My friend Erin barely looked up from her menu the other night as she confessed this to me, uttering the word "sub-Spotified" as if it was, well, a word. A trend. A thing.
"Explain," I urged.
Erin went on to tell me about Andrew, a guy she met on the dating site OkCupid back in April and saw sporadically through the season. I had heard about him before, though she had never seemed entirely committed to the idea of dating him, which, she would frequently point out, was a positive. To my understanding, they both enjoyed each other's company, but mutually agreed they were not interested in escalating the relationship into something more serious.
At this point, the two are virtually at each other's fingertips. First, they became friends on Facebook. Then they followed each other on Twitter, often tagging each other in tweets or retweeting the other's jokes. She accidentally added him on Snapchat even though she doesn't completely understand Snapchat. Andrew doesn't use Foursquare, but Erin checks in everywhere and pushes her check-ins to Twitter. They often "like" each other's Instagram photos.
At best, it's flirting. At worst, it's reinforcement that whatever you posted had actually been noticed, or read, or looked at. When two people who are signed up to access each other's goings-on in cyberspace, and both are frequent posters, you just tend to learn things.
It's a tale as old as time. Or at least, the last few years.
But sub-Spotifying? That's a new one. (The term stems from "subtweeting," or the act of tweeting about someone without tagging their Twitter user name in the message.)
Recently, Andrew and Erin followed each other on Spotify, the streaming music app that makes listening to music a social activity. Save opting to set their accounts to private session, they could, if they wanted to, see what music the other was listening to at any given time.
Spotify"Yesterday morning I saw he was actively listening to music," Erin explained. Still on an MTV VMA high, she had been listening to Miley Cyrus. The last time they went out Andrew suggested she listen to a particular band, so Erin chose to take that opportunity to play the album on Spotify, when there was a chance Andrew may notice her activity.
"We G-chatted about it," she told me, referring to the Google Talk instant messaging service. "And then we made plans for this weekend, but I felt like a ruse. Like, here's one more game we can all play to get someone's attention so we can avoid making the first move."
"I sub-spotified," she sighed, "and that's not even a thing."
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