by Emmy Liederman
In a world where people’s lives are documented by status updates and Instagram posts, it’s not surprising that the line between what is kept private and what is shared with the world has been blurred.
But Venmo, a popular app in which users can send and receive payments, as well as like and comment on each other’s transactions, is proving that even the most personal and seemingly uninteresting aspects of our lives are becoming integrated into every app we use.
Venmo allows users to track, like and comment on the transactions of their Facebook friends, Venmo friends, phone contacts and even strangers worldwide. Although only the people involved in the transactions can view the amount exchanged, the app requires an explanation about the transaction, which can be seen publicly.
“It satisfies our innate desire to know what others are doing and our natural curiosity on a more intimate level than Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat,” said Ana Ionescu, a WHS ’16 alumna.
Added senior Kyra Sullivan: “People like to know when others are going out and having fun and also want to appear as if they have an exciting social life.”
According to Business Insider, 81 percent of Venmo’s users are millennials.
Among high school and college students, the app is commonly used to pay friends for food, Uber rides, and—more often than not—drugs and alcohol. “Oftentimes, a lot of people will be reimbursing one person who hosted a party or supplied drinks, and it is much easier to keep track of Venmo transactions than cash,” said senior Max Kleiman-Lynch.
While the app does function as a social media network, many are attracted to Venmo because of its convenience.
Senior Matt Bernstein said, “I enjoy how functional the app is but personally have no interest in making my transactions a social statement.”