December 6, 2015

#48 I Love You, I Loathe You

by Reply All


Episode Notes

On this week's episode, a new Yes Yes No, and we revisit our "Undo, Undo, Undo" segment to find out listeners most cringeworthy accidental messages. 

The Facts
Our theme song is by 

Breakmaster Cylinder. Our ad music is by Build Buildings

Further Reading

Download Criptext here


PJ VOGT: From Gimlet, this is Reply All. I’m PJ Vogt.

ALEX GOLDMAN: And I’m Alex Goldman. Welcome once again to Yes Yes No, the segment where Alex Blumberg asks us questions about things he finds on the internet that he doesn't understand, and we answer them, regardless of how important or valuable they might be to his life.

ALEX BLUMBERG: That’s very nice. The intro gets better and better, Goldman.

ALEX GOLDMAN: So what have you got for us this week?

ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright, so I am bringing you a tweet. And this is a tweet from a guy named Rurik Bradbury. @rurikbradbury. And the tweet starts, like a lot of tweets start, and it's a link. It says, "If you know the backstory," and then parentheses, "see @daveweigel:," end parentheses, "this is the PERFECT," all caps, "microcosm of the internet." And then there's a, what is that called?

ALEX GOLDMAN: A screenshot.

ALEX BLUMBERG: A screenshot of another tweet and the screenshotted tweet is from a Twitter account called ClassicPics, @history_pics, and then it says, "ights," like I-G-H-T-S, "off early on the Eiffel Tower for the first time since 1889."

ALEX GOLDMAN: And then there's a picture.

ALEX BLUMBERG: And then there's a picture of the Eiffel Tower with the lights off. So, I'm a little confused here, like he's saying this is the perfect microcosm of the internet, and then there's just a picture of the Eiffel Tower from 1889 and from a, apparently a Twitter account that just posts pictures from history, and then what was really confusing was then all the comments on this tweet. So the first comment is from a guy named Isaac Hepworth. Now I'm assuming this has something to do with the Paris, this came out shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris, so I'm assuming this obviously has something to do with the Paris attacks. So this guy Isaac Hepworth is saying, "The ideal coda to the whole episode," and then somebody else named Jesse Lanser writes, "ights" question mark? And then Rurik Bradbury which, I think this feels like a clue, says, "They even did a sloppy cut and paste. It's modern art." Which I'm not exactly sure how that means, and then someone else wrote, "How long until a GOP candidate refers to this in a speech?" And then somebody else writes, "an ight unto the world," and then somebody else writes, "Extraordinary disruption," which I don't even know what that means, and then somebody else writes, "Your thinkfluence knows no bounds," which sounds like it would be a funny joke if I understood it. And just before going further, a little legal disclaimer, when I say "this tweet" I mean this tweet and then the screenshot and then all the comments below the tweet. That's what "this tweet" refers to for purposes of brevity.

PJ: Okay.

ALEX BLUMBERG: PJ Vogt, do you know what this tweet means?

PJ: Yes.

ALEX BLUMBERG: Alex Goldman, do you know what this tweet means?

ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes. Alex Blumberg, do you know what this tweet means?


ALEX GOLDMAN: Where do you start with something like this?

PJ: You gotta start with Jeff Jarvis.

ALEX BLUMBERG: You're starting with Jeff Jarvis, see I know that name.

PJ: Okay, so what does that name mean to you, Alex?

ALEX BLUMBERG: Jeff Jarvis I happen to know a lot about because he was an internet pioneer back when I was a little bit more current on the internet. He's a media professor and had a blog or has a blog called Buzz Machine, right?


ALEX BLUMBERG: And he's just like a, influential writer, thinker about the internet.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Some might call him a thinkfluencer.


PJ: So, Jeff Jarvis as Alex Goldman was sort of teasing towards, like he's somebody who gets lumped in with this group of people who people ironically called thinkfluencers. Just like, people who seem to be on the conference, academic, big ideas about technology circuit. And at some point, somebody decided to create a Jeff Jarvis parody account, which is crazy. Like it's crazy to have a parody account of somebody who's like an internet academic.

ALEX BLUMBERG: Right. If Jeff Jarvis gets a parody account then who is safe from a parody account?

PJ: No one. Uh, so the parody account is called Fake Jeff Jarvis.

