Tag Archives: trust

The concept of trust: a millennial wraps it up for the Gen Z

No, I’m not going to talk about my past relationships again. Let’s suppose you’re in college, and it’s time for fun. But it’s not, you see: you’re supposed to apply yourself to the study of all the hard matters in the field of your choosing, and so you have thick books and essays to hand in. Nomenclature, definitions, debates in class that you took notes from. Eventual connections with theories you’ve read. An idea to search for a reference that your professor gave to the class in case they were interested, a mention on a slide whose name you thought was appealing, just like some kind of headline. You don’t get much of those, you prefer to keep your personal space. And it’s healthy. But you’re single, and you’d like to keep it that way — it’s been working.

A lot of people going through the college experience don’t realize that published studies are only mentioned when they have some kind of breakthrough analysis and conclusions, which point out to directions of future research, with a mindset of improvement that spans widely or creatively enough. To get there, you need to read carefully materials that, at least in American university culture, come with condensed formats: “look at all the knowledge I have and you don’t. But you know what? Maybe don’t look at it, just admit I’m smarter than you”. But it’s literally a reference you could easily grab and look into for yourself. There are libraries, free ones. There’s Amazon, of course. And while some people have strong opinions about the company, what it’s done for the publishing business is incredible, but deserves a longer debate. You’re not likely to find good sources on Academia, the website. That idea just flunked, pretty much like Cope and Kalantzis’ Scholar, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. You see, Microsoft wanted to influence research, and that’s good; but does it have to come from a leading tech company in the world?

What I did was I spent some time in the library, but most of all, I picked a good quote. And then I took a piece of paper, or maybe even the notepad. I wrote keywords, catch phrases and technical terms that I took out of my, uh, head. One of them was “participatory fluency”. In observance of student engagement dropping with the rise of social networks, I turned myself to approaches with smaller groups, adopted by most schools, and came to conclude that individual teaching had pros and cons. “One on one”: that was my initial trigger, all the way back in 2017. I hadn’t picked up the legal debate books, the philosophy compilations, the geopolitical analysis, the finance stuff. About the latter, it was mostly TV, because everything else was paywalled. It took me over a year to actually understand what those people were talking about. And I’d even watched classes at Yale available on YouTube, besides those Khan Academy videos, which helped me figure out, for example, what Vygotsky argued — I was gonna need that for my coming Master’s application. And I passed. But that story is apparently hidden from the public, and it is, at least to me, very enraging. I could’ve transformed education, or at least made my way up to become one of the presenters of an event associated with TESOL, the biggest ESL institution in the world (and they used to follow me on Twitter, which happened right when I joined). What stopped me was a desire to understand things not on a corporate level, where you focus on tasks, but instead, human narratives, interactions, interests, affinities, and the floating concept of desire.

You can’t find a single internet user who’s not succumbing to appealing content in media. And that can present itself in many ways. There was a time, a particularly long stretch, considering everything that happened on the platform, where I thought poetry was the right kind of content for Tumblr, the old go-to place for porn that wasn’t mainstream and didn’t mix up advertising with freaking cassinos or offered Russian webcams to watch. The Russians, by the way, are never very explicit, or not at all. You hear a playlist, and at the very best, see some tiddies and a tongue out. Nothing else. Meanwhile, gangsta rap in a language you don’t understand. But I digress. Sort of, actually: my last relationship had a crack on trust when I decided, for literal five minutes, to stop working on a translation project (which, I believe, was a very well-done job, about 130 pages long of a movie script) to watch a girl masturbate. I was having what they call acute respiratory syndrome, but nobody even freaking cared to diagnose it. I’m poor, I don’t have a specialist in pneumology to see how healthy my lungs are and to explain to me: “look, you gotta be careful about the smoking, but it does reduce anxiety. You just have to balance it with a good diet and you’ll be fine, but this is indispensable, as well as staying hydrated”. But I won’t comment on other trust issues in this relationship. I felt something very unique, but it turns out that she saw things in a completely different light; and I anticipated it, I knew all the philosophy and practice of the company she worked for, bottom down, backwards, flipped on a pancake with maple syrup or raw. She didn’t believe me. It doesn’t matter, because her work is probably what’s going to attract people not to this website, but to another, and I welcome that kind of competition, which probably pushes for innovation. I’m just not looking forward to sit in a bar with one of the clients, which apparently she was hoping for all along. Great girl, no need to mention names.

