Since the introduction of Instant Messaging systems and SMS, a new set of vocabulary has emerged. They include abbreviations to common phrases and words that are relatable to pretty much everyone. This comes in handy if you are limited to characters, for example on Twitter, or don’t have time to spell everything out.
Linguistics are very important in society and being able to understand how people talk in order to keep in the loop is too- so I’m going to do you a favor and explain these common abbreviations that are being used. Most of the time people go to or use www.urbandictionary.com to find the answers, but some definitions are bad or crude. You don’t need that in your life.
This Wednesday, I’m going to talk about Direct Messaging (DM). DM is a good thing, bad thing scenario. When it originated it was supposed to be helpful. For instance, if you are a patient wanting to speak to a doctor about a medical problem but don’t want to go to the hospital. Direct Message allows you to contact them online to find out what you need to know with an immediate response. Social media platforms thought this was a good idea to be directed towards relationship building. However, there have been some cases of people abusing this ability. The term is mainly circulated around Twitter but other sites have been known to use it too.
My instances with DMs have been limited to Facebook so far. On Facebook users do not have to be “friends” with you in order for them to contact you. However the nice thing about it is that there is no obligation or force to reply to them. If you feel as if they are crossing a line, you do not have to engage with them.
The most recent occurrence with DM happened last summer when a man messaged me and wanted to know what my age and ethnicity were. I did some more digging and I realized that we had no mutual friends and he didn’t even live in the USA! If I don’t know you, then there can be no good outcome out of me telling you my age or anything about me. I don’t know how you were raised, but my parents taught me never to talk to strangers so I just ignored his message. It did bug me to know that this man was allowed to ask personal questions to people he didn’t know at all. I’ll admit it’s creepy to know that there are people out there in the world trying to get to know you when you don’t even have any connections to the person- especially on a platform such as Facebook. Try some other platform! Sometimes these messages can be spam or just people trying to get in with you. Either way, if I don’t know you, then I am not going to friend you. Sorry, not sorry.
On Twitter, it’s a little different and more secure. It only allows you to DM users who are already following you and visa versa. You can only receive messages from people you follow. If you want to you can change your account settings to receive DMs from anyone. I’ve used DM a couple of times on Twitter as a form of IM in order to ask basic questions to my friends or make plans with them. This ensures that I don’t have to worry about other users seeing where I am planning on going or what we are going to be doing. Safety is everything! Other than that, I don’t use it. The great thing about texting is that majority of people have it so if I need to contact my friends, I just text them. But it is nice to know if I don’t have someone’s number but know him or her, I can contact them on DM.