ALEX GOLDMAN: So the bio of the fake Jeff Jarvis account is, "Hyperglocal thinkfluencer, Journalism 3.0 advocate. Cofounder @ Mogadishu:REinvent unconference. CEO Mogadishu Capital Partners LLC." And it's a parody of like tech utopian futurism. All the people who are like, "All our problems are gonna be solved by forthcoming technology."

ALEX BLUMBERG: And a tech conference.



PJ: Yeah, the Fake Jeff Jarvis is always talking about like the latest disruption and like, his tweets are like, like a good, classic Fake Jeff Jarvis tweet is… Hold on…

ALEX GOLDMAN: I’ve got one. It says, “Just got some great news that made my day. People are looking at my LinkedIn profile."

PJ: He's just like a giddy, optimistic tech man. And it also seems worth mentioning that Jeff Jarvis hates this account so much.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, he complains about it publicly with a surprising amount of regularity.

PJ: Because people confuse him for this guy and he doesn't, he's done nothing in his life to deserve a parody account with 16 thousand followers on it.


PJ: And the guy derives clearly a lot of pleasure from angering real Jeff Jarvis. So Fake Jeff Jarvis also just kind of I think likes spreading certain kinds of misinformation. Am I getting into this right, Alex?

ALEX GOLDMAN: It's not so much that he likes to spread certain kinds of misinformation, but he is a huge critic of the way that information travels on the internet, like the pinned tweet at the top of his account right now is, "Context kills page views."

PJ: So he did this thing, which I have to say I really did not like at the time, which is after the terror attacks in Paris, Fake Jeff Jarvis posted this tweet that was a picture of the Eiffel Tower with its lights turned off? And it said, "Wow. Lights off on the Eiffel Tower for the first time since 1889." That tweet got 29 thousand retweets, and 28 thousand likes, because, you know, it was like this sad moment and people wanted to share in the sadness and this was like a simple, poignant metaphor about what had happened in Paris, right?


PJ: So the first response on this tweet is from Clara Jeffery of Mother Jones, and she says, "They go off every night at 1 AM." Which is true.


PJ: Which Fake Jeff Jarvis knew. So he was sort of making a snarky comment about the fact that when people are very sad about a horrible, violent incident, they don't always fact check symbolic tweets.


PJ: Which I thought was kind of a mean joke.

ALEX BLUMBERG: It's, I mean, yes. I know too soon is a meme and everything like that, but that was, whatever. Too soon.

PJ: It’s like literally…

ALEX GOLDMAN: It was within hours, I think.

PJ: And it was like, ugh, yeah, a lot of people are sad about a thing that doesn’t directly, to me that's actually one of the nice things about the internet, is like people feel things and they want to express them, whatever.


PJ: Point is, he does that tweet, it goes on forever, but there's this other sort of subarea of Twitter which are these historical picture accounts?


PJ: They have millions and millions and millions of followers, and they post things like, "The first time Stalin played baseball," and it'll be some picture, and generally the facts are wrong.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Generally the facts are wrong, or the picture's photoshopped, or the context is just very poorly written, and the reason that these accounts exist is because if they get a critical mass of followers, they can occasionally do a promoted tweet and like make serious bank just by tweeting.



ALEX BLUMBERG: So it's a way, like you just gin up a bunch of followers on your fake historical picture account till you get to the level where you can charge somebody an arm and a leg to post promoted content.

ALEX GOLDMAN: And they never correct and they never remove, they just put stuff up and if people point out that it's incorrect they're just like, oh well.

PJ: The other thing they will do is steal content. Very freely.


PJ: Can you see where this is going?

ALEX BLUMBERG: I can. Alright. Whoa. I think I just put it together.

PJ: So what happened?

ALEX BLUMBERG: So it sounds like this historical picture account, ClassicPics, sounds like what it did is it took the picture that was on Fake Jeff Jarvis's tweet about the Eiffel Tower, the first time since 1889, and it just sounds like they just copied and pasted his tweet into their tweet, but they forgot to copy the "L."

PJ: Yes.

ALEX BLUMBERG: So, wait a minute... So they took this Fake Jeff Jarvis tweet, which was not even real in the first place, which was all bullshit, and then they copied it poorly, forgetting to copy the “L,” put it into their own account, and posted it as if it was a real thing.

ALEX GOLDMAN: We are at yes, yes, yes.

ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow. That’s amazing.

PJ: Yeah.

ALEX BLUMBERG: It is the perfect microcosm of the internet. You are so right, Rurik Bradbury!

PJ: Yes. Because it's like, humans have a feeling about a big historical event all at the same time.

ALEX BLUMBERG: And then smart, snarky humans want to point out that that feeling is bullshit, everyone!

PJ: Yeah.

ALEX BLUMBERG: So then they make a satirical tweet demonstrating everybody's ignorance in the face of tragedy.

PJ: And then...

ALEX GOLDMAN: Everyone's ignorant in the face of tragedy.

ALEX BLUMBERG: And then some possibly bot with a bogus internet monetizing scheme comes along and copies it poorly.

PJ: And makes like tiny amounts of money on like, probably like Viagra pills or something.

ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow. Wow. And so now I'm understanding all these comments, like, "Extraordinary disruption." That would be a thing that Fake Jeff Jarvis would say…


ALEX BLUMBERG: And it actually is, it’s like very extraordinary. Disruption of the ClassicPics business model. Cuz these like, the fake historic picture accounts are like, if your grandparents have a Twitter account they're following the historical picture account. And like your grandparents are definitely not following Fake Jeff Jarvis. It's like, I don't know, like the guys from Game of Thrones showed up on QVC or something like that.

PJ: And also, history and picture accounts are the kinds of thing that in theory I think like, what's the thing, context kills page views? It's the kind of thing that Fake Jeff Jarvis seems to be criticizing, like people want to have an experience looking at history, they don't particularly care if it's right or not, and so these sort of lazy historical lies do really well on the internet and it's kind of garbagey and like, it's a function of certain internet business models, and the fact that his critique of that got subsumed by the thing itself is just like so enjoyable.

ALEX BLUMBERG: It's amazing.

PJ: It's sort of like watching a nature documentary, and you see something really brutal, like you see a bunch of tiny bugs eating a proud lion or something, and like you wouldn't wanna be there and you wouldn't wanna be the bugs or the lion, but there's something about watching a system work really efficiently even towards an end you don't love that is like, really satisfying? Does that make me sound like a serial killer?

ALEX BLUMBERG: No, it's like...

ALEX GOLDMAN: Don't sugarcoat this for him, yes it makes you sound like a serial killer.

ALEX BLUMBERG: No, it makes you sound like an ecologist. You're an ecologist of the internet, and this is the way the natural system works and it's very exciting to sort of like, put together all the parts, like this is the arachnid that is like connecting, that transfers the bacteria to this that makes this lake not bloom with algae blooms or whatever. Like they figure out the system, I feel like that's what this feels like.

PJ: Yes. I wanna like take off my pith helmet and like doff it.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Coming up, we actually have an update on the Yes Yes No that you just listened to, just seconds ago. And you, yes you, our listeners, tell us your stories about the most embarrassing message you ever sent online.


ALEX GOLDMAN: Welcome back to the show. Okay, so we recorded that Yes Yes No on Monday of this week. As I am recording this, it’s Tuesday, and PJ has just asked me and Alex Blumberg to come back into the studio.

PJ: Okay, so. I brought you guys back here for a reason.


PJ: Okay, so that was Monday, today's Tuesday, can I tell you how fast moving the world of parody Twitter is?


PJ: So in the last day, Fake Jeff Jarvis? No more.


PJ: Yeah. Jeff Jarvis tweeted, "Happy days, justice at last." And a screenshot saying that that account no longer existed.



PJ: Nobody knows.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh my god.

PJ: Not only that, but like remember when we were reading the comments below that picture? One of them was this guy Rurik Bradbury?

ALEX GOLDMAN: Rurik Bradbury was the person who did the original…

ALEX BLUMBERG: Tweet, yeah.

ALEX GOLDMAN: ...tweet, that we were discussing.

PJ: Rurik Bradbury was fake Jeff Jarvis. Which I didn't know. This was not a big reveal except for for me because I was under-informed. Like the world actually knew that.



PJ: And Rurik Bradbury's personal account! Gone!

ALEX GOLDMAN: Hm. I'm wondering if there's some kind of crazy scandal that we don't know about.

ALEX BLUMBERG: What do you make of that?

PJ: Well, I'm assuming Twitter shut down the account? I wonder if it was the Paris tweet, I wonder if a big parody of people's grief annoyed the powers that block.

