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Dating in the DM – The Potential of the Facebook Direct Messenger

In Lieu of Valentines day, and for those of us who are still single—it’s time to get un-single or at least find a date (in less than 24 hours).

Let’s talk about the Direct messenger. Also known as, “the DM,” or, “getting in-boxed.” The most notable Direct Messenger is the stand alone Facebook app. There are others that exist such as, WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat, Kik, QQ, Skype, Viber and LINE. I choose to speak about Facebook Messenger because it’s directly connected to your Facebook app. Which is, needless to say, the most powerful social network in the world. The others are popular, but do not compare to Facebook Messenger.

Yes, Facebook is the devil. (I’m kidding).

Direct messenger is the devil - or is it
Photo Credit: Chris Newnham

The Bad

Messenger is notorious for spammers, scammers, married people seeking side relationships (side piece) outside their spouse, people in relationships seeking a threesome, people in relationships seeking someone outside their partner (without their partners knowledge of course). And finally, people seeking relationships with a complete stranger or someone on their friends list. Which is, completely harmless.

That being said, I don’t want to talk about the negative aspect of the direct messenger. Let’s talk about all the features, positive experiences and stories that have come from a simple acknowledgement of a Direct Message.

 

It Goes Down In The DM

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Photo Credit: i-m priscilla

What does that mean? It means, “embrace the direct messenger.” Be open to the possibilities that a simple direct message can bring you. I get it, you don’t know this person in-boxing you. They are not on your friends list, you have no mutual friends. So who are they? Is their page fake? “Let’s go look.” “he has 1000 friends and a few recent posts people have responded too.”

Instead of engaging him, you ignore him. Why? His message was respectful. He introduced himself, told you upfront that you didn’t know each other and had no affiliation, but he saw you on a public Facebook post and wanted to ask about you. Sounds like a decent introduction to me. And what’s the worse that can happen? It’s not like he’s a TV repairman turned death row criminal that will come through your internet modem and kill you. It’s an online experience. If you don’t like what has to say, it’s as easy as, “close and block.” Stop ignoring those DM pings. You know you see that message notification. If you are curious to see if someone has messaged you that is not on your friends list, go to your filtered message (message requests) inbox.  You will probably find a few people who tried to reach out to you.

By The Numbers

It’s important for you to understand just how many users on Facebook designate as single. Now compare that against the users in a relationship or involved (it’s complicated).

The below data states there were 669,600,000 active Facebook users designated as single as of, September 7th of 2016.

Single 37 %
Married 31 %
In a Relationship 24 %
Engaged 3 %
It’s Complicated 3 %
source: Statistic Brain, September 7th, 2016.

That’s a lot of single people on one website.  Of course there’s a percentage of those users that are not single, but are designated as single. But let’s just say that percentage is 20%. That still leaves 535,680,000 single people on Facebook, and you only need to meet 1.  Also, there’s a high possibility that of those 535,680,000 users that at least 10 of them will reach out to you at some point during your time on Facebook. 1 of those 10 might be your future mate. So the odds are definitely in your favor.  But not if you don’t embrace your DM.

Oh yeah… As of April 2016 The Facebook Messenger had 900 million active users.  By July 2016 the number was 1 billion.

Consequently, you have a better chance meeting someone on Facebook for free, by simply letting it, “go down.”

What do you have to lose?

A Different Perspective On the Direct Messenger

Right now you’re giving this article the side-eye. Like…”I can’t.” Really? Think about it. If you’re single, there’s high chance that you have been on a dating site. Or at least visited one before because you were curious. Dating sites are about as random as they come. At least with Facebook, some of the random people who reach out to you with romantic interests have mutual friends or connections. On dating sites, the meetings are completely random no matter how much they say they’re, “matching,” you. That being said, if you can go to a dating site and spend time setting up a profile, sourcing through profiles and responding direct messages and emails (while paying). Why wouldn’t you try it on Facebook which is free as the air we breathe?

Free vs Paid… no-brainer right?

