Former American Idol winner Jordin Sparks just released a video for "Double Tap," her painfully topical ode to the incessant trolling of Instagram accounts by our passive and plugged-in generation, and it's worth a look.
With an up-tempo beat perfect for club dance-offs, a 2Chainz feature, and Sparks' overzealous (mis)use of selfies throughout the clip, the video could easily be dismissed as a banal take on the trivial ways in which we communicate and date online nowadays.
The lyrics: "Baby, on the low / You stay on my page cause I guess I'm your favorite / But you won't let it show, no way / If you like what you see then you gotta let me know / That you won't double tap that ho / That you won't double tap that ho." Right.
But once you get past the cringe-worthy double-entendres and standard Beats by Dre product placement, you find yourself confronted with an interesting and necessary conversation on the semiotics — that is, signs and symbols — and protocols we've devised for online communication. Y'know, these implied and inferred standards of online voyeurism which we faithfully observe…
Never like a pic older than a year
Only like up to three of the most recent pics once following someone you're interested in
As the song implies, never accidentally double tap when stalking someone's account late at night
Comment sparingly, and when you do, keep it enigmatic and comical — in my experience, Emojis and rap lyrics help
In essence, don't leave a trail and by God, never look thirsty. Stealth is key, for no like, unfollow, or comment is made in a vacuum — each is a purposeful and loaded gesture.
Sparks acknowledges all this when she belts those aforementioned lyrics, teasing a suitor's perceived passivity, while the video works in tandem to invert the idea, highlighting Sparks' suitor's true actions and feelings. The camera cuts to the guy, who's lurking on Instagram with his homeboys, and we are privy to his gut reactions to Jordin's selfies and fifteen-second Instavideos. In turn, the video shows the coaxing and prodding of those being looked at: with almost calculated precision, Jordin sends out (albeit inane) missives to pique some form of interest — clogging his timeline with images and petitioning the suitor to "hashtag something / show me you're a gangsta." No pic should go unnoticed, sir! Jordin isn't directly tagging him or DMing him these shots, but she might as well be.
And in this, Sparks' little ditty speaks to an evasion of feelings and intent that parades as indifference online but is an active (if rarely fulfilled) interest offline. While social media has allowed for an insatiable amount of access to anyone's comings and goings, there is still a barrier that keeps us from being direct beyond a DM. Even buttressed by a multitude of helpful apps that work to connect our desires with legions of corollaries, the video shows at times we still feel detached. Ugh: So close, but so far away.
Not necessarily a new narrative, but what's novel is how Jordin visually pans and parodies the phenomenon — especially once confronted IRL. Yes, the words are not as quick to come once face-to-face, which can stymie a connection or make it feel all the more real.
In the video, Jordin's online breadcrumbs lead her bae to a turnt houseparty where the singer has spent a good portion of the event online or twerking it out with 2Chainz.
By gravity's pull or sheer embarrassment, Jordin and bb boy gravitate towards one another on the dance floor and he's all like,"I know you from Instagram, right?" Bruh.
Since she's newly-single in real life and obviously headed in a new direction with her music, Jordin's "Double Tap" feels like the singer waded back into the dating pool since her messy break up with Jason Derulo — and has found a frustrating but illuminating pattern in how we interact and engage. What happens next, as the video alludes, is not up to smart phones but the users who (mis)handle them.
Watch the thirst unfold, below.
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.