My girlfriend's younger brother lives interstate and every time he lands back in Sydney, the first thing he does is post an Insta-story announcing his arrival.
"ZOMG so good to be back Sydney!" he declares, alongside a truly dull video of him driving from the airport. It's always confused me, since he's back pretty often, so it isn't really Insta-story worthy, but I've recently learnt he has an ulterior motive.
"This is how I get dates, I let people know I'm around and then Instagram does the rest."
I'm curious – what about Tinder, Bumble, Happn? The dating apps that people swear by.
"No, no and no. Instagram, is where it's at. Honestly, I can't even remember my Tinder log in."
This is news to me, but I'm not totally sold. Time for a panicked text to four of my most reliable (and most single) friends.
Meet and greet
Me: Hey do you guys use Instagram to get dates, is that a thing now? Isn't Instagram mostly for following meme pages?
Friend 1: I have scored a few dates via Insty. I think it's because people want to see more now. Girls are suss on Tinder profiles, but Instagram seems more real. (Laughable I know, but it SEEMS more real.)
Friend 2: My instagram is 50 per cent memes and 50 per cent mens hahaha. But seriously, I had a date on Monday with a guy from Insta. We had mutual friends, followed each other, exchanged likes, then a few comments, then DMs, then drinks! Insta for the win!
Friend 3: All the time. I never use dating apps now.
Friend 4: I still use Bumble mostly, but I definitely see Insta as part of that world. I also think it's cuter than a dating app, it's almost like the guy has put in more effort.
Lookin' for likes
This extensive testing confirms that Instagram has in fact transformed from 'place influencers post pictures of free stuff' to 'platform for potential life partners.'
So with that in mind, perhaps it's time to swipe left on Tinder and co, and give your Gram a solid once over. Here are some tips to get you started.
Pause before posting
Now that your feed basically acts as a first impression, it's time to consider the kind of content you're putting out there.
That grainy photo you posted at midnight of your best mate with six cigarettes in his mouth? Hilarious at the time, harmful in the morning. I'm not saying you have to start overly curating what you're throwing up there, but it's worth remembering your next great love, could've just looked at your picture of #DaveDirtyDurryDog.
O Caption, My Caption
Equally important is your caption game. Never before have so few words meant so much, so whatever you're writing, be sure to give it a good edit.
Hand your iPhone over to that one mate who's good with words to check if you've spelt everything correctly. Nothing dries up a digital romance quicker than a series of excruciating grammatical errors. You don't want to be that 'looser' whose ongoing battle with the alphabet costs him his happily-ever-after.
Truth > story
Instagram stories have really changed the way we use social media - it's opened up a whole new level of casual stalking. While some people might never like or comment on a photo, they will view your story.
That's a whole new potential dating pool waiting to be dazzled by your top shelf content. And if starring in a story isn't your thing, just play it safe and post a crash zoom video of a co-worker - always good for a laugh and shows you have friends - win win.
To be fair, the dating landscape shifts pretty quickly, and tomorrow LinkedIn could be the new Instagram and so on. Before long we'll all be dusting off our MySpace logins as everything comes full circle.
The take-home message should be that every corner you exist on the internet is a sliding doors moment for your dating life.
So try to put your best foot forward, fellas, you won't regret it.
Have you swapped Tinder for Instagram? Or even looking on LinkedIn? Share your dating highs and lows in the comments section below.