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Insta-Love. How Instagram Is Changing The Way We Date

As someone who has been single for quite a while, I have researched (and experimented) with my fair share of dating apps and websites. The paid ones, the free ones, the ones you probably wouldn’t want your Mom to know you used. It seems like every month there is a new avenue to find someone to hang out, date or otherwise connect with, but what I didn’t see coming was the rise of Instagram on the dating scene.

I did know that Instagram was gaining in popularity and now has an estimated 800 million users worldwide! The photo-sharing platform provides easy access to the things we love to post and a peek into a bird’s eye view of our own piece of the world. A potential suitor can learn quickly of similar interests, ideals and even what we have for dinner, our fashion sense and possibly even our relationship status. It is all that combined that has made Instagram the new go-to place to meet someone. It has become so popular, it even has its own terminology.

Tindstagram. The dating app Tinder provides the option to link your Instagram account. I am not a personal fan of this, but it can open dialog with someone even if you did not swipe right. They can track you down on your social media account and try again to get your attention. I have even heard stories of people being asked why they didn’t ‘swipe right’. Just know if you connect your public social media platforms with dating apps, you will most likely receive at least some unwanted attention.

Thirst Trap. At first glance, this may sound a little underhanded, but in reality, I don’t suppose it is. It is simply posting an image intended to attract attention and elicit responses. It doesn’t have to be provocative. You can post a photo at the coffee shop with a caption: (How do you like yours?) or out hiking (Can you name the trail?) and you set up the scenario for answers and reactions from followers. The ‘stories’ feature works particularly well for this because you can go into the settings and hide the post from most followers and only those you select can see it. There is also the option from the stories setting to open a private chat.

Slide To The DM. When I first heard about this phrase, I thought it was only one person’s name for it, but as I did my research, I found it was actually a ‘thing’. After a few public comments/posts a person can casually slide the conversation into direct messaging. This, of course, makes it a bit more personal and possibly intimate. The biggest key to getting to that point (except those trying to sell you something) is to make sure there are mutual likes and public comments. You can’t expect your love interest to do all the work. If someone catches YOUR eye, be sure to pass along the virtual love on their posts.

Instagram is slower than your average dating app (despite the play on words) and since it was not originally designed for dating, you can’t be sure anyone ‘liking’ and ‘commenting’ is interested. (Nor would you want that.) But slower is often better and there is the added benefit of viewing multiple dimensions of someone’s life and not just one or two photos on a dating app with a lame headline and little pertinent information. The key is to be consistent but not overwhelming. Never ‘stalk’ someone’s Instagram page or comment on every post. Creepy is universal. On the flip side, be cautious about anyone posting inappropriate comments on your page and never hesitate to remove negative or disturbing followers. Do not provide personal information in a direct message until you are comfortable with the other person. You also need to be mindful to the location of anyone who has caught your eye. Instagram’s reach is worldwide and if you jump too soon, you will find yourself beginning a long distance or even online-only relationship.

I do not believe that Instagram will replace the more popular dating sites like Match or E-Harmony, but it is a highly used social platform, and all things social open up possibilities. It’s a great big beautiful world with genuine people of value in it. Instagram is about expression and seeing the world through your unique lens. If someone likes the same view; then you never know what might happen! As with any form of dating connection; virtual or down the street, please be careful, be respectful, and most importantly BE YOURSELF!

Here’s to clear focus, perfect shots, compelling hashtags and maybe, just maybe, Insta-Love for you!

As always. Hope With Abandon

Hope Out

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