative to clarify what is and fight against gender bias in the workplace. But that’s Instagram! And let’s be honest? We know it’s not. We know so much that it’s not that a single leak (any teens reading?) cost then Facebook 6 billion dollars in stock loss. What would I do with 6 billion dollars? I don’t know, probably find out the countries with low score in the Human Development Index and learn about some of the people working to fight real issues that put them in danger, isolation included, but more biological, consistent and sustainable, and less politically-correct “humanitarian aid” need. Of course, I wouldn’t make the entire world think that I’m helping the Indigenous populations by giving them internet access, for example. See, the politically correct works sometimes; others, nobody gives a flying trump.

Messaging with end-to-end encryption became a model to be followed; of course, then came financial apps asking for your e-mail and screen lock, a picture of your face, all your address information, social security, last digits of your freaking credit card, and then gave you a thumbs up and a few punches in the face, but never mind, right? Snapchat, on the other hand, has always been a place where those people I mentioned earlier, who (ping pong is a great sport) “make use of digital platforms in order to feel seen, validated, represented, loved” and so on, relied on the platform’s privacy policy. Then, of course, they started to think that the assumption that privacy was something anyone could access, with that being a sort of hidden motto, but with guarantees of protection that in fact never came, was all a load of BS, just like every dude when they open their mouth. And when I say BS, it should not be confused with BTS, please. I’m talking “bullshit”. The one in the middle? I don’t think a bull turns to shit; a bull takes a shit, that’s for sure, and it smells. Sorry if you don’t follow finance. End-to-end encryption became the safeguard to face-to-face interaction, curiously… and we’re all fine with it. Why? Because of the group on the right: trolls. I think I’m being pedagogical, right?

Except some people decided to take a different route. A Brazilian YouTube channel called “Mastery in Business” has posted, very recently, an account on what makes Snapchat a pain in the ass for Mark Zuckemberg (don’t know that guy, by the way). Here’s their story: Instagram’s unapologetic copy of Snapchat destroyed the company, but now both focus their biggest investments on augmented reality. I mean, what freaking reality do you live in, brother? Online dating is a thing, Jesus Effing Christ! Also, can I mention Disney princess Jasmin and not have my site taken off? Because, if you click the blog posted by the guy that worked for Google, mentioned at the very beginning of this post, you’ll see that, in 2015 (certain sites had already been applying this model for literally a decade), the advice was to invest in so called “instant in-chat pay”. Other suggestions included increasing click-through rate (the term is very broad and used a lot in marketing) and a format of “pay per download” (and because I’m a musician, and not particularly successful, I’ll save that analysis for later). Fintech is foreign land to many, but one thing remains unclear, because of how little we can talk about it: it started with streaming, and we all remember that YouTube’s original slogan was “Broadcast Yourself”. Great, because if you doubt that people want this, go have a chat with Lief K-Brooks.

It sounds great that we can talk over video. I’m not really sure about my late grandma, but my dad does that all the time and seems to enjoy the experience, which honestly warms my heart. Except that, for this Brazilian channel, the danger (and “immorality”, as they timidly yet ridiculously try to argue) is that whetever you share is going to be available somewhere online, forever. This miserable piece of content disinforms, in a kind of version of Brazilian R7 (which, to those who don’t know it, is headed by a guy named Edir Macedo, owner of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, but also has other roles in media, as it’s been reported by The Intercept) talking about not privacy, but intimacy and sex. If there’s any merit in this approach, it’s the fact it points out that young people and adults do not enjoy sharing the same physical space, let alone the digital; but that is not even clarified, and what they do is a completely innacurate, extremely out of touch, out of tune and out of time analysis, like a gig rehearsal gone very wrong with a replacement drummer who’s never even listened to a rock band but wants to sit behind the kit to play Moby Dick and then tell everyone it sounded perfect, but nobody understood anything because they’re too close-minded. There’s a fun video, in case that doesn’t remind you of anything (and I hope Plant likes me by now).

The capitalization of private life is something to be taken seriously. So is international decontextualization of personal narrative (and personal lives, for profit, by the way). There are different kinds of jobs, pal. And no, Snapchat hasn’t been destroyed. What actually happened was that Facebook became object of an investigation on what legal experts call “anti-trust”; the Federal Trade Commission of the United States argues, in an ongoing investigation, that the company turned conglomerate is a monopoly of communication services, based on concepts such as “free competition”. I won’t go to Keynes, you go to Keynes; it suffices to say that communication, for someone who’s been studying it for a fair amount of time, is about more than creating software that will make you rich and powerful. Public information is available on Facebook having paid a fee as of 2014 (prior to the Google blog, mind you) when it came to knowledge that private massages were being targetted to sell more personalized ads. And though the fee was 3.89 million dollars, it seems that nobody cares about a number like that! Aren’t there a lot of houses worth way more than that?

But the problem is we’re outdated. You see, if you still want to use Snapchat and not worry about financial markets, fine. It’s not every business that spies on employees and regular people, on a daily basis, for their own gain and control of another person’s choices, right? If you think that, you’re probably paranoid. Much better to enjoy it! People want to know what you’re doing, because they wanna do it with you! Isn’t that great? And while the real actors (who are actually actresses, but you should call them models) won’t even bother to say anything other than what their work is known to attract, which is the, um, aesthetics, there are music artists now getting, to use a finance expression, 8 figures in views talking about what a lot of people have refused to address, which I would personally like to see described on paper as both irresponsibility and prejudice, if they can make sure to draw the parallels without using Microsoft Paint.

Image: Pexels

Leave a Reply