Paying people for their attention

I have a weakness. I love listening in to other people's conversations on the bus! I was sat behind a gaggle pride squad of teenage girls on the bus. They were variously complaining about their schoolwork, parents, and love-lives.

I'm not going to attempt to recreate their vernacular, but the conversation went something like this:

"Why won't Daren answer my WhatsApps?!"
"Is he leaving you on read?"
"Yeah, but he gets loads of messages. I just want him to call me!"
"Send him some cash, yeah?"
"Hit his Monzo with a penny and leave a message!"

One of the girls proceeded to demonstrate. She opened her Internet banking app, and sent her friend a couple of pence, with a reference of "Call me, bitch!".
A couple of seconds later, the friend's phone buzzed as her app informed her that money had arrived in her account.

It's compelling, isn't it? If you see some unexpected payment come in, you'll check it right away. And the sending party knows that.

Of course, there is also a social obligation to return money that you don't rightly deserve. A good way to generate a response!

I remember when SMS cost 12p a go. I spent a huge amount of money flirting and feuding. It seems odd now that we're in an age of free messaging and video calling. But throwing money at a problem often works.

There a wonderful story on modern etiquette I read about a group of madladz who would periodically bombard each other with £3.50. All fun and games until one of them decided to abscond with the kitty!

I've been on the receiving end of this - with people pinging me joke sums of money in exotic currencies.

Similarly, I know people who ping their significant others with significant sums of money; a penny for your thoughts, you're a perfect 10, that sort of thing.

There's a dark side to this, of course. Stalkers and harassers can use these services to send unwanted messages.

Ask your bank how you can block someone from sending you money. Bet you a quid that you can't. Most financial institutions haven't caught up to the fact that every app which can be used to send messages, will be abused.

A grim inversion of Zawinski's law

How long before recruiters get bored of receiving no reply on LinkedIn and start using Venmo to get your attention?

The future is weird.

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3 thoughts on “Paying people for their attention”

  1. says:

    Ask your bank how you can block someone from sending you money. Bet you a quid that you can't.

    With Monzo you can 🙂 You can either ask to block internal P2P stuff (which would be split the bill requests, payments to Monzo contacts, joint account creation requests), or you can ask to block abusive FPS payments (by account number and sort code).

    I actually recall when this was made a couple of years ago, and I used to be one of the people that modified the config to action these block requests (it's now more sophisticated).

  2. "Ask your bank how you can block someone from sending you money."

    Or better still, how you can set a lower limit.

    Want to advertise to, or try to recruit me? Sure, but it'll cost you this much...


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