Send a picture from now: here’s my ceiling

When people were still getting acquainted with this idea that any two people could talk anywhere they were in the world, one of the most common things to sort of verify whether or not they were interacting with a real human being was taking a picture at the moment and sending it to the suspiscious potential friends. Everyone has their reasons, right? We understand that paranoia is probably caused by information society’s accelerated rise, and I’ve mentioned FOMA (fear of missing out) but haven’t been paying a lot of attention to new initiatives such as BeReal, a new social network that “promotes transparency and authenticity”. What calls my attention is that this sort of anti-glamourous approach to self-representation takes on many shapes, angles, and even technical settings. For example: if I do send you a picture of myself, which of my cameras should I use? And of course: you don’t expect me to show my full face, do you?

From a security standpoint, Qualcomm, for example, has proposed a model for future smartphones that has your frontal camera “always on”, to protect you from having other people rather than yourself looking at your notifications or even accessing the device, as reported by the Washington Post. I think that’s particularly interesting knowing that Qualcomm’s CEO is Brazilian (the interview was great, Bloomberg, thanks), and I’m here having an issue with biometric verification and what’s called the “selfie password” in order to use a credit card, the only form I could find of promoting my work after a period of Brazilian economic policy that majorly harmed the poor and political opponents. Examples? New laws funding culture got vetoed; review of quota law for Black populations in university; end of free public university proposed by law; the insanity of the project School Without a Party and its supporters, as reported by The Guardian; extremely overlooked economic inequality data, as reported by Oxfam; fintech being used for fraud, and so many other issues.

What makes me write a blog several days a week is this supposedly noble idea of making a bridge between the international, English-speaking context of school, college, business and politics, with media circling all of these topics, and translating it to the Brazilian learner while also pinpointing the problems in approach and false narratives to natives. I could invite you to go to Omegle and count the number of ceilings you’ll see, or add someone from Quick Chat on Snapchat and do the same. If I’m wrong (I am, very often) and this only happens to me, okay: you win. For now. That is absolutely not the only issue. Why do I need a selfie password in order to teach people how to have better conversations in English with people who actually respect you? How do I make a successful business without getting robbed from young people at the beach or the biggest companies in the world? And how do I prove that I’m real, and not just sweaty, when I turn on my camera and show my face while talking to strangers, because we’re all locked up in our apartments hoping that someone will have something good to tell us, and maybe even listen to what we have to say? I don’t care about authenticity. I care about meaning and mood. If you twist the meaning of my words, my mood will change. If you ignore my mood and want to give it a meaning you made up, I’ll come back at you. It’s very simple! But of course, there’s more ways to verify what’s really going on than putting two people against each other on purpose, or asking them to show what the top of their room looks like instead of the bottom of their body — which, depending on the case, might not be the end of the freaking world.

Image: Pexels

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