It’s an old story. Two people date, they break up, they both go on Tinder. And on Tinder, one of them stumbles across an incredibly creepy photo, taken inside the apartment they used to share. Plus, a new Yes Yes No
PJ VOGT: From Gimlet, this is Reply All. I’m PJ Vogt.
ALEX GOLDMAN: And I’m Alex Goldman.
PJ: And this week, Super Tech Support returns.
ALEX: [gently singing along to the Super Tech Support theme]
PJ: Oh god.
ALEX: [laughs] So, PJ, normally the way it works with Super Tech Support is that someone comes to me with tech problems and I resolve them. Because, um, I have a history of supporting people. Technically.
ALEX: But, uh, I’m coming to you with a problem that’s, like, from a part of the internet that I don’t really know anything about because I’ve been in the same relationship for so long that I just don’t know anything about online dating. So I figure, like –
PJ: I have online dated. Which – which part of the online dating universe are we going to?
ALEX: We are going to, uh, Tinder.
ALEX: You’re familiar.
PJ: It’s like the most popular dating app.
ALEX: I mean, I know what it is. I’ve nev-
PJ: Have you never used Tinder?
ALEX: I’ve never used it. What am I going to use it for? I’ve been married for six years.
PJ: Married people have this thing about like, “Let me see your Tinder, let me Tinder for you.” A lot of them, where they’ll take your phone and they’ll just start, like, they’re like, “Yes. No. Whatever,” and it’s like, you’re inviting people on dates for me. This is my life, would you stop.
ALEX: It’s like treating people like video game characters. “It doesn’t matter if – if I kill you. You’ll just regenerate.”
PJ: Yeah, you-
ALEX: “It doesn’t matter if I send you on a bad date, you’ll bounce back.”
PJ: “You’re not married. Your life has no value.”
PJ: OK, so what’s the thing?
ALEX: Here’s the background.
ALEX: This woman named Molly, she lives in Brooklyn.
ALEX: Two years ago, she moved in with her boyfriend. And about a year after that, they broke up.
MOLLY: So, uh, I moved out. And a month and a half after that, I got a text from him with a screenshot from Tinder – so there was that – I was learning that he was using Tinder after a month and a half, and it showed a picture of a girl that I had never seen before, sitting in my dining room, hugging my dog. Just surrounded by my stuff.
PJ: That’s like a horror movie. How were they sure it was their place?
ALEX: It was a picture of a woman sitting on an IKEA bench that they bought together, on top of a old ratty sheepskin that her ex-boyfriend owned. Holding Molly’s dog.
PJ: That’s weird. It – I’m assuming that Molly didn’t know who this person was.
ALEX: Molly didn’t know who this person was.
PJ: Somebody had been in their apartment who neither of them knew, and had taken a picture of themselves or an- and had a picture in their apartment and that picture was their Tinder photo?
PJ: That’s so weird…Did he swipe right on her?
ALEX: Uh, yes, he did…and is the – i- is the way [laughs] — is the way that Tinder works that the other person has to swipe right on you as well before communication can be initiated?
PJ: Yes. I can’t me- if I s- if you don’t swipe right on me, I can’t message you.
ALEX: Right. She did not swipe right on him.
PJ: Got it.
ALEX: So all that Molly had to go on was this woman’s profile.
MOLLY: It says her name is Jennifer, she was 28 years old at the time that screenshot was taken. Um, she’s interested in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Um, and that was about all the information that was included there. And – and my ex texted me with the caption, “Do you know who this is? We have no common friends, uh, and I’ve never seen her before.”
ALEX: Yeah, I mean, that must have been – It must have been very complicated. ‘Cause he – he came to you with something that was kind of tantalizing — like a mystery. He didn’t know who this person was. But…I mean, there must have been some end-of-relationship calculus to that too, he had an excuse to contact you, and also the subtext was, “I am dating now.”
MOLLY: [laughs] Yeah, definitely.Um, and it – I was trying to figure that out. At first, I was like, “Oh, you’re just reaching out because you want to show me this in like a – a – a fairly cool and interesting way — like, this is just an excuse to show me you’re using Tinder and you’ve totally moved on.”
