Social Media Rules of Engagement – Does it Really Go Down in the DM?

It’s Thursday night and your text-fingers are restless as you scroll through Instagram memes and attempts at virtual validation from your high-school friends. A pizza crust and empty can of Coors light—you’re a stereotypical douche-bag—lay on the stained coffee table in front of you as you ignore the television in favor of your phone addiction. It wasn’t the action-packed Thursday you’d hoped for, but tomorrow begins the weekend, and you’re determined to realize its full potential.


With whom shall you hang?

Once upon a simpler time a gentleman like myself would summon the entirety of his courage to ask the girl in homeroom for her number, hope she’d write it on his hand—because who has paper available in a classroom—so he could show it off to all his friends and then text her emoticons until he felt comfortable enough to talk to her in person again. Those days have changed, and if you know a person’s name and they’re not a social-media-nomadic hippie, you can find them on Instagram and message them right away.

While this allows for swifter and less public rejection, it also means that the woman receiving the message (this commentary is gendered, not because it has to be this way, but because in all the embarrassing screenshots I see, it is a man sending cringe-inducing openers). It’s a lower threshold for contact, without the awkward homeroom interaction, but it’s just as easy to ignore your message.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” you remind yourself, disregarding the value of maintaining a high shooting percentage by virtue of only taking quality shots. Wayne Gretzky coined that quote, prior to Michael Scott. He said it because he was a great shooter. It applied to him. You’re just a guy with an iPhone and an open weekend.

A kind-looking maiden grasps your fancy and you scroll through her profile, tapping the heart on a picture from seven months ago. She’s on a farm, pretending to be someone she’s not. “This will make me stand out,” you tell yourself, noting her 3200 followers. You’re average, though. The only thing that stands out about you is the low-quality of the seven pictures on your profile. And so, with no response received you push further into the unknown.

“Hey,” you message her. “My friend is doing a soft-opening of this bar on Saturday, want to come with me?”

You head to the shower and wait. You go to sleep, and you wait. You wake up, skip breakfast, and wait. And as the workday winds down, a notification hits your phone.

“Sorry,” she responds. “I have a boyfriend.”

She does not.

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