Forget swiping right! Social media’s original flirting method is cool again

Gather round, young ‘uns, because you mightn’t remember how we social media elders started out. When using Facebook became popular around 15 years ago, you’d often receive a notification informing you that you have received a virtual Poke.

Sometimes it was a sort of “hey, thinking of ya!” from folks you haven’t spoken with in a while. Other times it could have been a reminder – a prod – from the impatient asking “hey, why haven’t you replied to my message or responded to my wall post?”

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Perhaps most often, it was used for flirting. It was a playground-esque playful push of a person you fancied. This was way before swiping right on a person when using a dating app just outright told them you fancied them. Millennials played it a little more coyly than Gen-Z.

However, times have moved on and in the 2020s going around poking people – even virtually – isn’t really considered the done thing. And the almighty swipe gesture has since removed all mystery from the digital courtship.

However, the old Poke has received a new lease of life, and Facebook is here for it.

In a post on Threads, the company revealed there has been a 16x uptick in poking over the last month. Users are once again being poked left right and centre. Gen-Z is even getting in on the act now, with the majority of new Pokes being spent out by 18-29 year olds, Facebook says. Amazing. This is almost like that time they all discovered what cassette tapes were.

Facebook writes: “THE POKE IS HAVING A MOMENT. There’s been a 13x spike in poking on Facebook in the past month. So, be honest: who’s poking who?”

So why? Well, as TechCrunch recently reported, there has been a design change at Facebook that pushes the Poke button to a more visible place within the UI. Poking never went away, it appears, it was just harder to find.

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