MOLLY: I of course immediately went and did some revenge Tinder-ing.
MOLLY: But … we don’t have to go into that.
ALEX: Um, going back to Jennifer’s picture — you know, when you’re on a dating site, you are trying to basically summarize your personality in three photographs or whatever. And, so, posing with someone else’s dog in someone else’s house kind of feels like misrepresentation.
MOLLY: That’s what I think too. And I – I understand that there’s significant pressure on Tinder to have a pic of you with a cute dog. I get that. But that’s my cute dog. I work very hard to keep him cute.
MOLLY: You’re posting a picture of yourself surrounded by somebody else’s life. Not just my dog. But my apartment, my furniture. Like, everything that belongs to me. And you’re using that to represent yourself.
PJ: Oh, that’s creepy. Follow up question — do they ever Airbnb their place?
ALEX: She had people housesit a couple times, and she asked a barista who worked at the coffee shop around the corner once to like walk her dog, and paid that person.
PJ: Was that the barista?
ALEX: No. Initially, she thought she knew who it was. She thought it was the friend of a friend who had watched their house.
ALEX: She went to the friend and was like, “Hey, is th- is this a picture of your roommate?” and she was like, “No, I have no idea who that person is.”
PJ: I’m sure that I can find her in real life. I’m really good at — I mean everyone’s really good at this, but given three pictures of a person on Tinder and like their name and age, I can find her in real life. Is that what you’re asking?
ALEX: Yeah, I want you to find her and figure out what she was doing with Molly’s dog.
PJ: Yeah. I can do that. I feel very confident that I can find her.
ALEX: Alright, so. How long did it take you to find this person?
PJ: When i figured out how to do it, it didn’t take long. But it took a couple different methods. I actually feel like this is one that you could have solved.
ALEX: The whole reason I employed you to do this in the first place is, I was like, “PJ knows Tinder, he would be less afraid to swipe on someone.”
PJ: OK. Well, do you want to hear how I did it?
ALEX: It d- didn’t have anything to do with swiping?
PJ: …Well, you just wait.
PJ: OK. So, you know – you know about TinEye, right?
PJ: OK, so, I feel like not everybody knows about TinEye. But, there are these websites that let you do reverse image searches. And what that means is, you can plug in uh – you can just plug in the URL for somebody’s picture, and it will show you every other place on the internet that picture appears.
People who online date, I think, are actually pretty used to doing this. At least the people I know. You see somebody’s picture, you want to know who they actually are. Um, you take the picture, you plug it into reverse image search. 7 times out of 10 they use the same headshot for everything. And like, you’ll be on their Twitter page and you’ll know who they are.
So I tried that and it didn’t work, like nothing came up. Which really confounded me because I had this theory looking at her pictures that she seemed like a graphic designer or photographer and those are usually people who have web presences.
ALEX: What are you basing that on?
PJ: She was very stylish, and the picture she had of herself looked like they were – there’s one in particular that just looked like it was taken by photographer instead of by, like, someone’s cell phone.
ALEX: Is that the black & white one?
ALEX: Yeah, it does. It looks like it was taken in the middle of an art project.
PJ: Yeah. So, when that didn’t work, I just literally started searching–her name’s Jennifer–so I was like, “Jennifer photographer. Jennifer photographer Brooklyn.” Did not work. And then I kind of went back to the drawing board. And I looked at the Tinder screengrab again. And one of the things Tinder does is it shows you the interests on your Facebook profile that you have in common with the person.
I was like, “Maybe they both like something that’s really rare and obscure.” They only have one interest in common. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Massively popular network television show.
ALEX: Yeah, that’s not much of a help.
PJ: So, I realized that the only things I knew about this woman was her first name, her age, that she liked It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and that she did not like Molly’s ex.
ALEX: ‘Cause she didn’t swipe right on him.
ALEX: Did you go on Twinder- Tinder and swipe right on her?
PJ: Well. Here’s what I did. Basically, I found out everything I could about Molly’s ex and I made a Facebo- or, I made a Tinder profile that was the opposite of him. So, like, he’s short, my fake person was tall. He has blonde hair, my fake person has dark hair. He is very thin, my fake person is very fat. And the only thing they have in common is that they live in the same neighborhood, and they both like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
ALEX: And then you went and found her and swiped right?
