Willing Rebounders Get New Tool on Facebook
Imagine that the girl you’ve got a crush on gets involved in a relationship a day before you get up the nerve to ask her out. Even though you’ve sat patiently at your computer, checking in on her Facebook page whenever possible, you just weren’t quick enough to act before some other Joe Somebody stepped in and did what you did not do and put the moves on her like Don Juan come-again.
Her new relationship unbeknownst to you, of course, you put on your shiny shoes, comb that half head of hair over with volume gel, spray on some Brute, and show up at her door to finally ask her out, only to find some Buff Bufferson there in your face shooting you the evil eye.
Talk about egg on your face; it’s like you fell face first into a henhouse.
If only there was an app to prevent such disaster…
Now, a new Facebook application called the Breakup Notifier alerts you via email of your FB friends’ relationship status changes.
This is a controversial app, to say the least, as it stands out as a little bit creepy in premise. Every time your “crush” changes his or her relationship status, you receive instant notification. This, of course, is something many people consider to be an invasion of privacy, but in reality it simply sends their public information over to you instantly.
If you’re already on their friends list, this is information you would be privy to as soon as you decided to check in; the difference here is that the info is sent to you via email as it happens.
Breakup Notifier was initially founded by Dan Loewenherz, supposedly as a joke, stemming from a conversation he overheard between his then girlfriend and eventual mother-in-law.
Loewenherz states about the conversation, “I heard [them] talking about a guy that they wanted to set up my fiancée’s sister with. And they were probably talking about it for at least 15 minutes and at the end of the conversation they were interested in looking at some photos of him on Facebook and so they went on Facebook and they immediately found out that he had a girlfriend. So at that point they were kind of bummed. And ... I thought maybe it would be cool if they would be interested in [being notified] when a relationship ended.”
This was the spark of creativity, the “flash of genius,” if you will, that led Loewenherz to create a software application called the Breakup Notifier. After only four hours of work, the program was launched on February 20 and over 10,000 people downloaded the app within a week.
However, not everyone was feeling the same enthusiasm about the Breakup Notifier. In fact, it received so much criticism for being flat-out invasive that Facebook quickly blocked it after its first week.
Loewenherz went back to the lab and reinvented his wheel, naming it the Crush Notifier, and changed its basic operations by differentiating between an unwilling stalker victim and one half of a mutual crush.
Instead of anyone receiving instant notifications about everyone’s relationship status, the Crush Notifier requires that people have a crush on one another before notifications are sent.
Shortly after the release of the gussied-up Crush Notifier, Facebook decided to unblock the Breakup Notifier, seemingly coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t that “creepy” after all – or, more likely, realizing that another popular app means more people buying Facebook credits.
Loewenherz and FB are now charging for both applications. By purchasing 50 Facebook credits, roughly $5, you can have the opportunity to follow five crushes with the Crush Notifier. And to monitor (stalk?) a friend’s relationship status via the initial Breakup Notifier, it will cost you around $1 per person, or 10 credits.
According to Loewenherz, feedback for the Crush Notifier is almost 100% positive, while the Breakup Notifier is still receiving mixed reviews.
In many ways, it is quite hard to understand what the issue is once you get over the fact that someone may be closely monitoring your relationship status with the intentions of pouncing on you like a rabid dog. Sure, that can be a little unsettling at first, but why do people bother posting and changing their relationship status if not so others can see it?
It is on par with fame-starved celebrities acting out for attention, begging the world to look at them, and then lashing out at a camera man when they’re having an “off” day and feeling as if their privacy is being violated.
From the outside looking in, it seems fairly illogical to want it both ways – to want to show your status to the world but then cry foul when someone monitors it a little too closely for your liking. But, then again, avid status changers on Facebook may not be your normal folk to begin with.
The Crush Notifier is safe and will remain so. The mutual “crushing” is something everyone can agree is kosher. The Breakup Notifier, however, remains a controversial piece of software, and its future is ultimately in doubt.
When speaking about the Breakup Notifier, Anne Hollonds, Chief Executive of Relationships Australia NSW stated that the app was "interesting because you could think of it as either completely creepy or actually really useful". [In] some ways it's possibly one of the most useful things that Facebook could do because, if that's what people are using Facebook for, some of them - is to keep tabs on a crush - then it certainly makes it a whole lot easier, doesn't it?"
But on the downside to this type of application, people being legitimately stalked via the web may not have the slightest idea.
The possible cure: keep your relationship status to yourself if you do not wish for people to know about it. Personal information is best kept personal if you wish it to remain that way.
And if you want to know about someone’s status, if they’re willing and ready to place it out there, the Breakup Notifier is the perfect piece of software to give you the heads-up when your crush is newly single and possibly ready to mingle.