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Got a question about anything millennial-related? Email Ian at email@example.com. You should also follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook.
I have one question. There's this girl that I've had my eye on for awhile. I social media stalked her quite a bit, but we never really talked much. We see each other like three times per year and I met her last year. How should I go about getting her number?
Eric here has a little question with not-so-little implications. Well, not the asking-for-a-number part — that's pretty straightforward and I'll get to that later. But what Eric's struggling with is something that a lot of millennials deal with — the confluence of online existence and real-world social conventions.
It's somewhat unique to millennials, because we started coming of age right when the internet really started to mature into what it is today. In fact, I can't think of a technological change in my lifetime that happened faster. Hell, we didn't make the transition from cassettes to CDs as fast as we did from the Internet being the "novelty vehicle for pornography" to "the very fabric of modern existence and also a vehicle for pornography." The generation behind us won't know any better, and the one ahead of us views it with some trepidation, as evidenced by bad comics making jokes about "Facespace" and "Tweeters." By sheer happenstance, millennials got caught in between.
I kid about the internet being one big boob-viewing machine, but it really is uncanny how quickly people figured out that we could use it to gain access to the opposite sex (or the same sex, or all of the sexes). Obviously pornography is the biggest juggernaut in that regard, and online dating sites had the courage to say, "Hey, we know this is what you'd use this for if you could get away with it."
And then there's social media. I'll bet good money that everyone reading this, when goofing around on Facebook, has from time to time seen an album called "Spring Break 2013!!" and thought, "Huh, I bet there's some skin in here."
And that's what makes social media kind of weird, isn't it? These are people you know, and at this point in time you can thumb through their lives without them ever knowing. Those bikini pics belong to the co-worker across from whom you sit every day. That's a classmate, whose name you barely remember, doing body shots in Cancun. People put their business out there, either not thinking anyone will care to look or not caring if anyone does, and … there it sits. It's just out there for our consumption at any time. And that's not even really weird anymore. Social media "stalking" is an accepted part of life, to the point where the "stalking" moniker is probably no longer necessary or appropriate.
Social media best encapsulates what I meant by the intersection of online life and social conventions. Without social media, Eric would not be asking me, or anyone, how to go about getting this girl's phone number. He met her just last year and sees her just a few times per year — a far cry from, "Hey girl hey, lemme get those digits" territory.
For the rest of the advice, head to AskMen: Ask a Millennial: Asking Out a Facebook Crush.
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- Are You the Most Annoying Person You Know on Facebook?
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- The Hidden Dark Side to Twitter