Online, though, everyone is a suspect. We can’t seem to trust anyone anymore, but our habits are kind of an indicator that we’re not even fucking trying. The new generation is: 1) judgmental; 2) mean; 3) self-involved to the point of actually marketing themselves, meaning on their Instagram and TikTok profiles, on purpose and very carefully; 4) busy expanding the network, just for the numbers, not for connections of value; 5) obvious trolls, lying every chance they get to have a screenshot to show the newest group of friends and make them block you too because you said this or that; 6) absolutely incompetent, because of their narcissism, to read anything legal; 7) not worried about your mental health, but quickly making up new profiles in case theirs is taken over; 8) vain, to the point where you wanna throw up or scream insults at your phone; 10) wannabes, in every category. How did I come up with all this? Well, that is called field research. Finest line of ethics a man could walk, and I’m not shy to disclose a leaning towards some of the genderfluid ideals. I could make a list of the things I looked for among the people who stayed with me in the last 10 years, looking for international contact. Trust would be a tag I’d attribute to few. Appeal would be a tag I’d attribute to many. Distrust? I’d have to apply that to almost all.

There are reasons why we can’t seem to trust anymore. Demand, baby. You’re offered new, better content. Of course you have to pay for the masterclass, the coaching session, the plan to start your business: whether it’s an educational project, a liquor shop or a music studio, it’s going to show up on your feed. But then you’re suddenly dealing with people, who curiously aren’t considered people anymore, but customers. On the personal side, “social media has turned us all into brand ambassadors of happiness and beautiful moments”, the DW documentary “Dictatorship of Happiness” says. That’s the bigger turn of social media: it’s not social anymore, it’s marketable. And marketable media has a lot of secrets — and you have a lot of catching up to do. Yes: social media became marketing. Fuck socialism, praise venture capital. But going further, we see reports that advertising is not exactly seen as a bad player: a brand’s identity is associated with trust on 84% of cases. You wonder who runs these studies, but of course you’re free to do your research. Sometimes, though, you won’t find what you did (that nobody likes ads), because they’re paying to remove negative reviews. Shouldn’t we be asking where those brands came up from, and how their ads were shown? That would reveal distrust, or at least irritation, from app users who don’t want their experience to be interrupted or peeked on by people wanting to sell things. But the real challenge, again, is how to make this clear for people seeking connections, which can’t possibly be marketed as an experience: this is life, not a computer game.

It’s true that our friends are judging us. Your romantic partner has friends too, and so it’s a complex interplay. Ideally, there would be a strong support network merging and potentially creating memories to keep, filled with joy and a sense of an accomplished mission at the end of a hangout with the people you truly care about. That is, if you’re not addicted to internet connections, or internet feeds. Being disconnected from what’s happening around you and focusing on what others are saying is not the ultimate recipe for maintaining good health, but neither is getting a fully live feed of news you need to know — unless you wanna bet on Post News, the newest thing. For a lot of people, it’s more interesting to see what your friends are up to, but you’ll be skipping on that stuff, most likely, and at best clicking twice with your thumb — and that is all the “support” you can give. Isn’t it natural that people notice? Isn’t it natural to expect more, and to request for more? You’ll also want to give more. Everyone wants trust to be mutual, because that is how we define trust: mutual expectations. We just can’t ignore the social gaps that, curiously enough, social media ignores by design.

We’re all searching for people. But who uses background checks?

