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!