Scrolling for love has replaced swiping for love.
Swipe rights have turned into “I dropped into her DM”.
Tinder dates and hookups are now romances conceived in the inbox.
Cheesy pickup lines have turned into “I like your content” messages.
Flirtatious displays of interest are now commonplace in comment sections.
Instagram has quickly become the new Tinder.
Not just the new Tinder but a better Tinder.
It has become the new socially acceptable and respectable way to meet someone online. Particularly among the influencer and personal branding communities, it has become the new “it” way to meet.
“We met on Tinder” stories are seemingly socially embarrassing and shame-producing, while “we met on Instagram” stories now seem trendy, hip, contemporary, in style, and actually the makings of a quality love story in the 21st Century.
I should know – I met my partner on Instagram. I dropped in her DM. Actually, to be specific, I commented on a post in her stories, which I always say is like necessary foreplay for the DM. First, you must lube the DM with a couple of fingers (interact with one of their stories) before you can enter the DM. Dropping in someone’s DM without first commenting on one of their stories is like fisting them without lubrication.
So what’s with the Instagram romance phenomenon?
Why is it that so many have turned to Instagram as such a valuable dating resource?
Why is it that Instagram has now taken the reigns as Tinder 2.0 and the new and improved way to meet online?
A ONE-STOP SHOP FOR BUSINESS & LOVE (OR GETTING LAID)
There is definitely a convenience and attention proximity factor at play here, because you log enough time on a social media platform, you’re bound to begin building relationships of some sort, whether that’s actual relationships or fantasy relationships.
But what if one social media account could help you meet the love of your life AND help you create your dream business?
In the influencer and personal branding communities and world of entrepreneurship and online business, your Instagram account can often double as your dating profile and your business lead generator.
A place where you can make your living and meet the love of your life.
A platform where your worlds of love, business, and creativity can all conveniently collide.
For these types of entrepreneurs, they spend so much time browsing the gram, so many hours of every day interacting and engaging with other accounts in their industry, so much time responding to fans and followers, as well as developing relationships with other like-minded industry and thought leaders, they might as look for love while they’re at it.
For many outside the personal branding and influencer communities, social media is a burden and a place that serves as nothing more than a mindless distraction throughout the day.
But for those within the online communities, specifically, the Instagram community, it’s the very reason why they have the business they have and the lifestyle they have.
As the trend of ‘influencers’ and ‘influencer marketing’ continues to grow, the desire to earn a living solely off of Instagram will continue to become more and more commonplace.
And along with that trend, so will the trend of entrepreneurs, artists, influencers and public figures finding love on the gram.
Instagram is the very reason they can make passive money in their sleep and do a NOON Pilates class on a Wednesday.
The very reason they can live in Bali for the winter and travel from city-to-city like an affluent gypsy nomad.
It’s the reason they have fans who read their writing, followers who watch their videos religiously, and a tribe who connects with their message and adores the way they deliver it.
But it’s also a way they seem to be finding aligned love and partnership with people who live congruent lifestyles and are similarly connected to their life purpose and passions.
It’s a way to sell books and fill coaching programs, but also a way to play the dating field.
It’s a way to grow your personal brand and fine-tune your personal manifesto and message, but also attract a compatible life partner who has similar values and goals as you.
You’re interested in self-development?
Rather than scrolling Tinder and Bumble like a buffoon, you should just meet other thought leaders on Instagram who also live and breathe self-development and preach growth and transformation as much as you do.
Seems to be a much less stressful, less depressing and more efficient strategy, doesn’t it?
You can find someone in the same industry, who is interested in similar things, wants to grow an empire, make money and travel, start a business, live life on their own terms and not give in to the “man,” and become the kind of couple you can post about on Instagram and hashtag #PowerCouple, one envious filter at a time.
You can even combine empires, co-create a brand and combine your followers to make one super-charged online brand.
I should know – I am the epitome of everything I’m talking about here.
My partner and I are both relationship coaches who met on Instagram and started an online business with Instagram as our number one lead generator that is all about Legendary Love and becoming a Power Couple.
I hate to say it but we’re a cliché in all the best f*cking ways.
This seems to be the trend – online entrepreneurs are making money online and finding love online.
Not only that but using their words, creativity, talents, knowledge, and message to help call in the love they desire.
One epic post at a time quickly becoming sexual napalm for someone just a quick DM away.
“I just love his or her writing!”
“OMG I’m such a fan of their work!”
“I dig their vibe!”
“I love their style!”
