Social Media Flirting: A Gen Y Mode of Intimate Interaction


BY: Deanna Viel  

Gone are the days of handwritten notes slipped in to lockers, books purposefully dropped in front of a cutie’s chem class, and flirtatious, but bold glances from across the bar to communicate your intimate interest in someone. Now, instead of a quickly written coquettish post-it note, or an “accidentally on purpose” bump in the hall, every mode or method of flirting is to be done on a smart phone, or while strategically staring at a social media screen.

The generic means of capturing a crush’s attention are now seemingly archaic as we swipe and type on our social media apps and websites to communicate with potential hump buddies for that night. Facebook’s “poke” feature allows you to send a notification with a small index finger icon to any individual you want to virtually show interest in… Because that notion isn’t creepy. But it’s really not, and that’s perhaps the creepier part. Our generation is embracing that a drunken Facebook message into your inbox at 2 a.m. is an acceptable way to capture a potential mates attention and that it’s “flirty” to be sending “Hey what’s up” messages to people you have never met as a way to spark up an amorous conversation.

We identify “sub-tweets”, or semi-blatantly talking about or to someone on Twitter without tagging them in it, as a way to show someone you are interested in them. For example, you see a hot guy/girl from class and you are aware they follow you on Twitter, so instead of approaching them and oh, I don’t know, saying hello, you “sub-tweet”, some bullshit flirty “come hither” tweet such as “see you over there, I know you saw me, come say hi #tryingtotalk #comeon”.

Trust me, it’s hard to accurately portray how badly you want to approach/be approached and still attempt at being somewhat subtle with only 140 characters, but where there’s a will there’s a way!

We have these modes of social media to communicate through, so we seemingly have a lot less necessary face-to-face communication to suffer through. We can “like” the posts or Vines of the people we want so badly to go out with. Or Tinder scroll for days and hope we get “matched” with the good-looking few we have been seeing around.

But do these new Generation Y approved methods of flirting equate to successful face-to-face actual flirting? Unless you plan to “catfish” it for the remainder of your days as a social media flirt, there will come a time wherein dinner, coffee or even a drunken or awkward hook-up will be the a result of all of the witticisms and shameless banter shared back and forth. So when that time comes, will you be as suave in real life as you are social media savvy? If you find yourself legitimately pondering this question as you read this article under one tab and send a well thought out flirtatious “direct message” on Twitter under the next tab, I’d advise you to close all browser windows and at least start waiting outside his/her classroom. No, but really, any real life boldness is preferred after a third or fourth unanswered poke.