PJ: And she swiped right back.
ALEX: What, on like a tall, fat guy?
PJ: OK, I’m lying. That’s not what happened. Wouldn’t it be great though?
ALEX: That would be great!
ALEX: It seems so implausible, I’d love it to be true. What did you do instead?
PJ: I remember that there’s another reverse image search I hadn’t tried and I plugged her picture into there and I found her immediately. So this whole process was like 10 minutes. So, basically, I now had the last name of the Jennifer in the picture. And, so, I was able to see a lot of things about her. I knew — it turns out she’s not a photographer. She works in music publicity. And the picture of her in Molly’s apartment, that picture was also on her Instagram. But there wasn’t – there wasn’t a caption that had some great clue. Like, “Oh, another great day sneaking into people’s apartments and dognapping their dogs for pictures,” or whatever.
ALEX: Is this going to be one of those things where like, someone sends you on sort-of like a semi-scrupulous task and then you – it’s – is it going to be like She’s All That? They’re like trying to turn her into a – like a real popular girl and then you’re gonna fall in love halfway along the way, and then she’s gonna find out your – your plan and get mad at you, but then you guys are gonna end up together anyway?
PJ: Is that what you want to happen?
ALEX: No. Not at all. It’s just…you have sort-of said, like, you know, she seems really cool, she’s very fashionable —
PJ: I like have a girlfriend!
ALEX: Yeah, that’s true.
PJ: What do you think my life is like? Does it- do like – does every non-married person just like seem so sinful to you that their like – just like atoms waiting to attach to each other?
ALEX: It just seems like, if this were a movie script, this is how it would end up.
PJ: Sure. So the question that we started with was just, why was Jennifer — who doesn’t know Molly — in Molly’s apartment taking a picture with her dog? And it turns out the answer is actually pretty simple.
So I messaged Jennifer on Instagram, then got her on the phone. Um, she is friends with the barista who Molly asked to walk her dog. And Jennifer said that the barista was very, very, very, scared of the whole thing she’d been asked to do. She didn’t want to do it.
JENNIFER: So my friend already thought it was weird that you would just ask your barista to dogsit for you and give you keys to your apartment.
PJ: Why did she say yes?
JENNIFER: I don’t know. I really don’t know. But my friend had never had a dog or interacted with dogs. And I grew up with a dog. So, I just went over with her, and the dog was so cute. So fluffy. And while I was petting it, she took that photo of me.
JENNIFER: And that’s it.
PJ: So, she’s just hanging out with the dog, friend took a photo. But then — she answered a question that I did not think was gonna get answered.
ALEX: Which was?
PJ: Why didn’t she swipe right on the guy?
ALEX: Ohhh! Why didn’t she swipe right on the guy?
PJ: So it was nothing personal. Um, the only reason she had an account was because of a trip she had taken.
JENNIFER: I went to Norway with some friends, and when we were – we was sitting down just taking a break, they said, “You have to, like, see what Norwegian men on Tinder look like.” And so, I had to download the app, make an account. And I – in order to make the account, I just pulled a couple, like, really random photos. And one of them was me with that dog. Um…
PJ: That’s so — oh, and what are Norwegian Tinder men like?
JENNIFER: A lot of…a lot of like, uh, heavy metal dudes.
JENNIFER: Heavy metal’s huge in Norway. Yeah.
PJ: So, I got in touch with Molly and I asked her to come into the studio so I could just tell her what had happened. And then this very weird thing happened. Which is that, in the lobby of the building, she ran into Adam, her ex, who she has not seen since they split up. He was going to some event involving drones on another floor, he seemed pretty caught off guard — which is fair — but he agreed to come into the studio so I could tell them both what happened.
MOLLY: [laughing] This is so weird.
PJ: OK, so — pull this very close. Can you hear?
ADAM: Oh yeah.
PJ: So I said, you know, it was the barista all along. And Adam was like, “Oh god, I remember that. I was totally against this whole stranger-walking-the-dog plan.” Like –
ADAM: I just don’t like people in my apartment when I’m not there. Who are like, randoms. Like, I don’t know, I have stuff –
ADAM: – that’s small and…
MOLLY: I guess I’m a bad girlfriend.