“They’re such a talented photographer!”
“How can they possibly be this good looking and this knowledgeable about the same things I love talking about!”
All becoming the pre-cursor for love that begins in the inbox.
Quickly graduating to texting, to phone calls, to Skype dates and Friday night Face Times, and cross-country meet-ups at a seminar they both wanted to attend anyway to see if they could be “the one”.
MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE AND RESPECTED
Meeting on Instagram just sounds inherently and distinctly better than meeting on Tinder or Bumble, doesn’t it?
I was in an 8-month relationship a few years ago that began on Bumble and every time someone asked us how we met I quietly whispered “F*CK YOU” under my breath because I was insecure about the fact we met on a dating app named after a type of bee.
Now, I’m in a relationship that started on the gram and I feel like I’m living the American f*cking dream. Whenever someone asks how we met, I instantly pull my shoulders back, stick out my chest, flex my heart and speak of our Instaromance and Instalove with much glee and pride.
I feel like a modern day Tom Hanks and Megan Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.
But instead: You’ve Got Someone In Your Box
Love conceived in her box…in her inbox.
That’s because I dropped into her inbox first.
For some reason, Tinder feels like a lesser than love story, one that is defunct, uncool, unromantic and something to hide in shame from people.
You know, like we met on Tinder, quick, let’s make up a pretend love story so that our love story doesn’t sound like it started in a romantic f*cking gutter.
Feels like it should take place in a community centre with paper plates, plastic cups and cum stains all over the seats with karaoke for a band and a paper mache piñata full of used condoms for a bride’s bouquet.
SOCIAL STATUS AND SOCIAL LEVERAGE
Let’s face it: Instagram feels like a popularity contest.
Imagine someone drops in your inbox who has 200 followers versus 100K followers.
Which one are you bound to be more interested in?
The joe smoe nobody with 200 followers or the minor celebrity who posts inspirational content and is adored by their tribe of followers?
Even though the 200 follower person might be an incredible human being, the 100K might be infatuating enough to believe you could have a digital Cinderella love story on your hands.
There is major social status and social leverage dynamics at play when it comes to using Instagram as a dating profile.
Seemingly the more you’re adored, the more successful you seem to be, the more talented, the funnier, the smarter, the more popular, the freer reign you have to drop in people’s DM’s and not be met with a “F*CK OFF” message in return.
I understand the potential uproar here…I am simply playing devil’s advocate.
In the era of Influencers and Social Media Celebs…Instagram popularity has become the high school of adulthood.
“You’ve done a Ted Talk? Yeah, I’d go out with you.”
“Wait, your Ted Talk went viral? I’d for sure f*cking date you.”
“Got a best selling book? I’d f*ck you.”
“Wait, what, you said a New York Times Best Selling book?”
“You’ve been quoted on Forbes before? Let’s make a drone sex tape!”
“Got a podcast with 1 million downloads?”
“Holy f*cking batman, you have a million-dollar ONLINE business? I’m so f*cking marrying you!”
You got f*ck tons of followers and a killer online brand, you’re like the quarterback of the football team or the Prom Queen.
And you probably got a bunch of Insta cheerleaders or fanboys who would say yes if you asked them to the prom (a self-development workshop you host) or at least be receptive if you suddenly dropped in their box one day.
You got a tiny following, you’re like that weird science smart a$$ who stinks and stands in the parking lot and just smokes cigarettes all day long and criticizes all the popular kids, while secretly wishing they could be one of them.
GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION IS NOT A FACTOR
In the era of the digital nomad, geographic location is not a factor.
If you’re a successful online entrepreneur, you can work from anywhere in the world as long as there’s decent WIFI.
This opens up the possibility of finding love in other cities other than your own.
He**, you probably travel all the time anyway and barely have one permanent address. Even if you do have one permanent address, you’re probably not tied down to that one address and would potentially move somewhere else if someone really knocked your socks off.
For most online entrepreneurs, freedom is the driving force in their life. Freedom to live the life they want. Freedom to design their days however they want. Freedom to not be tied down to a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job with only four-weeks vacation per year. And freedom to move cities and travel whenever they want.
Chase the endless summer, chase the endless dream of being able to do what you want, when you want. Hop a Winnebago and travel the country, meet some new people, visit other influential online friends in other cities, speak at a couple of workshops, transform some people’s lives, all the while making bank and growing a digital empire.
The online dream. Freed and liberated from the burden of obligation and a lack of options.
Abundance is my guru. Scarcity is my b*tch.