Direct Messenger Success

It doesn’t take much. A posted pic or comment and someone will be inspired to send a message that will potentially lead to a relationship. Success favors the bold. So….be bold!

Success happens a lot more often than you think. People will talk about all the DM horror stories and frighten off those of us who might be open a random message request, had we not listened to them in the first place. Block out all that interference and go for it!

But hey… you don’t have to listen to me… according to TheKnot.com, below is a real life example of how going outside your box and opening yourself up to something unconventional, can lead to happiness.

They Met On Facebook

THE COUPLE: Kendra Cowser, 30, and Sean O’Brien, 32
WHEN THEY MET: January 2010
WEDDING DATE: September 14, 2013

Direct Messenger-Woman-Man-Laying down-next-each-other
Photo Credit: Two Rivers Photography

THEIR STORY: Kendra rarely friended anyone on Facebook other than people she knew, but in 2009 fate stepped in when Sean sent her a friend request. Although Kendra didn’t know him, he lived near her hometown of Galva, Illinois, and thought they might have mutual friends in common, so she accepted. None of his friends looked familiar though so she just let it go, until six months later when Sean started “liking” some of her photos. One night as she was packing up her apartment in Chicago getting ready to coincidentally head back to Galva, Kendra finally decided to satisfy her curiosity and message him. Sean responded immediately and they ended up writing back and forth all night. And then every day forward. It turns out Sean didn’t know her but she popped up in his list of people he might know. “I saw a cute girl and I wanted to add her,” he recalls. Both admitted that neither of them was planning on starting a relationship at the time, but it sure turned into one. Two days after Kendra was back in Galva, Sean was at her doorstep with a bottle of wine to celebrate meeting in person. In July 2012, Sean messaged her on Facebook (of course!) to ask her to go ring shopping—his way of proposing—and last September they threw a huge bash that their guests described as “the best wedding they’ve ever been to!”

a few more success stories

 

#EMBRACETHEDM

It’s not hard, just proactively send a message or respond to one that comes into your inbox. I’d quickly vet them out. Check their page, make sure they have an acceptable amount of friends (No new pages). Check for mutual friends. Also, see if they have some public posts you can view. Click on a few pics, and go from there.

You’ve got 1 more day!

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Yelp Is Not Facebook

I have a gripe. A rant really. When the heck did Yelp become like Facebook and wanting you to have Friends? I love Yelp. Yelp is a website that helps people find great local businesses like dentists, restaurants, hair stylists and mechanics. Pretty much everything.

I use Yelp a lot when I want to go and check out a new restaurant. I want to read the reviews and look at the pictures of the food that people received. A review and a photo always helps me to determine if it is worth my dime or my time.

Mr. C and I used Yelp when we went to Miami last year. We ate at restaurants that had been reviewed on Yelp and had the best food and service. It was heaven.

We had walked into a Cuban spot for breakfast and the waitress asked how we found the restaurant and I told her that they had great reviews on Yelp. She was excited and told the owner. I told her that is how I eat when I’m trying something new. Yelp never lies.

So, I was surprised when I realized that I had friend requests from people on Yelp. What? Why? Did I know you personally? Why do we need to be friends on Yelp? We’re not friends in real life. Isn’t this just weird?

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Needless to say, it is weird as hell to me. Yelp is not Facebook and I don’t need to be friends with strangers. Social media has gotten out of control.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Picture This

Mr. C and I attended my sorority’s winter event a couple of weeks ago. We had so much fun. He had to work that night so him coming by for a couple of hours was amazing. My sorority sister took a picture of us at the event and posted it on social media. Specifically, Facebook. I have a timeline review on my social media page because I got tired of people posting junk on my page and tagging me in it, so I review everything.

I saw the picture of Mr. C and I among the photos she uploaded. I immediately asked her to please delete it. I explained that I don’t post photos of Mr. C and I on my timeline because not everyone is praying for our happiness. I am a firm believer in sharing what I choose to share and with whom. She quickly took the photo down and apologized.

