In my opinion and experience: Yes, yes it has.
I am very active on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and I have noticed an increase in the amount of my “friends” and followers who respond to what I post and then decide to chat me. Obviously, this is what social networking sites are for, but what strikes me about the recent attack on my inbox is that these people who are messaging me are guys I either haven’t spoken to in years or actually haven’t spoken to ever. I’ve known them in possibly an academic setting or through other friends, but we have absolutely no social relationship to speak of, and they are suddenly, out of the blue, messaging me, attempting to strike up a friendship, but going about it in the weirdest ways possible.
I know that this isn’t just happening to me.
Many of my female friends have told me about guys we knew from high school who have randomly chatted them, asked for their numbers, etc. My automatic instinct is to block these guys from my chat, as I don’t feel like having random conversations with people who I have actually known (or at least known of) for years, but who had made absolutely no effort to speak to me in real life. However, one of my friend responds to all of the guys who message her (for reasons beyond my knowledge), and after giving into these asinine conversations where she ultimately exchanges phone numbers, she is finally sent the one thing these guys think she wants to see: the dick pic. It just baffles me that guys can be so forward when speaking through technology, yet if we ran into them in person, they probably would avoid eye contact.
I also say this based off of personal experience. I actually saw a guy who is extremely active on my Facebook (I refer to him as my number one fan to all of my friends), and I saw him out in public and he didn’t even look my way. I wasn’t looking for a conversation with him, but it was just odd that there wasn’t even a basic acknowledgement of my existence in the real world, yet online an unknowing third party would think we were the best of friends. Another time, I received a love letter over Facebook from a guy who I had class with months prior, but he had never once attempted to speak to me without the shield of technology.
It seems that social networking has opened up the gates for semi-anonymity; we know who these guys are and that they exist, but since they don’t exist outside of the internet, they’re still a mystery to us. People (not just guys) now have the option of being rejected over the internet, rather than face-to-face, so the blow is far less harsh and this is giving everyone a newfound sense of confidence and and excuse to be extremely forward with those of the opposite sex.
For those of you who think I’m just calling out men here, I am well aware that this is true with women also.
These such women are an anomaly to me; I will never understand their desire to expose themselves in such ways (some rather disturbing ways) to relative strangers. In a way, I guess I have to admire anyone’s willingness to put themselves out there and subject themselves to possible rejection and embarrassment. But, in another way, I’m a woman who prefers to meet a man face-to-face, and not just receive a picture of his penis on my phone.