Yesterday I did a bit of Instagram research for another article I'm writing, which often means perusing many IG accounts, reading bios, etc. 

Little did I know that I would stumble upon a trend. 

Engaged and married folk are now posting a diamond ring emoji in their bio, adjacently placing the handle of their fiance. 

Like such...

Images: Instagram

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Yaaaas. It's apparently taking off, not completely on par with updating that Facebook relationship status to 'engaged' or 'in a relationship' just yet, but with millennials fading from Facebook, who knows when Instagram will come with its very own button to switch between statuses - all using emojis, obviously. 

I suggest: 

Diamond ring for engaged.

Heart for in a relationship. 

Broken heart for it's complicated.

And a tub of ice cream for single? 

Just jokes. Being single is fabulous. 

And what if the partner doesn't reciprocate and doesn't add their 'relationship indicator emoji' to their bio? 

Poo emoji? 

And then there is love (and online stalking) in the age of Instagram Stories.

The old anonymous Facebook stalk is outdated.

The new trend? Exes, love and/or sex interests are now 'orbiting' or hovering/lingering around, checking out one's social media pages. Specifically in the cases I want to talk about - in Instagram Stories.

Image: Giphy

If a day was lived, if an experience was had, was it ever real if not shared on Instagram Stories? On rotation 24 hours a day, clips shared as video or pictures of one’s day can be viewed on Insta by those who follow you, but also by those who don’t. That’s unless your account is private. 

Last year the feature made us all drop Snapchat. It also opened a gap for a new place for us to check in on or keep tabs on certain users.

Unfortunately, stalking here is not anonymous like on Facebook (unless you accidentally ‘liked’ that picture from April 2014 on his profile *cringe*).

So, a few months ago I was scrolling through my Stories, checking to see who had watched my latest post (which was probably a lift selfie) and BOOM!, my ex who blocked me on Facebook like seven years ago pops up. (He only blocked me, I believe, because he got married – not because I was begging for him to 'please love me again' #notaboutthatlife) 

So why check on my vibe?

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Similarly, my friend met a guy on Tinder recently, they chatted for a month and then met. He never texted her back after. Yet, what happens the next week? He slipped into her Insta Story views. Like, every, single, one.

WHY?! What does he think/feel/consider this will accomplish? 

Manrepeller.com recently dissected orbiting, and similar to ghosting (a dating practice where one’s date/hook-up becomes a mere figment of your imagination as he or she actively and intently removes themselves from your life, but overnight); orbiting means said date/hook-up steps out of your life, yet he/she can still be found in your orbit, circling like a quiet shark, i.e. mainly on social media. 

So is this the new dating deal? There won’t be a next date, but they will still know exactly, like exactly what you did that day. Creepy or does this point to his or her FOMO? Perhaps not trusting whether they made the correct decision to ‘let you go’/ drop you like a hot potato/ discard you like yesterday's paper. 

The Daily Beast wrote about social media and its effects on modern relationship in The New Dating Requirement: Consuming All of Your Partner’s #Content, saying “For most people, watching their partner’s Instagram Story is a way to show they care. Whether done consciously or unconsciously, it sends the message that you’re interested in what your significant other is thinking and doing.” 

But what if it's not a 'significant other', yet or any longer? It points to a culture of disposability, where responsibility, as such, is more negotiable than ever.

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Social media platforms like Instagram and dating apps like Tinder open up your world. With sometimes negative or positive consequences. Suddenly you have access to people not in your immediate circle, university or family that you can connect with. Or disconnect from. At a click, or a swipe, you are pretty free to explore different kinds of experiences with different people without any real attachment to them, even though you know what they had for breakfast, where they party and what their #OOTD is. 

Could orbiting also reveal that we actually do have a conscience? That even as superficial and disposable as a lot of these connections are, orbiting means we may care about the people we have discarded IRL. That maybe we haven't completely died inside? That's ghosters.    

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