Facebook and Twitter have created the world’s easiest way to sell drugs.
I grew up in the Bronx, NY. Not in the bad parts — Riverdale is a relatively nice community with trees and parks and good schools. In fact, it’s about ten minutes from Dobbs Ferry, where Mark Zuckerberg grew up. (Full disclosure: His dad is my girlfriend’s longtime dentist.)
I do have a thesis: Zuckerberg, who is roughly the same age as me, grew up in pleasant surroundings similar to mine. But while he was writing code and learning programming languages, my friends were dropping out of school, selling drugs, and getting high or drunk or both whenever they could. Such is the fabulous allure of the Bronx.
I hate to say it, but my friends weren’t very clever dealers. One of them used to ride his bike around the neighborhood with an ounce of weed tucked into the elastic band of his boxer shorts. Some sat in their houses all day long waiting for people to swing by — the safest, least aggressive way to deal. Some sat on the bleachers in the basketball court. One in particular wore a bubble vest in the middle of summer without a shirt on underneath. This is a great way to get the drugs off your person in the snap of a few buttons, but then you’re the shirtless idiot running from the cops.
The thing about dealing drugs is that even if your JanSport was brimming with weed and you stunk like a Jamaican forest, it was still clandestine. In order to sell drugs, you have to have people know you deal. Which is to say you need “followers.” And they need to “like” your product.
Social media is currently the safest and most efficient way of dealing drugs for two simple reasons: a) you select your buyers and b) you have access to them all day every day. Can you safely buy drugs in under 140 characters. Sure, here’s a way to buy $100 dollars of cocaine and weed:
This is still a budding trend, but I imagine it will be fairly ubiquitous shortly. The people I know of who sell drugs over Facebook and Twitter refused to be interviewed for this article, which is really bizarre since they publish their phone numbers next to their pictures on Facebook with really indiscrete messaging. But that’s the beauty of it: The cops can raid your house, tap your phone line, and whatever else, but they can’t follow you on Facebook or Twitter unless you let them.
Mark Zuckerberg says a more open world is a better world. This could be the case, until your kid’s heroin addiction starts on Facebook.
Two weeks ago Malcolm Gladwell made a really great argument suggesting social media was capable of producing only weak ties. But the buying and selling of drugs is based upon mutual protection — it’s a very strong tie. Word is bond, or so the saying goes.