Digital Get Down: Social media frenzy

Laken Howard, Blogger

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Connecting with someone new on social media is an easy, quick way to get to know people. If you meet someone online, it can be hard to get the full picture of who he or she really is. All you have to form an opinion is a profile someone has carefully put together to represent himself or herself in the best way possible. It goes without saying that people’s Facebook or Twitter presence is a bit more revealing and honest (especially all those sloppy Halloween pictures they forgot to untag). It’s tricky to know when to add someone you just met, so here’s my somewhat tried and true advice on the subject.

Facebook

For many, Facebook is still the No.1 outlet for discussing everything, whether it is accomplishments, frustrations, sadness or just plain boredom. It also may contain the most personal information about people: where they work, where they went to school, how many siblings they have, etc. Unfortunately, there’s no scientific formula for when to friend someone from OkCupid on Facebook. In my experience, the best way is also the most organic: Wait for a moment a couple of weeks into the relationship when you’re doing something together and casually mention how you wish you could tag them at the place you’re at. This way there’s no creepy thought of “How do I ask him for his last name?” followed by, “Now that I know his last name, is it socially acceptable to add him without asking about it first?” Unless there’s something big this person is hiding, he or she will happily click “confirm friend.” Just be prepared for potential posts about or photos with exes or the occasional “Did his mom just like my profile picture?”

 Twitter

My Twitter is the most ridiculous conglomeration of over-shares, banal comments about my daily life, hilarious quips and one-liners. You might understand, then, why I’d be reluctant to let a guy I just started seeing browse through my tweets. That being said, it’s also really exciting if a guy compliments my Twitter, because that means he must really get my sense of humor to not think I’m a total weirdo after reading a tweet like “Turning up with some Scooby Doo at 3:30 a.m.” If Twitter is your bread and butter, like it is for me, it’s understandable that you’d want to immediately follow your latest boo thang so you can get into his head (and maybe even subtweet him later). Proceed with caution, though. Twitter can get weird, and although an unfollow may not seem as personal as an unfriend, you might regret making yourself privy to all his weird, 140-characters-or-less musings. I suggest not following someone new until you’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks and have casually discussed the site with each other so you know for sure he’s as into it as you are (and so you know he’s an active enough user that he’ll be willing to follow you back).

Instagram 

This is one of the most casual forms of social media, so it’s perfect for creeping on people you just met. If you aren’t friends on Facebook and don’t follow each other on Twitter, Instagram is a great way to get a small glimpse into your new guy’s life. Though it may not be as in-depth as a fully fledged Facebook profile, a guy’s Instagram feed can tell you a lot about him. He might have an adorable puppy that he constantly posts pictures of (Aw!). Conversely, he could be the kind of guy who only uses Instagram to put a filter on his abs, in which case at least you’re now wiser to his less-than-ideal character (assuming you’re not into vanity). Though interaction on Instagram is limited to likes and comments, at least you can learn a little about him without feeling like you’ve totally invaded his personal digital bubble. Follow away whenever you get the urge — it’s just more pictures, after all.

Tumblr

If you’re dating someone who actively uses Tumblr, you might want to rethink seeing him or her at all. I kid, I kid. If that’s his thing, it’s likely a much more private and personal social media outlet than his Facebook. It could contain everything from secrets about his most embarrassing fandoms to tear-fueled rants during his worst, most vulnerable moments. To be honest, I’ve never followed someone I met on OkCupid on Tumblr, so I have no idea how to broach this subject. I would advise that you wait until you really know people before following them on Tumblr, lest you offend them by invading their private space. On the other hand, it is a place where you can really see their range of interests as well as their artistic side. If you both share a love for “Harry Potter,” try mentioning a good “Harry Potter”-themed Tumblr you follow and see if that conversation leads you to a Tumblr-friendship with your guy or girl.

— Laken Howard

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