This obsession with freedom has extended to the romantic department where they want free will to choose a love relationship that is not just restricted to one zip code.
Romances conceived in the inbox turns the dating field into the wild wild west of the whole wide world. The gram provides this romantic escapism and ability to choose a love relationship anywhere they d*mn well please.
“You’re in San Diego you say?”
“I’ve always wanted to spend some time in San Diego. I also have this friend in one of my masterminds who lives in San Diego, and it would be really great to meet them in person and hang out as well.”
“I guess I’m coming to San Diego!”
“After Face Timing for so long, I can’t wait to actually meet you three-dimensionally!”
Romances conceived in the box often spawn exploratory love journeys with entrepreneurs traveling to a different city across the country to see if love could be in the air.
I should know, my partner and I conceived our inbox romance cross country over FaceTime, with cryptic love letters within Insta captions, slowly lubricating the fires of desire one epic post at a time.
While traditional Tinder only gives you access to those in your city, and if you do want to swipe through people in distant cities, you have to pay extra and can only browse one city at a time.
Instagram gives you wider access to the whole wide world. The ability to connect with other like-minded and compatible individuals doing epic and awesome shit that you would have never been privy to otherwise.
THE MORE IN-DEPTH & RELIABLE VETTING PROCESS
Now, this is the most important point out of them all. While everything that preceded this point was all fun and games, this point is the only one that actually really matters, so make sure you listen.
The more in-depth and reliable vetting process.
Tinder 1.0 sucks because all you see is someone’s f**king pixelated face.
Tinder 2.0 aka. Instagram is a glimpse into that person’s f**king soul.
It’s a collage of what’s important to their heart.
You get to see what they care about.
What they’re passionate about.
Their beliefs, values, and interests are on clear f**king display.
You get a feel for what they’re gifted and talented at, what they like talking about, and not to mention, a clear and in-depth look into this person’s mission and purpose.
All this information helps you to vet who is in alignment with you and who is not.
You have a passion for saving the f**king ocean? You can meet someone else on Instagram, f**king hundreds, even thousands, of others who have that same passion.
One of those people could be the love of your life. Or one of your best friends. Or some future collaborators or business partners for you to save the ocean with.
Health and wellness is your jam!? You can align with others who preach the exact same way of healthy living. This helps you find a like-minded tribe of people for you to connect with who value the exact same things.
This value can spawn romance. But it’s not just limited to romance. As it can create life-changing relationships of all kinds — romantic, friendship, business, you name it.
Your all about growth and self-development? Instagram is literally crawling and infested with people obsessed with personal growth and development. This creates such a feeding frenzy for building aligned connections with people in the world who you’ve never met who are likely part of your soul tribe.
In addition, the ability to follow people on Instagram allows you to vet people over a long period of time.
While on Tinder 1.0 you make a split-second decision simply based off a couple of photos, Tinder 2.0 (Instagram) allows you to really get a feel for what someone is about, extending far beyond simply their physical appearance.
You get a full view of who this person is and what they’re about, over an extended period of time.
This helps you to align yourself for the possibility of real, aligned love, not just lust.
It likely begins with you following someone because you like their vibe and dig what they post.
Potentially this person is a part of your same industry, or a similar industry to you.
You follow them and get a feel for their voice and what they’re all about. Their voice and message slowly begins to resonate with you more and more over time. Perhaps they follow you also and feel the same way about what you post.
This perhaps begins some form of dialogue, maybe initially in the comment section of each other’s posts, before transitioning into private messages.
Maybe they become a new best friend. Maybe a new business partner or your number one ally online. Or maybe they become “the one”.
Or maybe they become a best friend, a business partner, and a lover all wrapped up into one Instagram handle.
I say this because this is what happened to me.
With all the jokes and parodies and satires aside, I found love in the inbox. I did. I found the most incredible human being who I would have never met otherwise. Someone who has changed my life in every single way.
For that reason, as much as I f**king hate Instagram sometimes and the annoyances that come along with being glued to a social media platform for a living, I am so grateful for it because it opened my heart and is making my dreams possible.
Instagram is Tinder 2.0, not because it gets you laid or flushes your ego with likes or lets you feel more adored and important than in your real life, but because it’s a platform that can help you create the aligned love and relationship of your dreams as long as you use it wisely and scroll with the true vision of your heart and soul in mind.
I know because that’s what it did for me.
That first message was the start of our love story.
A love conceived in her box.
In her inbox.
Happy scrolling, lovers.
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.
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