I consider Venmo because the social community that drank reality serum: It reveals who really hangs out, who eats collectively, and who lives collectively—and who exchanges cash within the course of. If aspirational Instagram is a type of inventive nonfiction, then Venmo is a chilly splash of logistical info.
From the voyeuristic viewpoint of my Venmo avatar, I can see whose plans had been dashed, which futures almost materialized, which siblings are again below the identical roofs, who appears to be socializing exterior of their speedy households, who’s renting and watching motion pictures collectively (Contagion, but additionally Little Girls and Final Days of Disco), who’s accumulating donations for a trigger, who’s paying health instructors for streaming courses, who’s getting their groceries by way of FreshDirect, whose mother sends slightly money in making an attempt occasions, who commissioned a designer for assorted bachelorette get together paraphernalia, which couples divvy up their grocery and dinner bills, who was nonetheless having sushi with associates whereas others had been already referring to their groceries as “COVID-19 stuff.”
Trying again now, the road of demarcation between our previous lives and these unusual new ones is evident: On March 10th, individuals nonetheless assume they’re going to a school reunion weekend in June or a wine tasting subsequent weekend (having gone to karaoke the evening earlier than). On March 13th, the cancellations begin, and the vernacular shifts—to refunds, to modifications of plans, to grocery procuring within the face of the unknown, and the inevitability of the utility invoice. I can’t think about a greater tagline for Venmo than “a penny to your ideas.”
Graphics by Lorenza Centi.