ALEX GOLDMAN: But that's not how Twitter works.

PJ: What do you mean that's not how Twitter works?

ALEX GOLDMAN: Twitter doesn't just shut you down for...

ALEX BLUMBERG: Does Twitter just shut you down, can you just be shut down by Twitter?

PJ: You can be just shut down by Twitter.


PJ: For violating their terms of service. If you get enough abuse reports.

ALEX GOLDMAN: My counter-theory is that that person quit.

ALEX BLUMBERG: Rurik Bradbury just quit being Jeff Jarvis?

ALEX GOLDMAN: And apparently quit being Rurik Bradbury, he deleted his Twitter.

PJ: Why would he do that?

ALEX GOLDMAN: Maybe... I mean you've heard of people flaming out, people flame out all the time.

ALEX BLUMBERG: So Rurik Bradbury, so this puts like a negative spin on what I thought was a happy story. Now that I know that Rurik Bradbury is fake Jeff Jarvis, the one who did the original incendiary asshole tweet, this was like him sort of like crowing on his own accomplishment.

PJ: Yeah, instead of an outside observer just observing the ecosystem, it's like the leopard was like, "Isn't it great how I eat all these tiny animals?"

ALEX GOLDMAN: You really ruined...


ALEX GOLDMAN: You really ruined Alex's day.

ALEX BLUMBERG: I wish I didn't know that.

PJ: I know. I'm sorry guys.

ALEX BLUMBERG: Man. It's such a bummer, so like, we're just all like Rurik Bradbury's pawns. It was just him bragging, that tweet was him bragging, about look who else I suckered. Look how far my con has gone. Here's this friendly, ironic observer of the internet and it turns out it's the fucking guy himself.

PJ: Yeah, like Bruce Wayne being like god, this Batman fellow sure is impressive everybody.

ALEX GOLDMAN: It's like when Scott Adams went on Metafilter and was like, "I don't blame you for hating Scott Adams. The guy's a real genius. I'd be mad too about that." He's like, "I feel jealous of him too, I wish I made that much money."

PJ: And he was admitting that he was really Scott Adams?

ALEX GOLDMAN: No, he did it under a pseudonym.

PJ: What a Dilbert.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, he's a real Dilbert.

PJ: Did you know that this office does have a Dilbert cartoon?


PJ: Right when you walk in, on that weird wooden piece of broken furniture.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, there's a Dilbert cartoon.

PJ: But it feels like an ironic post-apocalyptic reference or something, right?

ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh yeah, the bahs? The, yeah, like the one about like, I think it's funny to say to people I don't agree with, I just say "bah." That one?


PJ: I never read it.

ALEX BLUMBERG: You never read it?

ALEX GOLDMAN: You just know it's there?

ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright, do you want me to summarize it for you?

PJ: Yeah.

ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright, so Dogbert is talking to Dilbert...

PJ: Gimlet's 5th podcast is just a Dilbert recap podcast. It's way more popular than anything else.


PJ: Uh, our work here is never done, but done for now.

ALEX GOLDMAN: Okay, so, now we are going to revisit a segment called Undo, Undo, Undo. So awhile back, I went on the show and I told an incredibly embarrassing story about an IM I accidentally sent to an ex-girlfriend and the only way I could undo the sending of that was to do a little bit of breaking and entering.

PJ: Into her home.

ALEX: Okay, I didn't exactly break in, I knocked on the front door. But I just made some bogus excuse to come in, and I said I had to go to the bathroom, I went to the bathroom, on my way back, I took a left turn into her office and I closed a chat window in which I had written stuff about a person I was dating that I didn't want her to know about. So. We asked our listeners to actually…

PJ: We asked if anyone had had a worse experience, or a similarly bad experience, of accidentally sending a message to somebody and wishing that they could have undone it, but not being able to, and not being a sociopath who breaks into people's houses. Just having to live with the consequences like an adult.

ALEX: I was very young, and um…

PJ: How old were you?

ALEX: I'm living with…

PJ: How old were you? How old were you?

ALEX: 24.

PJ: Okay. Did you ever apologize?

ALEX: No, because she doesn't know about it.

PJ: Okay, so you sent this thing, you're a sociopath, established, you never apologized, you did put it on a podcast, ugh, and we heard from a bunch of people who had done similar things.

