Slide into my DM’s

The topic for this blog came about because of a joke going around my office the past couple of weeks. For the past six months, I’ve been planning the annual Graduate Student Ball that just occurred the first weekend of April. While discussing who was bringing what date, I kept telling everyone I was bringing one of my favorite celebrities, Scott Michael Foster. It became a joke that Scott would be showing up, so I decided to take it a step further and actually invite him, through a Direct Message (DM) on Instagram of course. 

What better method of communication do we have with celebrities than the social media app most of us use daily? Aside from actually coming up with a message that didn’t seem entirely crazy, the actual DM part was pretty easy. While most people know how to send a direct message, what I didn’t realize were the logistics behind how DM’s work. There’s a lot more to a DM than just checking to see if it has been “seen” by the receiver.

There are a lot of reasons people may want to DM someone. Many times, Instagram is a direct method to finding collaborators on projects, praising someone on the work they’ve done, starting a conversation in hopes of meeting up, or purposely spamming someone. Whatever the case may be, you should be aware of exactly what goes on when a message is sent. If you’re already connected on Instagram, you are considered a “follower” of someone else and vice versa. If you send a DM and both follow one another, a message will appear as “seen” when the receiver clicks into the message and reads it. Therefore, you’ll know whether or not activity on your message occurred. 

The tricky part comes into play when you may or may not follow someone on Instagram that does not follow you back. This is typically where you see someone of more elite status, such as a celebrity, rarely follow you back. It makes sense that they are going to have a substantial following, but only follow back the individuals they either know or are fans of themselves. When you send someone a DM that does not follow you back, they receive two options upon seeing your message come through. They’ll get to read a portion of the message from you up on their screen and choose between an “Accept” or “Decline” button. Only if they select “Allow” will you know whether or not they read your message. So, maybe your favorite celebrities have read your messages, but just never officially accepted your messages. There could be a lot of reasons for this, which I’ve outlined below. 

Ins and Outs of DM’s

Most celebrities and companies make the use of an assistant to respond for them. Many times this assistant will provide other forms of contact information to get in touch with the celebrity. I’ve DM’d enough celebrities to know that this is the most efficient method for the celebrity. Imagine, many of these celebrities have over a million followers. They are inundated with thousands of messages a day at times and can only manage their account with some help. An assistant also might only touch on a fraction of those messages that ever come through, so, if you’re desperate to get in touch with someone, pause and try another message shortly. 

Think about how serious you are in connecting with this person. A celebrity or their assistant is much more likely to respond if you carefully craft your message and get right to the point. Think about writing an email to your manager. They get lost in words and disregard your message if you don’t get right to the point within the first few sentences. If you have any personal connection, use that; especially if this person is someone you are looking to collaborate with. It’s the same process with an interview where any personal touch could make you stand out from the crowd. 

Additionally, be careful with what you write. Anything you write is a paper trail in a sense. If you write a well thought out message but receive no response, don’t start spamming the person through their DMs. Not only will they never respond this way, but it’s just embarrassing.

DM’s have also become a popular trend in relationships. The popular phrase “slide into my DM’s” has become a phenomenon, somehow. Instead of using just dating apps, people have started messaging one another directly through the direct messaging feature. I was surprised to find how many people have met this way and go on dates just by talking through this social media platform.

While Scott Michael Foster never responded to me, I’ll be trying again in the future. I’ve had some great successes with my DM’s and celebrity responses. It’s a great way to connect that is quick and easy!  

7 comments

  1. Really interesting topic that I am sure all of us can relate to, but have never truly given much thought in terms of the ins and outs of dming. I think college students especially rely on dming to talk to people they normally would not talk to and this is typically done by responding to Instagram stories. I think because we all have access to celebrities’ dms it makes us feel closer to them, but you are right in that their inboxes must be inundated and they probably never go through them. I certainly do not blame them though, because while they may get thousands of positive messages, I am sure they also receive hateful dms. I think dms are just another impersonal way for us to talk to people who we may not even talk to in person once we see them. It is interesting that sliding into someone’s dms has become a way to romantically or sexually connect with someone and this is mostly done on Instagram and not really on any other social media platform as much. It would have a completely different connotation if someone where to facebook message someone else because this is typically done when asking about school work, at least from what I have seen. Great post!

