A new report from the Cultural Research Center finds that it’s pretty cool when a song mentions DMs.
The research team determined that when a song mentions “DMs”— the private messaging function of Instagram and technically Twitter though the report indicated no song is talking about Twitter DMs — it’s a neat reference to a shared cultural experience and specific phenomenon of 21st-century communication.
“It’s a bit like watching an old movie make a passing political or cultural reference that so abruptly dates it to the time it was made,” says researcher Dr. Shauna Katz. “But instead with a DM-mentioning song, it’s like it abruptly dates it to now.”
“When Megan thee Stallion raps, ‘Post a pic up on the ‘gram, then my DMs get boomin,’ it’s like okay Instagram, DMs, these are things I have experienced,” adds Dr. Katz. “Maybe not in this same Hot Girl fashion, but still, this is familiar territory.”
“These references also raise questions of how the Instagram age has impacted celebrity culture, demanding the self-curation and commodification of public individuals’ identities, and creating the messy bifurcation of celebrity on the Internet versus Internet celebrity,” Dr. Katz says. “But we didn’t super get into that because the question was if it’s cool and we found that yes it is.”
While the report focuses on the coolness of DM references, their findings suggest that DMs may be just the tip of the iceberg.
“I think we were all pretty amazed when we heard De La Ghetto rap, ‘Te bloquean de WhatsApp/Tiras por DM, por Facebook, por Snapchat,’” says Dr. Katz. “I mean, that’s a whirlwind of app-based communication, and there’s something humanizing about it. It’s like if songs were always talking about Pret A Manger sandwiches, you know? We’ve all been there.”
When asked what impact the team hopes the findings of the report will have, Dr. Katz reflected quietly before responding.
“Well, many people have suspected that it’s cool when a song mentions DMs, so maybe they can get some peace of mind knowing it’s totally true,” she says. “And as for all the creators in the music industry: keep sliding into those DMs, and keep writing about it. It’s pretty fun for us.”
Multiple sources agree this reference is going to age really well.