I talked to Mr. C about it and asked him was he okay with my decision and he said yes. I told him that when we are ready to share photos of each other on social media that I would like it to be our decision and it probably won’t be until we’re married. He laughed. I guess at the end of the day what I’m saying is that I’m trying to protect the best thing that has ever happened to me.

My life is in such a great place that I want to protect this relationship and our love. Now, that doesn’t mean that people can’t meet him. He’ll be at family events. He’ll be at friend events. He’ll be at my galas and my sorority parties, but we are very happy in our private bubble and will share photos in our own time.

 

What are your thoughts? Do you share your photos of your significant other on your social media page? Would you be offended if I asked you to remove a photo of me and Mr. C?

He’ll Do in Case of Emergencies

That was one of the most poignant lessons learned from my mommy. It was a statement simple and powerful as I was growing up and entering the dating world. The first time I heard that statement, I had met a wonderful young man who was smart, considerate, gorgeous and talented and I asked, “Mommy, isn’t he perfect?” Her response was “He’ll do in case of emergencies”. What? Hold up. Rewind. What does that mean?

It meant men are disposable, interchangeable and you should always have a back-up. Not quite sure what I was expecting at 16, maybe a little more, “Yep, baby. I can see why you like him.” But, that was not my mother’s nature. Her desire was to give it to you straight with no chaser. Did it make me pause and think maybe “the one” was a myth because every man would do in case of emergencies? Yes, Absolutely!

I read this article on the Washington Post and it kinda confirmed that not just women are doing it, but men too. It stated that “Men have back-burners at roughly twice the rate of women”. Wow! So, in this digital age, women aren’t alone. Men have been using technology to keep in touch or hook up with exes or women that they’ve flirted with in the past. Social media has made it easier for folks to hook up and have romantic affairs with people outside of their current mate.

Researchers are calling it “digital cheating or cyber infidelity”. Umm, can anyone say that they are surprised by it? Probably not, but what surprised me was the fact that it is now easier to get it on with someone from your past or a co-worker without ever raising suspicion. Facebook has broken up many a “happy home” because people can’t seem to let go of the past. How many times have you caught your significant other texting or emailing someone from their past with questionable responses? Hmm, not wanting to admit it huh? What about your girlfriend’s sister’s cousin’s brother who was cheating on his wife of 10 years with his old college girlfriend? Why did he do it? Convenience perhaps? Opportunity to water the grass on the other side? Perhaps.

But, the one thing for sure is that technology has made it easier to get your “freak on” with folks without ever having to leave your zip code. You don’t have to do much. Think about it…Two people fed up with their current partners arguing or fussing that they comfort each other. That comfort leads to something more, but they’re not going to leave their “boo thing” for you. It was just time and opportunity. You console each other and confide how unfair your partners demands are. However, you never want to leave your number one for your number two on the back burner. Why? Because you trust number one. I bet you know some men like that right now.

However, it’s not just men though, because last week The Huffington Post reported that “Uh-Oh, Survey Says Half of Married Women Have a Back-up Husband in Mind”. Really? I didn’t know it was that many. I mean I thought 20%, but more than half? Who are these Plan B men? Men from their past: old boyfriends, men who they’ve flirted with or colleagues. Okay, I get the past boyfriends, but casual acquaintances a relationship don’t make. However, it does support my mom’s theory that women should have a back-up. Maybe their mothers told them the same thing.

But, I have to wonder…in the dating world where people are making more connections on line and through various social media platforms, does that mean you are going to have less of an opportunity for survival in a healthy functioning relationship because you have alternatives in your friend list, circle or network? Will more people just hook up instead of commit because we’re too lazy to work at something? How many of us have pressed rewind on a relationship from the past and found out that it was true love? Sometimes it’s the thought of knowing someone so well that you don’t have to spend time learning someone new.

Where is the fun in that? Maybe people should spend more time protecting something special instead of settling for the he/she person that will do in case of emergencies. Limit your choices. Eliminate your alternatives and build with the possibility of “the one” something incredible. It would probably be fewer divorces. IMJS.

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