ALEX: So, our intern Kalila Holt, she bravely waded through hundreds…

PJ: Was it hundreds?

KALILA HOLT: It was a hundred.

PJ: Damn.

KALILA: A single hundred.

PJ: One hundred.

ALEX: That's still a lot. Of voice memos, of people telling us the messages they wish they could undo. And could you tell us sort of…

PJ: Before that! Was this the most painful thing you've had to do as an intern here?

KALILA: Um, I don't know about the most painful...

PJ: Uh oh.

KALILA: But, yeah, what's been worse?

PJ: You tell me.

ALEX: That's a good question.

KALILA: Um. The most painful is when I'm trying to write the newsletter and none of you guys are sending me newsletter recommendations. And I'm running out of tactics to use to get people to send me things.

PJ: You never, you're always on message. Like your message is, submit to the newsletter, read the newsletter, and I admire that no matter what you always find a way.

KALILA: Yeah. Maybe we could use this to plug the newsletter. In the podcast.

ALEX: Then all that work won't have been in vain.

PJ: It is a really good newsletter, I gotta say.

KALILA: Thank you. Um, but yeah, it was like 6 hours. So of the hundred messages, about half of them were like, "I wrote a mean thing about this person and I accidentally sent it to the person."

PJ: Okay.

KALILA: That was a very common story.

PJ: Did a lot of people break into people's homes or was that an exceptionally weird thing to do?

KALILA: Um, no one, I don't think I heard any about breaking into people's homes.

ALEX: What can I say?

PJ: You don't have to.

ALEX: Often imitated, never duplicated.

PJ: Never imitated.

KALILA: Of the people who said mean things about other people, those were mostly about coworkers. So a lot of people write stuff they shouldn't at work, I guess. Is the message of that.

ALEX: I feel like as someone who used to work in IT, I realize that the IT guys can always look at your email.

PJ: Really?

ALEX: Even if you delete it.

PJ: Really?

ALEX: Oh yeah.

PJ: People should know that.

ALEX: Yes.

KALILA: Okay. So about eight of these were things that were like, "Oh, this didn't actually happen to me, it happened to someone I know," or like, "Someone sent this to me," so eight people in the world have their story sent into a podcast who did not consent to it.

PJ: Oh, wow.

KALILA: Um, and then randomly there were three involving religious officials, three inappropriate responses to tragic news, and...

PJ: Hold on, hold on. Three involving religious officials?

KALILA: A lot of people showing inappropriate things to religious officials, yeah.

PJ: Oh, like you're trying to email your rabbi to reschedule a... rabbi thing...

KALILA: Exactly.

ALEX: You were gonna say a bris, weren’t you?

PJ: That's the only thing I can think of!

KALILA: Right, so you're trying to reschedule a bris and you just send like a dirty joke.

PJ: Okay.


ALEX: So you excerpted a lot of the sort of craziest moments from within the voicemails.

PJ: You built a montage of panic and sadness.

KALILA: Yeah, I just took a bunch of stuff wildly out of context and put it together.

PJ: That sounds appropriate.

ALEX: Yeah, totally. So, can we hear it?

KALILA: Uh, yes you can.

CALLER: The one email that I wish I could undo was a message I sent to my boss's boss's boss. Her name was Janine, and I spelled it "J-A-N-I-N-A," and spellcheck changed it to vagina.

CALLER: We met outside a grocery store I think, and met the couple, they brought the trombone...

PJ: Wait, what was that about the trombone?

KALILA: Um, he met this old couple to buy a trombone in a parking lot and then he decided the trombone was shitty and he texted someone about how it was a shitty trombone but he sent it to them and hurt their feelings.

PJ: Ohhh.

KALILA: Like, happy old trombone couple.

CALLER: I still cringe just remembering my choice of words in that comment. To say “piece of turd.”

CALLER: And up pops up a picture, basically a picture of oral sex. In front of a room of 40 devout men, on the first day of a college course.

CALLER: Turns out someone else had picked up the domain name and put up a bestiality site. And there it was, a bestiality site, right on the top of my resume of related work.

CALLER: Of course my face turned bright red and it's turning a little red right now just retelling this. All I could respond was, "Haha. No worries. No strangle."

ALEX: Okay, so we're not gonna get into all of those stories, but Kaylee, you asked us to call your two favorite people that got in touch.


