This morning, one of us posted a link about the announcement of a new bluetooth-based payments app into one of Quartz’s editorial chat rooms. We often use these chats to discuss how to cover news. This time, however, the result was a rather revealing clash of generational cultures about money, privacy, and over-sharing. We decided to publish a lightly-edited transcript (we removed the less-relevant comments and re-ordered a handful of them for the sake of clarity). Those people whose names are underlined are over 30, and those without an underline are under 30. We’ve dubbed this underline the “Venmo line,” for reasons that will become apparent.
gideon 11:40 AM
heatherlandy 11:40 AM
seriously, do enough people pay enough other people with enough frequency to support all these person-to-person payment apps? haven’t people ever heard of splitting a bill?
zach.wf 11:46 AM
I actually think these apps are the greatest things ever
I use venmo several times a week, for typical things like splitting checks but also splitting bills with my roommates etc.
gideon 11:48 AM
might be worth examining – what’s the barrier to uptake in these things?
i’ve assumed it’s that you have to link your bank account
max 11:48 AM
I use Venmo constantly too
heatherlandy 11:49 AM
oh you crazy kids these days…
zach.wf 11:49 AM
venmo is great also because it is sort of a social network too, like you have to put in a sort of “memo” field and so you see a news feed of what your friends paid each other for
leo 11:50 AM
why on earth would anyone care what thweir friends are paying each other?
zach.wf 11:50 AM
because people write funny things
max 11:50 AM
adam_e 11:51 AM
<— also uses venmo regularly
gideon 11:51 AM
and what if you want to keep those payments private?
adam_e 11:51 AM
zainab 11:51 AM
This is what my feed looks like
leo 11:51 AM
again, why do you care?
gideon 11:52 AM
that moment when everyone over 35 in the office suddenly realizes everyone under 30 lives in a different universe
zainab 11:52 AM
people obviously use it for a range of things
i personally don’t look through my feed, that isn’t the main appeal of it, it seems to just be a random addition with the app that people use to be funny. half the things on my feed are clearly not what they say they are. i see song lyrics, emojis, and inside jokes. so it is private in the sense that only the person you’re paying or charging will know what it is from the description
heatherlandy 11:52 AM
omg, it’s not bad enough that i have to know that the girl i used to sit next to in social studies just took her 4-year-old to the dentist, now i have to know that one of you paid your roommate for the phone bill???
people, you are just GIVING your privacy away! about sensitive things like money! we all need to have a big talk soon…
adam_e 11:54 AM
you can make sensitive transactions private! my feed is mostly just people paying each other for drinks and cab rides on the weekends. That said, I don’t know many people who actually check their feeds for activity like they do for facebook or twitter
heatherlandy 11:55 AM
i still don’t get it. why does anyone need to know that anyone else paid for a drink or a cab ride? is this like a shaming tool? as in, look everyone: adam paid me back for his drink last night, zach paid me back for his drink last night. leo, you slacker, when are YOU going to get around to paying me back for the drink last night?
jason 11:56 AM
socialise your utility bills
johnmcd 11:56 AM
maybe for a generation that has grown up with social
it makes sense
adam_e 11:56 AM
i don’t think anyone needs to know, but yeah, some people are just curious what their friends are spending money on. not saying it’s a good thing, but it’s true
max 11:57 AM
Like if my lazy roommate didn’t pay his hunk of the power bill, I can charge him on the app and it’ll push onto his phone
That’s more useful than the social part
heatherlandy 11:57 AM
A 30something takes a peek into the strange and unfamiliar world of how 20somethings handle their money. Hilarity ensues
zach.wf 11:57 AM
people don’t use it because of the social aspect, they use it because it’s a useful way to pay each other back. but the social part can be a joke, or a sort of status update
adam_e 11:58 AM
some people don’t mind letting other people see what they’re doing, in fact, they like the attention. oh, look, i just took an uber to the club for my birthday, everyone look at me and like me please
leo 11:58 AM
this is a particularly american affliction, since other countries’ banks actually have functioning online payment systems
jason 11:58 AM
i’m also curious what my friends are spending money on. but i (foolishly) assume that they won’t share that with me on my phone
heatherlandy 11:58 AM
or that they would be paranoid of everyone else monitoring what they share on their phones, right jason?
jason 11:59 AM
i don’t know what’s what anymore. gonna go lay down
heatherlandy 11:59 AM
put on a sweater, take a nap.
maybe first smoke a pipe.
not THAT kind of pipe.
jeanne 12:00 PM
gideon 12:02 PM
jeanne are you here to tell us how you also use venmo and tell everyone about your financial life?
jeanne 12:03 PM
haha i heard there was a mini battle going on in here @gideon
jeanne 12:04 PM
but yes, i’m all for venmo. I dont’ like the fact that they have my bank info but it’s very useful and fast
heatherlandy 12:04 PM
not a battle. more like a revelation. a revelation for old people….
old people who hope to trigger a revelation for young people who are so keen to part with personal details of their financial lives!
i.e. it’s all fun and games to razz leo for not repaying me for the round i hypothetically bought last night, until leo finds he can’t get a credit card because the bank’s social media scouring has determined that he’s a deadbeat.
oh wait, you people don’t even use credit cards anymore. crap.
jeanne 12:06 PM
i personally keep my finance details private but people i think like how they can be creative with how they describe what they’re paying back
zainab 12:07 PM
i still use credit cards, and i would be surprised if Venmo would be the main reason i would get declined for another one
adam_e 12:08 PM
it also doesn’t show amounts, not sure if that’s been said yet
heatherlandy 12:09 PM
meanwhile, yano and svati are fretting over in the editorial room that adobe is collecting info on what books you’re storing in your adobe accounts. as if any of you people would care!!!
svati 12:09 PM
max 12:09 PM
I use, and love Venmo, but see Heather’s point a bit in that there was a subject line from hs friends when I just looked at my app that said “Vegas debauchery….”
heatherlandy 12:10 PM
see, children. be careful out there!
adam_e 12:10 PM
that just makes it no different than facebook
svati 12:10 PM
yeah, I know a bit more about some of my college friends’ weekend spending habits now than I ever wanted to
heatherlandy 12:11 PM
no different from facebook except that in addition to knowing about vegas debauchery, we can now share with people what we paid for, in accessing said debauchery. and that’s just DUMB.
svati 12:11 PM
I paid [name redacted] for lunch yesterday and she’s not connected to me there or on fb
jason 12:11 PM
i will now read any and every single thing about venmo. baffled
sonali 12:11 PM
gideon 12:12 PM
this is hilarious. every millennial in the office has joined the channel
heatherlandy 12:12 PM
next skill-share meeting: how to use venmo
you think i’m joking.
gideon 12:12 PM
heather is going to Educate you all
heatherlandy 12:13 PM
oh no, not at the venmo skill-share. just at the “how to keep some semblance of your life private so that corporate interests can’t completely exploit you” skill-share.
gideon 12:13 PM
i am tempted to take this entire chat, annotate it with everyone’s ages, and just publish it (lightly edited)
would anyone object?
jason 12:26 PM
i propose labelling people >30 or <30, henceforth known as the “Venmo line”
leo 12:27 PM
yes, if you must, better not to disclose everyone’s precise age.
heatherlandy 12:28 PM
see, leo, you’re still early enough in your 30s to be embarrassed about being there.
i promise, by [age redacted], YOU WILL NOT CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS OF YOU.
leo 12:30 PM
it’s not that. i just dislike sharing any personal information on the internet (I know, I know, this will baffle our younger staff members.) Such as my age.
heatherlandy 12:31 PM
The perfect coda to this conversation.