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So you have a Twitter crush. We’ve all been there: slowly falling for someone with every new 140-character burst of text, the perfect GIF at just the right time, and intelligent commentary on current events.
Despite the overwhelming number of dating apps to choose from, swiping can get tiresome, and people are frequently meeting each other the old-fashioned way: through a public social network called Twitter dot com. Sometimes without even knowing the real person behind the tweets, people fall in love with words first and end up getting married.
It’s a delicate dance we play, with memes and puns and “Drinks later?” Once you hit the DM slide, your heart is fully in their inbox. But you’ve got to work up to the pinnacle of Twitter flirting: You can’t just jump right into a private message without laying some groundwork first.
A favorite (a like! Sorry, Twitter—I can’t come around to calling it that), is the first step to showing you’re interested, according to friends who have convinced me of this strategy and a love story in the New York Times.
The piece describes YouTuber Andrew Gregory‘s moves: “After six months or so, Mr. Gregory made his big move: randomly ‘favoriting’ her tweets.” A flurry of favs indicates an interest, and reciprocation can be a barometer of whether or not your crush is feeling it, too.
Progressing past favs means stepping up to @-replies and retweets, which should be kept complimentary and lighthearted. GIFs are recommended. You can even flirt with your crush without actually mentioning them, too. Called a “subtweet,” or subliminal tweet, that’s when people tweet about someone without calling them out directly; if your crush favorites it (likes! ugh), chances are they know it’s about them. Flirt successful.
The true pinnacle of Twitter flirting is the DM slide. Once mutual follows are established and favs and subtweets exchanged, you can send them a message on Twitter. Because, in the words of Yo Gotti, “It goes down in the DM.”
There are some caveats to this method, of course. You don’t want to DM someone who’s just genuinely friendly and not actually trying to get in your pants.
To ensure you’re both on the same page after exchanging pleasantries and making plans via DM, drop some hints as to your true intentions: Call it a “date,” or say something like, “I’m bad at flirting so I only do it on Twitter.” That way, your crush knows what’s up and won’t find themselves in a situation where they thought they were hanging out platonically (not that this has happened to me multiple times or anything).
If someone isn’t interested, stop engaging with them.
Flirting with and meeting someone on Twitter can feel more authentic than endless swiping and matching on dating apps. Twitter is public, so getting to know someone is an informal activity because you’re not the only one reading tweets and engaging with them. Tweets also provide you with an understanding of someone’s interests or sense of humor before you meet up for a date.
Twitter is the happy medium between meeting someone serendipitously in real life and matching with strangers on dating apps. And sometimes, true love begins with 140 characters.
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Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.