MOLLY: I was like, “I understand your frustration. Also — gonna ignore it.”
PJ: Well, how would you have solved it?
ADAM: And not tell you.
PJ: Wait! “Not tell you”?
MOLLY: Did I not tell you?
ADAM: You didn’t tell me until after I was like, “Who is this?”
ADAM: I never knew you had actually had –
ADAM: – a random person walk the dog. I remember –
MOLLY: Are you sure?
ADAM: Yeah, you –
MOLLY: No, I could –
ADAM: – said, “Fine, I’ll get a friend or something.” I do not remember you saying, “Oh yeah, by the way, I gave the keys to the person who gives me my coffee.” I –
ADAM: – didn’t hear that part.
MOLLY: I’m sorry. Damn.
PJ: So Alex, you know how in the Dark Ages barbers were also doctors?
ALEX: Like th-
PJ: Like, you’d go to your barber and they’d give you, like, a haircut and, like, leeches or whatever.
PJ: So, in the end, I think this is a story about a person who — in the modern age — believes that baristas are also dog-walkers.
ALEX: [laughs] I mean, I feel like that was, like, prevailing wisdom though, in the Dark Ages. I don’t know that –
PJ: Ideas start with one person.
ALEX: Oh, OK.
PJ: Somebody must have gone to get a haircut or a bloodletting and said, “Hey, also, can you hook me up with the other thing?”
ALEX: [laughs] So, when I worked at Subway — when I was like 16 or 17 — uh, one of my customers asked me to watch her cat while she was on vacation. And I did.
PJ: Wait, what?
PJ: Is this normal?
ALEX: I don’t know. It’s like, I feel like there’s a certain amount of familiarity you get with people who are in customer service jobs where you start to feel like you might know them. Especially if you see them, like, every day. I mean, the Subway I worked at was in the Michigan – University of Michigan student’s union, so it was like a place where the kids would use their meal plans and they would be there every day.
PJ: Why did you do it? ‘Cause you say, “No,” to stuff.
ALEX: I don’t know. I think it was for, like, the sheer, strange novelty of it.
PJ: That’s a good reason to do it.
ALEX: But I will say…that, in addition to like cleaning the cat’s litterbox and feeding it, they had some good Nintendo games. So I played some Nintendo. Is that weird?
PJ: I mean, here’s what’s weird — it is weird, but you’re so far out of the – you – you’ve like gone off-road, as far as like normal social rules apply, so like — I don’t know what’s weird anymore.
PJ: I assume if someone is alone in my apartment, they’ve done all the weird stuff.
ALEX: What do you mean by, “all the weird stuff”? Like, rubbing their butts on your books or something? Like what?
PJ: I feel like if you’re – if you’re a person who is…average to more-than-average curious about people, it’s just like — it’s such a trove of information about somebody. Like, you understand things about someone by being in their home that you will never understand otherwise. It’s like — I completely expect it. I completely expect it.
ALEX: So you expect everybody to do all the weird stuff, but you don’t do all the weird stuff yourself?
PJ: I snoop. I am a person who snoops. People should not leave me in their homes, because I will look at their stuff.
ALEX: Don’t worry, I won’t.
PJ: [laughs] But it’s not like…the things that I am really interested in are not, I think, like the cliche snoop things.
ALEX: Like diaries?
PJ: Yeah, like — I mean, I’ll look at a diary.
PJ: But there is better stuff than diaries. There’s weirder stuff. I’ll give you an example.
PJ: When I was in college, uh, I was dating somebody who was subletting someone’s apartment for like a month, uh, in Union Square.
PJ: And so I stayed there with her. And when you opened the wardrobe –
PJ: – there was these taped-up printed instructions with a diagram about how to tie a tie.
ALEX: That does tell you a lot about a person.
PJ: Yeah! Like, I felt like a real – I still think about that person. Like, I think about that person and, like, with like a real fondness. Like that they were…I don’t know, there was something really human and vulnerable about imagining this person, like, carefully tying their tie in the mirror, reading the tie tying instructions.
