Bathroom-stall graffiti industry “devastated” by rise of internet

10 Jan

CHICAGO–several longtime observers of the bathroom-graffiti industry have warned that the business is “on the verge of collapse” due to online competition, and that if nothing changes, we could soon face a future where Americans without internet access have no easy way of sharing obscenities and scatological humor with strangers.

“This is a classic case of an industry that has failed to adapt to the new era,” said Goldman Sachs analyst Jonathan Frumbles. “Instead of  developing new products and alternative business models, graffiti-based businesses have relied on cost-cutting and fighting for market share. As a result, they have underinvested in innovation, and I think we’ve now reached a tipping point.”

Frumbles said that Twitter and similar services had captured more than eighty percent of incoherent ranting, while Craigslist was now leading in the sordid anonymous sex space. “It’s hard to see how narrowcast Sharpie-and-penknife linoleum defacement can compete with the ease and reach of online.”

While most consumers of racism and homophobia agreed that the internet was more convenient, public-policy experts are concerned about the opening of yet another digital divide.

“It’s okay for middle-class folks who have computers at home,” said Cynthia van Peebles, a restroom-graffiti expert at the Brookings Institution. “But if someone from a disadvantaged background really needs to share a picture of his genitals with the world, where does he go?”

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