Direct messages on social networks have become the call sign of the creep.
The direct message, or DM, featured on networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, allows users to send messages without having to post them publicly like a regular comment or reply to a post. This means as long as you are connected with someone on these networks, you run the risk of having someone you might not know very well trying to talk to you, usually to make romantic advances.
Obviously this feature can be utilized in non-creepy ways, but it’s easy to see how it could appeal to certain groups of weird or desperate people. People you might not normally give your number to have found a way to contact you.
The act of trying to woo a girl by direct messaging her is prevalent enough that it has become known across the internet as “sliding into the DMs.”
Tia Lyman, a sophomore business administration major from Cedar City, had nothing good to say about getting direct messages.
“DMs are definitely not normal,” Lyman said. “No guy or girl has been successful in hitting on me. Like, I have never made a friend… because they direct messaged me.”
Likewise, Kaylie Anderson, a sophomore general education major from Sandy, said she had one particularly bad experience with a message.
“It was from someone I didn’t even know, and it was straight up pornographic,” Anderson said. “I just blocked and reported the person, but I get less creepy ones from guys I barely know a lot. Just like, ‘hey [heart emoji]’ and stuff like that.”
Of course, after hearing all of that, I had to try sliding into the DMs for myself. I took a moment to swallow my pride, kissed my dignity goodbye and began the task.
Generally I don’t connect on social networks with lots of people I haven’t met before, but I found some prospects I decided would work. Before I started messaging them, I felt like I needed to build some type of rapport, so I spent some time favoriting some of their tweets or liking some of their pictures, depending on the network. I felt like this would at least introduce the idea that I existed, which I hoped would make my initial messages seem less creepy.
Not surprisingly, after the messaging began, it didn’t last very long.
One girl I messaged took her time answering my first message but was cordial. After exchanging a few messages with hour breaks in between, the conversation came to a halt. I had struck out.
Most of the others reacted similarly. They varied in amounts of messages and time or I never got a reply.
I had failed to solicit female attention by using the method generally looked down on by my peers. What a blow to my self-esteem, I think.
There could be a brighter side to sliding into DMs, though.
Kassidy Waddell, a junior English major from Gilbert, Arizona, said she has had some positive experiences with DMs despite the stigma.
“I don’t mind it,” Waddell said. “I usually just end up being friends with them, but its flattering to me.”
So maybe “sliding in the DMs” isn’t the best way to try and hit on someone, but if people are getting married to their Tinder matches then anything is possible. Maybe the girl of your dreams is just waiting for a DM. I wouldn’t count on that, though.