“Follow me on Instagram!” is the new “What’s your phone number?” I explored this and the impact it may have on us getting to know each other in a piece for The New York Post. I’ve shared an extract of the article here…
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I swapped digits with someone on first meeting. Only later, once essentially vetted through passive or not-so-passive observation of someone’s timeline, do phone numbers get exchanged. Even then, only if necessary.
David Marcus, who runs Facebook’s Messaging app, predicted the death of the phone number as one of five trends to expect in 2016, and the forecast rings true now. While we may not have done away with phone numbers just yet, at least in the social-media-enabled world, they’re certainly becoming less vital every day.
These days, most people stay in touch by “liking” photos, responding directly to someone’s Instagram or Snapchat story, emailing them or video-calling them through Facebook or Skype.
If and when someone actually does call you on an actual phone, chances are you won’t pick up.
“Sometimes, when I can’t get through to a friend [by phone], I’ll message them on Facebook and they’re more likely to answer quicker,” Ed Hutchinson, a 27-year-old real estate agent based in Los Angeles, told The Post.
Research from 2015 found 62 percent of teens share their social media username as one of the first pieces of information when meeting someone new. Only 13 percent cite phone calls as their first choice in communicating with friends.
“We spend more and more time logging into social media and keeping our communications within the social media platform,” David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of personal development and mental well-being app Remente told The Post. “Similarly, we are less and less afraid of presenting more of our identity across social media, making it easier to keep our contacts, memories and interests in one place.”
Indeed, there’s a lot you can learn about someone from their socials. I met one of my best friends on Instagram after following her thanks to a golden burger ring she had created (Goldie Rox is a jewelry designer). I got to know and love her vibe and what she was about by following her posts. By “liking” her photos, I got to see what her interests are, what kind of places she likes going to and the sort of person she is. She had followed me back in the meantime, and I guess felt the same: A few months later we met up, then swapped numbers. Fast-forward three years and we’ve been on several vacations together, and I’ll be a bridesmaid at her wedding this year.
For many, myself included, the notion of giving out your phone number is considered far more intimate than following someone on social media…
Illustrations by Amy Kim for The New York Post
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