Online dating is no longer a fad. Before now, shooting your shot — a slang used to describe reaching out to someone you're interested in — was something that happened offline. Offline events, meetups, and through mutual friends were how people built relationships. But things have changed. Online communities have built credibility in bringing people together, sparking connections, and building relationships. The outpour of stories with the hashtag, We Met on Twitter, where people shared about successful relationships (and marriages) that began on twitter is proof of this. And now, in the middle of a pandemic where there are several restrictions on interactions with people, the chances of meeting that special person in the dramatic Hollywood-type, attraction on-first-sight is even much lower. As someone asserted, [Social Media] is the new tinder.
But social media’s field-of-play is new and like every social space, there are rules, some of which frustrate its users. It's why, even in the middle of all the success stories, many people haven't had a success shooting shots online.
Overthinking is unhelpful because it often cripples you from taking action and makes the process even harder for you. The person you're planning to shoot your shot with is also a human being like you, so you should not spend so much time ruminating over whether or not to reach out or if you’ll be rejected.
Pick-up lines can be lame. They also come off as very mechanical and unoriginal. You certainly don't want to be thought off as a person who reads pickup lines off Google to approach people.
When you meet someone new, your heart beats faster, you want to immediately be closer to this person. We often mistake that for love and rush into making a confession immediately. It can be overwhelming for the other person who is now under the pressure of responding to a confession of affection from someone they barely know. They might also be in a relationship.
Start a conversation about something you believe is in their field of interest (judging from their timeline) and that you're genuinely curious about. If they're writers, you can engage them on a recent article they wrote. If they travel, it can about a recent place they travelled to. It can be as little as a compliment or as huge as a commentary on a trending issue. Do not be creepy about your complements though. Making comments about a person's beauty or sexiness can earn you a block.
The first conversation is usually an introductory conversation so don't push your luck too far by asking too many questions or delving into too many things. You still have a long time to know each other and ask those pressing questions. They also don't know what your mission is, so it's helpful to be as brief as possible. Once they show a lack of interest in the conversation either explicitly or implicitly, stop. You can also out-talk yourself into awkwardness, especially on the first attempt. You also can't convince someone into getting on with you if they don't.
It's social media! They're tweeting, posting, sharing because they want people to engage with their content. You also follow them because you want to know more about them. Engaging with their content provides you with that opportunity. Like, Reply/Comment, Share, Ask questions. This puts you constantly in their mind.
This person, if active online, ask questions or make demands. Like engaging, this is another opportunity to get closer to this person in a way that they find useful. If they tweet about needing a reading buddy and you also read, jump in. If they want to take a drive around Lagos and you find it interesting, make an offer. If they put up an article that they want to talk about, read it and engage.
Don’t fall for the pressure of doing something big to convince this person that you want to be friends with them. Leave the gifts and extravagant gestures for a time when you have gotten to know each other.
Don't leave things open-ended especially if you're trying to take things to the next level, a "What's your plan for this weekend? I'm watching X movie at the cinema and I'll love it if we can go together. Bills on me" is more specific than "Wanna hang sometime?"
I wish you success on your online shot-shooting. May the odds be in your favour.