ALEX: The first one is a woman named Sarah, she was in college and she was working on a paper, it was the end of the semester. And she stepped away from her computer for a minute, and when she came back, she went to close a file.

SARAH: I go to close the word program, and it pops up, “Do you want to save your changes?” And I'm thinking, well, I haven't made any changes, no I don't want to save this old crappy version. So I click no, and the window shuts, and at that point all these other different chat windows appear behind it. And I'm thinking, "What the hell, is there a virus on this computer, what's going on?" And that's when it kind of dawns on me, maybe this isn't my computer.

PJ: No!

SARAH: And I turn around behind me and I see my bag on the desk behind me and I think, oh my god, what have I done! And I see the expression on the face of the girl behind my desk, who's looking at me like, what the hell are you doing, and I ask her like, "Uh, do you know who's sitting here?" And she's like, "Yeah, that's my friend's computer?" "I think I just made a really big mistake, I'll be right back." And so I was trying to intercept this person, apparently she'd like gone to the bathroom or something.

PJ: Wait, you wanted to tell her before she found out herself?

SARAH: I wanted to tell her before she gets back to her desk, you know. But that didn't happen. Because she got back to her desk apparently a second after I left it. So while I am in the tech room, in she comes. And she's a total drama queen. She's just like howling and shrieking, like, "Somebody deleted my essay!" And she's banging her hands against the windows, so now the entire 4th floor is alerted to some crazy drama that's happening, and meanwhile everyone else is stressed trying to get to the end of their deadlines so they don't want to hear this.

PJ: Also, this is a library.

SARAH: This is a library. It's quiet. And so in the midst of this, I've raised this monster basically, and understandably so because who does that? Who goes and deletes someone else's essay? I mean, that I've lost my own work over the years is one thing, but that I've managed to come to the extent where I've deleted someone else's work, and she'd been there from that morning, you know, so all 8 hours of her time had been wasted. Thanks to me. And so I had to turn to her, just like, "I'm really sorry," and she was like, "What! Was it you!" And kind of sets off all over again. And there's no way to explain to anyone what happened. Like, I don't know what happened, I just knew that suddenly it wasn't my desk anymore, you know?

PJ: Sarah also told me that a few years after this, a couple days before she was supposed to turn in her thesis, she lost basically the entire thing to some weird computer glitch. Which she thinks is part of some large, karmic retribution for this happening. And our last undo story, this is a person named Jenni. She was in a situation that I think most people at some point have found themselves in, which is that she had this horrible overwhelming crush, it was on a guy at work, like literally she said when she walked by him, she would have this full body panic reaction where she would start sweating like crazy. They finally got to the point where they have had one casual, non-date lunch together, and then he'd seen a movie, and he'd texted her about seeing the movie, and she was so excited and freaked out that he'd texted her that she went to email a friend about it.

JENNI: I sent my friend Brooke an email, and my email to her was, it was very short, it said, "He just texted me. Thinking about each other at the same time. Ugh, make it stop Brookie, please?"

PJ: Ohh.

JENNI: I hit send, and it was like the split second after I hit send that I realized what I had done. I remember screaming and I pick up the phone and call my friend Brooke who lives in Australia. And I'm freaking out on the phone with her, and through all this I'm realizing like oh my god, I can't be talking to her, because I need to sit down and actually deal with the situation, figure out how to like weasel my way out of this. I remember sitting down at my computer, and I remember like typing, deleting, typing, deleting, and just got to a point where I was like I, there's just no story I could tell that could get me out of this. And as I'm typing this email I see something pop up in my inbox and I open it and as I open it I'm hoping it's him, but kind of hoping it's not him, just not really knowing what to expect, and when I see that it's him, I'm like, oh, take a deep breath, and all the email says is, "Now, why would we want that to stop?"

PJ: Oh.

JENNI: And that was it!

PJ: That's so nice.

JENNI: Yeah, I mean it was... It really... I don't know. It was just the best possible thing that he could've said that I could've read and. That was, uh, maybe eight years ago or something, and we got married two years later, and we just had a kid two years ago, so. You know, things are pretty good.

