Good app; unnecessary social network

venmo_banner_newI may be a little late in the game, but I finally created a Venmo account.

For those of you, who, like me, still carry around a checkbook in your purse and might not know about Venmo, it’s a phone app that allows friends to pay each other directly from one bank account to another. Convenient for splitting the restaurant bill, paying rent, or doing a group rental for a game of Whirlyball.

But when I created my account and logged in, I was surprised to see a Facebook-esque newsfeed. They’ve pulled my Facebook friends and created a special newsfeed for me, like this (I won’t do a screen shot so I can change the names here):

Mark Schwartz paid Fred Cohen for sailing
Like   Comment   15hr

Sarah Smith paid Alexandra Roth for powdered sugar
Like   Comment    17hr

Susan Epstein paid Elizabeth Friedland for keeping the house functional
Like   Comment   ❤ 1  20 hr *

Rich Lang paid Molly Jones for [series of emoticons I don’t understand]
Like   Comment    1d

Jon Siegel paid Raphael Gold for Chicken Hut lunch. Thanks!
Like   Comment   1d

*That ❤ on the Susan Epstein transaction appears to be similar to a “like” on Facebook. Clicking on that transaction shows me that Isabel Arthur “likes” this transaction.

I’m a big fan of Facebook. I’m on Twitter and I love YouTube. I’m even on Instagram, though I still don’t totally understand its etiquette. But why do we need yet ANOTHER social network — one that tracks personal financial transactions?

I see what happened here. Every company wants to be the next Facebook. So some guy came up with this app as an easy way to split the grocery bill with his roommate. Suddenly, the app became huge, and he, now the CEO, said, “We gotta get social. Let’s figure out a way to involve news feeds, liking, commenting, emoji, and statuses. Mark Zuckerberg will never know what hit him.”

I figured out that you can, in fact, change your privacy settings so that the whole world doesn’t have to find out when you paid your friend for your dinner because you embarrassingly forgot your wallet one night. But why, Venmo? Why is that even necessary?

What’s next?

A social network for the Flashlight app? (“Lia turned on her flashlight when she couldn’t find the light switch in the room.” “So funny, that happens to me all the time,” a friend comments.)

A social network for the Calculator app? (“Lia used the Calculator app to figure out 35 + 455.” “What, Lia, did you never take math in high school? Duhhhh!”)

A social network for the Transit Tracker app I use to find out when the bus is coming? (“Lia got on the 146 bus at Hawthorne and got off at Belmont.” “Couldn’t walk the couple of blocks?? Lazzyyyyy.”)

Well, friends, I’ll talk to you all soon — or if I don’t talk to you, at least I’ll creepily see that you paid your friend for pizza delivery and an OnDemand movie rental.

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One thought on “Good app; unnecessary social network

  1. I’ve never used Venmo, but I’ve seen some of my friends that have used it where Venmo then posted to Facebook. Seems like that is a slippery slope, since financial transactions are things that I don’t consider to be safely shareable.

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