  2. Sorry to hear you did not get a response. As Michael Scott once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. -Wayne Gretzky” All jokes aside, the sliding into DM phenomenon sure is real…I’ve seen quite a few spam DM’s come my way. You make great points that it is an easy way for people to try to connect with celebrities and people of higher status, or even to secure that date! There have been a lot of success stories thru DM’s and twitter of celebrities going to proms and other events with strangers! Great blog, enjoyed reading it!

  3. First off great post, I think this is topic that warrants a class discussion. It may just be me but I have noticed an uptick in the trend of “sliding into DMs” and it goes beyond just those missed connections. I think that is a lot to be said for companies and celebrities that take the time to respond. Instagram has opened up a way for consumers to interact with their brands and the same for celebs which is great! Sorry to hear about Michael Scott!

  4. I love that you wrote about this topic, because I’m pretty familiar with the concept of DM’ing via Instagram. I tend to DM a lot of my favorite celebrities, and I found the most success and highest response rate from YouTubers or influencers. The thrill of getting a notification on your phone that a celebrity has replied to your message is unlike any other (I’m such a fan girl, I know). And because I’m familiar with this unexplainable feeling of happiness and excitement, I find myself DMing more celebrities to see who would respond next. I don’t do it in a crazy, obsessive way obviously, but it’s really nice to connect as if we’re just two normal human beings talking to each other and sharing our stories. The ability to respond to someone’s Instagram story is another common way of sliding into someone’s DMs, and that’s just a way to have a very brief, quick conversation with someone. I oftentimes talk to people I don’t normally talk to on a daily basis through Instagram DM. I also have utilized DMs to sell any items I have like concert tickets or clothes that I want to get rid of. It’s functional and efficient because you can simply put it out there for anyone who may be interested to see and respond to you, rather than contacting specific individuals one by one and asking them. I hope you get a reply from Michael Scott one day, don’t give up!

  5. I loved reading this, and I always find the topic of DMs really funny. They can be so useful in connecting with others, especially more famous people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get in contact with. It’s interesting to bring up the fact that a DM never really goes away and with high profile people using them as a way to connect with your “average” person it can be dangerous. I’ve seen so many celebrities and athletes get “exposed” on twitter for sliding into girls DMs, getting publicly shamed on social media because of their status. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of sending DMs and at this point any communication using them seems to be surrounded with some time of stigma or suggestive nature. Which to be fair, can be useful if you’re really trying to get a certain message across. Regardless, it’s a really interesting topic and a use of technology that has really come to develop a life of it’s own in the social media age. Great job on the post!

  6. While I don’t have personal experience using Dm’s to start a relationship something about it seems safer to me than typical dating apps or sites. On tinder you can easily catfish with pictures, and while you have the option to link your Instagram you don’t have to which closes off an avenue of accuracy. On Instagram, all of your personal memories are there and it paints a more accurate picture of who you are. It’s much harder to fake an Instagram profile on a whim to make it seem credible, gaining enough followers and having enough spread out posts takes time. I think you brought up a great point about not spamming and trying to differentiate your message while still getting to the point quickly. I’ve seen tons of screenshots on twitter and Instagram of people sending “hi” to Justin Bieber everyday and being upset that he didn’t respond. I think if we begin to use DM’s for more meaningful conversations and messages rather than spam it can open that line of communication even further.

  7. I really was hoping Scott got back to you, bummer to hear he didn’t. Excellent post, it seems this is one of those phenomena that has passed me by and I wasn’t really sure what all the fuss was about when referring to a DM. However, it sounds like there are far more practical uses other than just creeping on someone’s social media, and while there can be practical usage it also seems like there is a huge potential for abuse here. I would be curious to know how many abusive messages are sent, vs those that are helpful or meaningful.

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