Technology – especially mobile technology – has revolutionalised how we work, play and socialise. Besides the growing concept of working online, many of us now also spend several hours interacting online each day. Is it any wonder that some are now finding love online? Or is it love finding them? Yesterday evening was time for the weekly No-Holds-Barred Interactive, a Twitter-based relationship talk show. The focus of last night’s episode was: “Social Media Relationships: Do They Work?”
Of course, relationships initiated on social media are pretty much like relationships initiated by any other means: some work; others fail. Mark Amaza put out a brief guide for how to take a Twitter relationship offline, as follows:
Start from Twitter TL, then DM, then BBM, then Skype, then phone call, then in person. #NHBi
— Mark Amaza (@amasonic) April 9, 2014
That’s a fairly good roadmap for Twitter-specific relationships, and one that can be adapted for other social media platforms. Of course, it doesn’t have to include every step mentioned there, as some are essential and others not so. Let’s look at all the steps:
TimeLine (public): This is absolutely essential. You will not get the attention of this person you are interested in without some form of interaction between the two of you on your Twitter Timeline. Interact, and if you both find a rhythm, its just a matter of time before the follow button gets clicked on, if the other person isn’t already following you. From then, you are basically set for the next stage: conversations away from the public eye.
Direct Message (private): This is the tough one for lots of people: how to initiate a DM conversation. Yes; it can be awkward. Just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? A bruised ego. Do be courteous. Be polished. Once you initiate a DM, the rest is easy. However, note that because of the limitations of DM convos, you will soon need a better platform to chat more extensively. Enter: BBM or alternative.
PS: Some people skip DM convos totally by sending only one DM to initiate chat. Something like: “Can we hookup on BBM, please? Here’s my PIN”. And the ordeal of cramped DM convos is bypassed entirely, especially if you have been having rich discussions on your TL. Just be polite and be sure that you already have a rapport with this person if you want to attempt jumping from TL over DMs to chat. Do your homework before attempting this. So, again, Enter: BBM or alternative.
BBM (or alternative): It can be BBM. Or WhatsApp. Or even Skype chat. Or Facebook Chat. Any platform that lets you be long-winded is okay. It should also allow you to exchange pictures, and perhaps songs, voice notes and video. The more expressive it lets you be, the better. At this point, you are both checking one another out seriously. Facebook is a good way to have a chance to see as many photos of your prospect as possible. Yes; stalk those albums! God gave Facebook photos for a reason.
Skype: Skype has been mentioned in the process, but I doubt that it is an essential. Still, if you can do Skype video calls, why not? It spices things up.
Phone Call: Once you get to phone calls, the two of you are probably already comfy, and this is likely the medium you use to set up that first real date – a physical meetup. Go on: ask for his/her phone number if things have gone well this far.
In Person: You finally get to meet real flesh and blood, and find out what this person really is like – looks, speech, attitude and all. Facebook photos and DPs can be deceptive. Some people are photogenic. Instant Messaging also doesn’t let you observe how people respond to many real life scenarios. Real life interaction is the last stop where you get to finally decide whether or not this person fits the image in your head. Of course, please be security conscious. Be careful to pick a busy, public place for your rendezvous. Don’t get kidnapped or something.
For your first date, pick activities that ensure that both of you give one another a lot of attention. Don’t go see a movie or a play, if possible. What you need is to talk and interact. Go have cakes and ice cream or a meal and talk away. Take a walk. Go on a drive around town. Shucks! Who am I kidding? Some of you are going to roll in the hay right away anyway! Oh well..
Anyway, feel free to modify the above steps/process for Facebook, Google Plus or any other platform. The idea is to go discretely from public interactions to private, then convert the whole thing to a physical meet. There are no guarantees. At any step of the process, you may run into hitches and things fall apart between you two. That’s perfectly normal. That’s the way it works in real life. Try again with someone else.
Do you have any experience with online relationships? How did the transition go? Please, do share.
PS: If you are on Twitter, do not forget to join No-Holds-Barred Interactive every Wednesday night at 9pm. Use and follow the hashtag #NHBi.