PJ: Okay, so that is like literally the one out of 100 exception to this thing, like she sent an email that she didn't mean to and it turned into a marriage instead of some horrible embarrassment. For the rest of us who would like this never to happen, who would just like to send the emails they mean to send to the people they mean to send them, I feel like the one line of defense that I have in my life is that I use gmail, and gmail actually has this feature that I feel like people don't know about. There's this gmail feature called undo send, where literally like after you send an email, you have 30 seconds where you can call it back, they just hold onto it. And I use that I think a couple times a week, where just something stupid and embarrassing is in an email and I just like claw it back.

ALEX: I didn't even know that existed.

PJ: Which is weird, because I feel like you know... I feel like I don't usually know more tech stuff than you.

ALEX: Yeah, well. That remains true. Because I actually know an app that can one up your undo send.

PJ: Like it's a better undoer?

ALEX: Yeah, it's like industrial strength.

PJ: Really?

ALEX: Yeah, do you want to send an email that we're gonna regret?

PJ: No.

ALEX: Alright. So. I have in my hand, my credit card.

PJ: This is like a magic trick.

ALEX: I am going to my gmail account. I am going to send an email to our former co-worker, Sarah Abdurrahman.

PJ: A person who loves to mess with you.

ALEX: Yeah, and would absolutely...

PJ: She would absolutely use your credit card information, are you gonna give her your credit card information?

ALEX: Yes. I'm gonna put my credit card in the email. Putting my credit card information in the email. And I am writing, "Here's my credit card info, go nuts."

PJ: Okay.

ALEX: Alright. I have sent. But you know, I'm not really worried, because I'm using this app, it's called Criptext.

PJ: Uh huh.

ALEX: And the way that it works is, I just typed in my credit card information and when I hit send, this program turns my email into an image. The image is actually hosted not on gmail, it's hosted somewhere else. So if at any point you wanna recall it, you can just recall it. So I just go unsend, and it deletes the image.

PJ: Oh.

ALEX: So whenever the person opens their email, the image is gone.

PJ: That's really devious.

ALEX: Yeah, it's amazing. Not only that, but it allows me to set things to expire. So I set that message to expire after a minute. So it's like Snapchat for your email.

PJ: That's really good. Would you really use this in your life? It's a little crazy...

ALEX: This is an app for insane people. I want to be perfectly clear: This is an app for insane people. But if you wanna, if you are into like cloak and dagger shit...

PJ: Yeah, let's say you're a spy. Who's having an affair.

ALEX: Or, let's just say you like wanna tell someone something and then you wanna confound them by making them unable to see it again.

PJ: If it's working off an image that's hosted offsite, could you send someone an email and then change the image. So you'd be like, "I love you." And then the next time they checked it'd be like, "I loathe you." And then the next time they checked it'd be like, "I love you."

ALEX: No, because it's something that's hosted somewhere where you can't change it.

PJ: But they could make it work that way.

ALEX: Who, Criptext?

PJ: Yeah.

ALEX: I mean, if they wanted to sink their business model...

PJ: I love you I loathe you! Okay, so that's all. The only thing I would add to all of this is that even though the deadline is now passed for these mortifying stories, if somebody is listening and they're like, "I really have one that is way worse than all of this," I would still, we would still be up for listening to it, right? Like people could still send it.

ALEX: Yeah, I would love to listen to more of these.

PJ: As much as it sucks to make a mistake like this as a human, oh my god, they're so fun to listen to, thank you for making terrible mistakes.

ALEX: Also, make Kaylee happy and sign up for our newsletter. Go to, there's a newsletter subscription box in the lower right-hand side of the page, you might have to scroll down a bit. You'll be glad you did, but more importantly Kaylee will be glad you did. Okay, just one more update to the update to our Yes Yes No, it looks like Fake Jeff Jarvis is back on Twitter. However, Rurik Bradbury has not reemerged.

ALEX: Reply All is PJ Vogt and me, Alex Goldman. We were produced this week by Tim Howard, Sruthi Pinnamaneni, and Phia Bennin. Our editor is Peter Clowney. Production assistance, and newsletter assistance, and undo, undo, undo voicemail listening assistance from Kalila Holt. We were mixed this week by Rick Kwan. Our theme music is by the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder and our ad music is by Build Buildings. Matt Lieber is finally finding the name of that movie you saw as a kid that was so weird and vivid that you didn’t know if you’d dreamt it or not. You can find more episodes at Our website is PJ is very sick today, so you should send him some messages telling him to feel better. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you next week.