- The novel coronavirus pandemic has made connecting in person with romantic interests impossible — forcing more people to turn to social media for dating.
- Today’s teenagers are digital natives, and know a thing or two about using technology to stay connected.
- Insider spoke to teenagers for their best advice on how to use social media to find connections, date, and love during while in quarantine.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has made connecting in person with romantic interests impossible. That means everyone — including people who still prefer to meet through friends or at in-person events — is forced to rely on the internet more than ever.
While social media is used across many age groups to find love, one generation may be having less trouble with the practice than the rest. Born after 1996, members of Generation Z are digital natives and often the most experienced in using social media to find romance.
Insider asked today’s teens for their best advice on how to use social media for dating during the coronavirus pandemic.
Understand the platform you’re using, whether it’s Instagram or TikTok
Whether you’re using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or Tik Tok, it’s important to understand the social conventions of each platform before diving in.
Devin Larsen, a 16-year-old from Ventura, California, told Insider he recommends trying out each app before jumping straight into trying to find your quarantine love interest.
“I know it’s not always easy, but make sure you understand the technology you’re using and how to use it in a way that’s respectful,” Larsen said.
If you not clear about how to use a given app, consult a younger friend or relative for advice. Get familiar with what to put on your Instagram story versus your main feed – or when to Tweet versus when to direct message.
When you’re looking for people to date, make sure to manage your expectations
While social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook — not to be confused with Facebook Dating (the platform’s new in-app dating feature) — aren’t designed intentionally to be dating apps, they can be spaces to connect with people who have common interests.
“Going into it thinking about dating at the moment is not going to work,” Larsen said. “I feel like on social media, you have to start off knowing that you can talk to someone as a friend before you can start being flirty.”
The Southern California native told Insider he met the boy he’s now dating casually on Tik Tok. After seeing his videos, Devin looked at his Instagram and realized the two had a lot in common.
“We have similar interests — that’s what’s nice about having multiple profiles on multiple apps,” Devin said. “You get to see how they interact on everything and you get a better idea on who they are and how they act.”
Mix up the types of social media you’re using to stay in contact
Yasser Olivera, an 18-year-old from Ojai, California, told Insider one of the best ways to keep conversation light and exciting online is mixing up how you communicate.
While texting is is useful for conversation, natural lulls can occur where it feels like there’s nothing more to say.
Snapchat is an alternative way to keep in touch without saying too much, using pictures to communicate instead, according to Yasser.
“It’s more interesting than just a text,” Olivera said. “You’re getting a picture of their face with a text — I feel like it’s more real communication.”
There’s a fine line between constantly communicating and overcommunicating
Natalia López, a 17-year-old from Ventura, California, told Insider the key to maintaining a balance between constant communication and overload is pacing. Rather than immediately replying to messages, it’s ok to have lags and delays between Snapchat messages or texts.
“It’s like trying to keep a conversation going, but it’s extremely slow,” López said.
Olivera also told Insider there’s a thin line between checking in and over-texting.
“This doesn’t mean that you guys should be talking all day, every day, because in any kind of relationship or friendship, you can get bored if you literally talk about everything,” Olivera said. “If you’re at home doing nothing, then there’s not really much that you guys can talk about.”
Instead, scheduling intentional check-ins or dates can help make communicating with your significant other feel special.
López told Insider she likes to plan FaceTime dates with the person she’s dating rather than constantly texting because she feels it’s more real.
“I hate over text and Snapchat that I have so much time to think of a clever response, because that’s not how I am in real life, so it doesn’t feel real at all,” López said. “Use calls and videochats so you can at least talk to the person live and have a real conversation.”