My grandpa John, tough man who worked for years at the port with piles of sacks he had to transport from container shipments to warehouses, to be then taken to trucks and distributed all over the country, had this persky little habit; it turned out to teach me a lesson as early as my thirties, but it’s really not what you think. First, it’s very clear that the notion of hard work was very different back then. A friend of mine (not to brag or anything) has a few interesting reports on the work around the port and how it used to be called the “Port of Death”, because of likeability to get some kind of disease due to low quality of sanitary precautions in transporting goods, a lot of them perishable. British poet John Masefield, as the local university reminded us, wrote in the Salt Water Ballads (1902): “It’s a cruel port in Santos, and a hungry land/with rows of graves already dug in a yonder strip of sand.” My grandpa, in his own way, maybe reminded of his own experiences at work, used to sing songs that had less of a flourished language and went on with his ever so deep voice: “they were two skulls in love with each other/who waited the night to meet unbothered” (and I can’t believe I found the link). What’s interesting is that, in a conversation with my older uncle, he told me his first job was managing a cemitery. And he was the guy that told me I could have a brilliant career in writing, you see. But back to grandpa John, God bless his soul and also grandma Aurea’s, who recently passed away as well, the pesky habit wasn’t the singing at all. His voice was absolutely beautiful. And quite intimidating, if he wasn’t a very humorous person. He used to keep all the home bills in his drawer, from years earlier, but all there. And I wonder what that means. Fast forward, and we think energy bills (some people are even singing about that) aren’t a reason for concern. Contacts are. Real contacts, that we don’t throw away, but manage and build on conversations with to make sure they’re gonna stay.

Because my grandparents, not on the dad side, neither on the mom side, are here anymore, I have to make sense of what their own lives can teach me. And they had a thing with collecting. On the mom’s side? It was more the memories. Grandma Zilma married grandpa Paul, a Black man who had a number of shortcomings, but so did my grandma, whose family lived in a clandestine hillside construction, but with her pension, she managed to get an apartment in a very fancy building, so I thought, and that made me out of touch with the neighborhood reality I live in now, a reflex of years of police interventions and eventually even shootings to catch the big drug traffickers. You’d wonder about my name and the condominium, but you don’t hear stories of cancer where you throw up blood until you choke and die, and your grandma has to clean it with a mop and bucket, then being traumatized, in her 50s, and retelling the story, time and time again, to her grandchild, who chose to live with her at 9, escaping his parents’ arguing, especially after the glittery-clay Santa Claus riding a rocket was thrown at the wall on Christmas day, and a table fell from the living room shelf straight into his finger, which broke and still hurts to this day — the ring finger on the left hand, that one you`re supposed to decorate after marriage. These things seem to not matter, and neither do the many family stories whose only version you’ll see is in people’s Facebook pictures, because a poem or a song couldn’t possibly capture any sentiment at all, especially when, after being bullied in every school attended, you resorted to videogames and then found a social life and this girl who you decided to move in with, her family approving the ordeal.

It was a 10 year long relationship. Three people made it shake, starting at the second half of that period: lovely music buddy from 2011 with the softest voice in the world, told you you were too self-counscious, taught you how to pronounce the word Wednesday and eventually narrated how she liked oral sex, but of course you were not jealous at all, even less when she became a mom (has that happened already, by the way?); your soulmate who called you buttercup, looked like an angel with the real ocean eyes, but very effortlessly, made you numb and nearly drugged down whenever she opened her mouth, told you that your best color was green, and eventually said she was deceived because you were not touching yourself on your Skype videocall in the year of 2014, wished you luck on the new job, then told you she couldn’t do it anymore because, well, she was too busy with Tumblr; then this other chick, a feisty, vicious redhead with a model face, but a tiny body and a total weirdo, with some kinks and all, no shame in showing off what she wanted to do to make you obsessed, but way past the acceptable for a reasonable platonic submission contract that was never a contract and that wasn’t submission at all, but a disease instead: diagnosed paranoia and panic, several compromised accounts, fake reports, hate campaigns and even meme circulation at gubernatorial level, not to mention the entertainment industry talk.

