Thanks to Venmo, We Now All Know How Cheap Our Friends Are

Excerpt from this article:

Margaret Pennoyer, an elementary school teacher in Manhattan, had just returned from a bachelorette party in Napa Valley when she received an email that had been sent to all the guests. The two organizers had itemized each woman’s individual expenses, which they had covered, and requested reimbursement through Venmo, an app that transfers money between users who have linked their bank accounts to their phones. Ms. Pennoyer owed $31.98 to one woman and $20.62 to the other.

In a previous time, the organizers likely would have asked everyone to bring enough cash to repay them in person or to mail a check afterward, courteously rounding down to $30 and $20. But the Venmo request, calculated to the penny, struck Ms. Pennoyer, 29, as emblematic of how the app, the most popular among her fellow millennials for everything from entertainment expenses to rent shares, “changes friendships and makes them more transactional,” she said. “It’s nickel-and-diming everything, literally.”

By rendering payments between friends nearly invisible — no cash changes hands, no checks are written — Venmo theoretically should make these relationships less obviously transactional. Yet not only does it encourage pettiness, distilling the messiness of human experience down to a digitally precise data point, but by making it so easy to pay someone back for purchases as trifling as a coffee, the app arguably promotes the libertarian, every-user-for-himself ethos of Silicon Valley.

“It’s making people less generous and chivalrous,” Ms. Pennoyer said. “It used to be you’d go to a restaurant, and you’d put down your credit cards and split it 50-50, even if one person had steak and one had chicken. But now people pay exactly to the cent.”

Forget about Fake News, the Real Problem Is “Fake Productivity”

From this website:

We’ve gotten very good at making time for busywork and very bad at making time for our best work. In this recent talk, I outline why we’re so addicted to “fake productivity” — those small, mindless tasks that feel productive but actually get us nowhere — and how we can shift our attention back to the work that matters.

The Fidget Spinner Is Google’s Latest Easter Egg Distraction

Excerpt from this article:

I wasn’t above squeezing an occasional round of Doom in between study sessions in college, and am certainly not shy about catching some Pokémon if any are lurking in my office (that’s a no).

But if I have a particularly busy workday and want to kill 30 seconds before entering a meeting, or want to keep my attention focused during a meeting, Google’s got my back with some sweet search engine Easter eggs. They just added a new one. It rhymes with “digit sinner.”

 

Everyone Secretly Hates Your “Friendly Reminder” Email

Excerpt from this article:

How many times have you gotten this type of message? “Just sending a friendly reminder to please . . .” And how many times have you sent it?

You might think that “friendly reminder” emails are a nice attempt to be professional while disguising your actual annoyance at whoever’s holding you up from finishing something. In other words, it’s just a non-confrontational way to ask for something that’s late.

Well guess what? That’s all a misguided fantasy and it’s making everybody you email with secretly resent you. You need to stop doing it–immediately. Here’s why, and what to write instead.

 

Why ‘Radical Body Love’ Is Thriving on Instagram

Excerpt from this article:

Ms. Holliday is not only unapologetic about her size-22 body, she is proud of it, with a confidence  has catapulted her to mainstream fame. In 2015, she landed a modeling contract with Milk Management and a People magazine cover, and has become a leader in an online movement called BoPo, short for “body positive.”

The movement has become a growing force on Instagram in particular, acting as a counterweight to the millions of posts of tiny tummies and thigh gaps propagated by the thousands of traditional models who dominate social media.

Instagram allows us “to cultivate our own experiences,” Ms. Holliday said, who has a new book, “The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl.”

“Prior to Instagram, you just saw whatever online. Now you can follow people that are into body positivity, feminism, radical body love, artists. People that inspire me,” she said.

“It’s really important to surround yourself with people that uplift you and support you, and so you really have a community of that.”

Laugh and the World Laughs With You. Type ‘Ha,’ Not So Much.

Excerpt from this article:

It was early in our courtship that I realized the guy I was dating, with whom I now cohabit, wasn’t laughing at my jokes. Well actually, he may have been laughing at my jokes, and in fact I thought he was laughing at my jokes, because he consistently responded with boisterous HAHAHAs to my humorous text messages.

It was flattering. Except when I made a joke that clearly wasn’t that funny — perhaps only worthy of a single ha — and suddenly it dawned on me that his typical HAHAHA reply (that’s three HAs, no spaces, all caps) was formulaic. Which could mean only one thing: This was not indicative of an actual measurement of laughter, but merely of the autocorrect function on his phone that had memorized a HA sequence. I was the idiot thinking I was hilarious and he was just sooo into me.

Take hahaha, which we’ll call basic laughter. It’s actually anything but basic, with the ability to shorten (haha), lengthen (hahahahahaha), capitalize (HAHAHA), punctuate (Ha!), elongate (Haaaaaaaaa), or replace with an “e” (hehe) — though, realtalk, The New Yorker may have called hehehe a “younger person’s e-laugh,” but ask any actual young person today and his or her response is likely to be “ew.” (Heh, however, is acceptable.)

Then of course there is LOL, for “laugh out loud,” which actually means the opposite, because nobody using LOL has actually laughed out loud since at least 2015. “It’s like saying ‘k,’” said Sharon Attia, a 22-year-old college senior, noting that a single ha is also pretty much the equivalent to giving someone your best resting bitch face.

Variations to LOL (or lol, as it may be) include the phonetic “lul,” or “the cool girl’s el-oh-el,” as Ms. Attia described it, which is “like a blase-inspired ‘lol’ — as if I am acknowledging that this is humorous but do you really have nothing better to do than text me about it?” There is also Lollerskates, lollercoaster, loltastic, words that are “fantastically creative,” as the linguist Gretchen McCulloch has written, but “ring vintage early 2000s.” Another expansion, she noted, is lolz or lulz — “but it’s more of a noun than an emotive response,” as in “so many lulz” (pronounced “lawlz”).

A FaceTime Relationship Turns Face to Face

Excerpt from this article:

When you talk to someone on FaceTime, there is a little square of your face in the corner that gives you a self-awareness you would not get on a date. It’s as if you’re holding up a tiny mirror in front of yourself during the entire conversation.

He tells you a story, you respond and then think: “Don’t react too hard. Your eyebrow lines are getting deeper. Maybe it’s time for Botox, but what if Botox makes your eyelids go limp for a month? Also lift the phone higher; you have a double chin. Oh hey, you should look as if you’re paying more attention.”