Paid Internet Stickers: a Loser’s Guide

Roman Vai
2 min readJan 14

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A new year has dawned and our culture has never been more richly layered than any period in human history.

We now each possess an everlasting legacy of our recorded lives; each of us is our own archivist capable of shaping our lives into new, previously unfathomable arrangements. Then there are those like the online users who buy paid badges on Twitter, TikTok,or Reddit, whose values I cannot comprehend.

I should note that paid internet stickers are only a trifle when compared to serious societal issues, but the idea of a pay-walled emoji collection makes me feel the most nauseous and gassy.

How do these stickers alter the dialogue between users on these apps? Does it enhanced an argument in the same way that bandits emphasize their point with a flourish of cash? Or does it display a perverse investment into someone’s perception of themselves?

Paid stickers are like a kneel of supplication to our late-stage capitalist overlords. To buy one is to benignly accept a worthless token in exchange for some fraction your pay. No!” I say, or there will come a day when we exchange our bread for a virtual coin of simulated value.

I would love to be proven ignorant, or meet an NFT collector who doesn’t stink of family money, or one who could bear to read a lightly satirical blog from a conceited writer. But it stands that the paid virtual sticker is a concept so abstracted from our paradigm of work, labor, and pay, that it feels like the edge of a precipice, where the fall into chaos is only steps away, and a guiding hand presses against our back.

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Roman Vai

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