PJ: But it’s not like, I w- I didn’t want to, like, see their underwear or like look at their bank statements. It was just like — I knew something, like, private and human about that person because that thing was there.
ALEX: You’re almost making yourself not sound like a weirdo.
PJ: And then I smelled all their underwear.
ALEX: Yeah. There we go.
PJ: OK, here’s my final say on this. This is vampire rules. It would have – all of these things would have been transgressions had she not been invited across the threshold of their home. The same way, like, a vampire needs permission to come in your home. But once you’ve told someone who’s a stranger that they-th- that- that they can go in your home…unrestrictedly, after that, nothing’s weird. And it’s definitely not weird to take a picture with somebody’s dog.
AG: Alright. Well, I’ve learned a lot about you, I’ve learned about society and um…
PJ: Close the ticket? Isn’t that what they say in technical support? Close the ticket?
AG: Yeah, this this trouble ticket has been resolved.
After the break – Alex Blumberg, continues to be confused about the internet.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Welcome once again to Yes Yes No, the segment on the show where our boss Alex Blumberg comes to us with tweets that he can’t make heads or tails of and we inflict upon him the answers to those tweets.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughs]
PJ VOGT: Inflict! [laughs]
ALEX BLUMBERG: I know. It’s a – it’s a form of penance.
ALEX GOLDMAN: [laughs]
ALEX BLUMBERG: That I –
PJ: What is the thing –
ALEX BLUMBERG: – for my ignorance. For my internet ignorance.
ALEX BLUMBERG: I come here and I am – I’m – I’m flogged with your knowledge.
PJ: “Flogged with your knowledge.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughs]
PJ: Um, that’s a great title.
[ALEX BLUMBERG and ALEX GOLDMAN laugh]
ALEX GOLDMAN: Um, so do you have a – do you have something for us this week?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I do, I – um. Somebody tweeted at me, actually. So it’s a guy named Kyle Ma-han, Mah-an — sorry Kyle. Uh…@kyle[w]mahan, uh, and he says, I just – “I need a Yes Yes No for this one” @replyall @-
ALEX BLUMBERG: – @abexlumberg, so –
ALEX BLUMBERG: – this fully – this is fully just sort-of like, we are – this is service journalism. At its finest. And, the tweet in question uh…a Twitter user named Caro, C-A-R-O, um, uhh, and her handle is @socarolinesays. Uh, and here’s the body of the tweet — “HRC social media manager: We just tweeted ‘delete your account.’ Hillary: mom Hillary: yas Hillary: drag him”
ALEX GOLDMAN: OK.
PJ: Where where – and where are you at on this? Where does your level of comprehension start and where does it end?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Well, I know what a social media manager is.
ALEX BLUMBERG: And I know that Hill- HRC stands for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
ALEX GOLDMAN: W-we’re get- w-w-we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughing] We are?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes, we are.
PJ: Wow. Um.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughing]
ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, PJ Vogt, do you understand this tweet?
PJ: Yes. You’re looking at me like you want me to ask you a question.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I would. It’s sort of –
PJ: Alex –
ALEX GOLDMAN: – it’s how this thing works.
PJ: Alex Goldman, do you understand this tweet?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes.
PJ: Alex Blumberg…I think we know – I think we know if Alex Blumberg understands this tweet.
ALEX BLUMBERG: I do not. Alright, flog me fellas.
PJ: OK –
ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh boy.
PJ: So wait, so you were –
ALEX GOLDMAN: I hope that doesn’t become a thing.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughs]
PJ: Um…so you were — you – you – you know there’s social media managers, you’re familiar with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
ALEX BLUMBERG: I am.
PJ: What else have you got?
ALEX BLUMBERG: ….nothing. Nothing.
PJ: This is pure.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughing]
ALEX GOLDMAN: It is pure. As the driven snow. I find it – I find this so sweet.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Like, legitimately. I feel, like, an incredible fondness for you right now.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughing] Oh god.
PJ: So, are you familiar with – have you ever seen anyone on Twitter say, “Delete your account”?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I have seen people say, delete your-, “Delete your account.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: And what I’ve taken it to mean is just, like, the Twitter equivalent of, “Shut up.”