So you wonder why I’m publishing this. Three people. In real life, I dedicate most of my songs to the girls that mattered. Olivia, Paula, Karen and Iasmin. Well, there’s nobody else. Except one of them is not here anymore, and I’d like to give you more detail on that later. I’ve written small poems, maybe too short for the intensity of what we lived, for the film-maker turned educator (what a twist), but poems and songs, as well as short stories, for Paula. And Olivia is on my mind and even dreams all the time. So these people were the only ones in my life, except a few times I was drunk and grabbed or was grabbed. So what? It’s not like this video shared on social media, where the guy slides his hand on a girl’s thigh and ends up on the floor bleeding with broken bones and absolutely terrified. The video has been taken offline, since my reporting.

But if you want to have a discussion on the state of people’s private lives in comparison with the digital, what do you do? We present ourselves in a certain way. I can find someone “hot” who happens to have an international PhD. And we’re actually talking. Maybe it’s not a PhD, man. But I do have at least 2 friends with PhDs, and I have three MA projects. These things happened! And yet, look at the most recent activity of this random ass user. Or rather, imagine, if you will:

ivo123 added you as a friend

oh his name is ivo

ivo what, is 123 on the password?

idk run the app search

oh here, found his onlyfans

oh wow, take the reaper and spread that shit to his contacts

yeah but I need to accept and steal the wifi password first so I get the saved Google passwords

alright fam do that, I’m seeing about king321

oh shit, you’ll never guess


they’re besties

lmao did you check bitcoin today?

it’s up 32.

ah go talk to the USDT girl

nah man ethereum is changing you gotta keep an eye

keep an eye on what, discord has all the shit

yeah but it’s not evidence

of course it is

if you wanna make a telegram group

sure but what about these two?

idk man figure it out, is it me monetizing the leaks?

alright I’ll see if I can convince them to send dick pics. I’ll send my tongue on the story, classic.

they’ll come running lol

they’ll come whipping

ofc fucking losers

how about the 10 inch guy?

oh we went to a pool party last week


Now, you may think that’s totally out of line. But while I was working 7-11, like Beyonce says in her song (which has many other references, I think), my co-worker, who went to Russia with her savings, was literally living with a gossip journalist recording screens in 2013. One day, we went to a party, and my girlfriend basically did 3 things in a row: sucked on that girl’s tits, broke up with me and watched me throw up. The man who paid for the cab, because I was barely able to walk, was her current husband, who used to be my best friend. We’re good, we’re totally good. As I was leaving this co-worker’s home (2013, everyone), it was written on a whiteboard: “let’s all go to kik!” Did you know about that, curly babe?

The point of this blog is to make more people realize that no, we don’t know who people are immediately, but there are tools. I’m not talking about Pink Meth, for example, where you found way more than “revenge porn”: people tracked down user information in seconds using programming tools, and found out where they lived, their real full names, school, friends, family and then sent their nudes to all their contacts. Absolutely illegal, it popularized ransomware; today, that’s very normal. It was a less sophisticated part of the “tech bubble”, and arguably what people now call “bearish” in terms of finance, because they know the dangers (but what do I know? Better read about that). What we do know is that websites like Pipl allow you to easily locate anyone and all their contact information, incuding the pieces they want to ommit. They describe their mission as follows:

Pipl collects, cross-references and connects online identity information from countless independent sources to build a digital identities with the highest integrity possible. Pipl is working to build a future where everyone can safely participate in our global society with trusted identity information that is protected from abuse and controlled by the individual.

If you read about this company on the news tab on Google, maybe you’ll be surprised. All I can say is we shoudn’t be making excuses for shitty behavior. Assuming people are one thing only and not even giving them the chance to interact with you, falling into media campaigns where it’s not “cancellation”, but targetted hate and eventually silencing and removal of basic human rights that take place (but the other side insist you’re either “whining” or “twisting the story”) is not standing on higher moral ground, but actually, to my unsolicited giggling, “commiting factual errors”. You know what? Eventually, people know exactly what you need, and are willing to spend their time together just to please you. Fun, right? I spent 10 years doing that. With that said, anyone who wants a house, contact me. We can reform it and make it a cultural hub. I’ll do all the work (including closing the backyard with concrete, fixing the lights, the windows, the gate and the garden, and get rid of the stuff they put back there.

What you get is not what I get. Does that bother you? I’m sorry! I thought one of us should be having fun.

Image: Pexels