Venmo Essay

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Over the past several years, large banks have developed mobile payment apps for those with accounts to exchange funds easily amongst one another. In 2009, Venmo was made publicly available and, not long after, the money-transfer app took off due to its convenience and allowance for inter-institutional transfers (members of different banks can transfer money to one another). The app has grown at an incredible rate, handling over $700 million of transactions in the third quarter of 2014 alone. By linking with social media, it has become the go-to way to split a restaurant bill among friends, contribute gas money, etc. and, like Google, has attained the honor of being used colloquially as a verb (i.e. “Venmo me for the bill”).
While Venmo has
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Particularly, there was one Venmo user, Christopher Grey, who can be considered the generalized victim of the app’s security shortfalls. His case was the subject of a article (1) that is the origin of all other social media and blog stories criticizing Venmo. The reality of the situation was that “all” of the horror stories mentioned in the previous paragraph are just iterations of the same few users that actually suffered, Christopher Grey likely being the subject of 85%-90% of that mass of articles, posts, and messages. This is a consequence of the developed connective culture that Jose Van Dijck writes about:
“A major change is that through social media, these casual speech acts have turned into formalized inscriptions, which, once embedded in the larger economy of wider publics, take on a different value. Utterances previously expressed offhandedly are now released into a public domain where they can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects.” (2)
This article became “a formalized inscription” upon which the user-controlled media of today based its barrage of public attacks on Venmo.
In my personal life, I’ve experienced the small scale debate about Venmo, having friends of various ages who are reluctant to linking debit card or bank account information to the app arguing about repayment for a Papa John’s delivery with those who adore the convenience of the app. Recently, it has become the subject of national discussion, especially as established
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