PJ: Yeah, and sometimes, in like a sort-of jokey way. Like – like someone’ll express an opinion, something that’s not that important. Like, saying that they love a food you think is gross. And you’ll say, “Ah, delete your account.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it. So sometimes it’s like, you’re…you’re a- “You’re an angry, bitter person, delete your account.” And then sometimes it’s sort of like your friend just said, “I really love…whatever.”
PJ: “I don’t get why Hamilton‘s so good.” And you would say, “Delete your account.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: Gotcha.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, I – I –
ALEX BLUMBERG: “Hamilton‘s overrated.”
PJ: “Delete your account.” Yeah.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Gotcha.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I feel like it’s important to note…
ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh-huh.
ALEX GOLDMAN: …people say, “Delete your account,” to me fairly regularly.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Can you just tell me the last tweet that somebody told you to delete your account about?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh –
PJ: That is a good question.
ALEX GOLDMAN: – let me see if I can find on- find it. Hold on just a second.
PJ: This shouldn’t be hard.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, Twitter advanced search…uh…
ALEX BLUMBERG: There’s an advanced search on Twitter?
ALEX GOLDMAN: …delete your account…to agoldmund…
ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Um…
ALEX BLUMBERG: I didn’t know you could do that.
PJ: Here it was. You tweeted, “Have you heard my podcast, Reply Owl? It’s a real hoot.”
[ALEX GOLDMAN AND ALEX BLUMBERG LAUGHING]
ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh my god!
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughing]
ALEX GOLDMAN: I deserve that.
[ALEX BLUMBERG and ALEX GOLDMAN laughing]
PJ: I can’t believe you guys – I don’t know what you’re laughing about.
ALEX BLUMBERG: I love that.
ALEX GOLDMAN: [laughs]
ALEX BLUMBERG: ‘Cause it’s like – it’s like – it’s like if like – if like, some weird Borscht Belt comedian from like, the – the 20s got transported to the – the 21st century and was on Twitter. And that would be you.
ALEX GOLDMAN: [laughs] That’s the best compliment I’ve ever received.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughs] So, somebody said, “Delete your account” to that.
PJ: Yes. Uh-
ALEX BLUMBERG: Deserve — exactly! OK, gotcha.
PJ: Um…so…last week, uh, Hillary Clinton was endorsed by Barack Obama. Donald Trump tweeted, “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!” And Hilary Cl- Hillary Clinton retweeted that with the comment, “Delete your account.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: Woah.
PJ: Yeah, people loved it! People went crazy about it.
ALEX BLUMBERG: It’s displaying a- a, uh…a – a fluency with – with, uh, with Twitter that…well, I mean, obviously, it’s not her. It’s her social media manager.
PJ: Right. Right – right…right. Right. Um. She doesn’t really pretend that she is tweeting stuff from her own account. Like, she has a social media team, she talks about it it’s- when she does tweet stuff, she signs it. So it’s not like…everybody knows that she’s not the person tweeting that, or that, like, a committee of people have decided to tweet that, or whatever.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.
ALEX GOLDMAN: There’s no fl- there’s no, like, pretense that she is actually fluent in the slang of the online universe.
PJ: So…the joke of this tweet that you actually found…which is referencing this original Hillary Clinton tweet, the joke of this tweet is that, yes, Hillary Clinton’s, like, social media manager, whatever, wrote the tweet for her. But then, when they, like, report that news to her, in the world of this tweet, she is responding with, like, like a deeper…internet slang vernacular than – than, “Delete your account.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh, OK.
PJ: Does that make sense?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it. [laughs] OK.
ALEX GOLDMAN: So, when Hillary says, “Mom,” in that tweet, it’s something that people frequently do to celebrities, they say, “Mom,” or “Dad.” Like, “I love you so much…and you are like an older celebrity that I would like you to be my mother or my father.” Basically. People do it to y- to- you know, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato every time they tweet. Hundreds of times.
PJ: They don’t it to Ariana Grande, do they?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Sure.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah.
PJ: I feel like she’s too young for that, man.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright, so – so…people have told you to delete your account, has anybody ever tweeted, “Mom,” or “Dad,” at you?
ALEX GOLDMAN: No. Absolutely not.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Has anybody ever tweeted, “Dad,” at you?
ALEX BLUMBERG: No?
ALEX GOLDMAN: I’m going through, uh, Ariana Grande’s tweets right now, and here are a couple — “Do you love me, mom?” “Love you, mom. How are you?” “Love me love me love me love me mom” ” I adore you mom” “I miss you mom”
ALEX GOLDMAN: So…so Hillary is saying this to her social media manager.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughing] OK, that’s good. So – so “Mom” is like a big compliment.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, basically.
PJ: Yeah, and it’s also like a compliment implying that Hillary is, like, younger and hipper than her social media manager.
ALEX BLUMBERG: No no, I get that, but –
PJ: Yeah yeah yeah –
ALEX BLUMBERG: – like, “Mom,” is – like, to put it in m- it’s like…like respect.
PJ: Yeah! Yeah yeah yeah.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it. OK.
ALEX GOLDMAN: So, then, “yas” Y-A-S.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughs] OK.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Do you want to take this one?
PJ: It’s just like, an emphatic –
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, it’s just like –
ALEX GOLDMAN: – yes.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh-huh. Right.
ALEX GOLDMAN: And then, the last one, “drag him”.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh-huh.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Does that mean anything to you?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Is that a video game reference?
ALEX GOLDMAN: No.
PJ: No…I don’t know where it comes from.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I don’t either. I always thought that it was – I’m – when I imagine it, I imagine someone literally being dragged around by their hair.
PJ: Oh. Uh, I don’t know. Um, but somebody getting dragged means, like, they’re just being, like, thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly criticized.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Like, what would that look like?
PJ: Um, so like, last week this Vox – there was a Vox writer who tweeted something that was misogynist, then he said that he’d been misunderstood. That he wasn’t a misogynist. And another writer came out and said, “You know, in the past, you literally called me a ‘hobag.'” And, like, hundreds of people retweeted that. And, like, everybody came out and just, like, everybody criticized this guy for his history of behaving in this way. He got dragged.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.
PJ: Um, OK. So…do you think you understand this tweet at this point?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I definitely…I – I definitely feel like I understand this tweet. OK –
ALEX GOLDMAN: Alright.
ALEX BLUMBERG: – ready? Alright, @socarolinesays, “HRC social media manager: We just tweeted ‘delete your account.’ Hillary: mom Hillary: yas [Hillary:] drag him”
ALEX GOLDMAN: ‘K, so what – what’s going on here?
ALEX BLUMBERG: So what that means is, it’s – it – uh, it imagines a world in which this conversation took place. The…Hillary Clinton’s social media manager came to her and delivered the news that they had just tweeted, “Delete your account”. And in contrast to the traditional image of Hillary as a stodgy, non-internet-fluent, baby-boomer, this Hillary — in the imagined world of this tweet — is so fluent that she answers fully in internet slang by saying, “Mom. Yas,” which is…another way of saying, “Yes, great job.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: And then says, “drag him,” which is another way of saying, uh, “pour it on.”
PJ: I think we’re at Yes Yes Yes.
ALEX GOLDMAN: We’re very much at Yes Yes Yes. And, “pour it on,” is a very nice, uh, turn of phrase. Good work.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Thanks, you guys.
PJ: You’ve been flogged.
[ALEX GOLDMAN & ALEX BLUMBERG laughing]
ALEX BLUMBERG: Dad.
Reply All is hosted by me, PJ Vogt, and Alex Goldman. The show is produced by Sruthi Pinnamaneni, Phia Bennin, and Chloe Prasinos. Our executive producer is Tim Howard. The show is edited by Peter Clowney. Production assistance from Thom Cote. The show is mixed by Rick Kwan.
Matt Lieber is a nap in a park.
Our theme music is by the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder and our ad music is by Build Buildings. You can find more episodes of the show at itunes.com/replyall or in the Google Play Music store. Our website is replyall.limo.
Thanks for listening. We’re off for the next couple weeks working on stories, but we’ll see you after a couple Wednesdays.