“Zuckerberg sometimes amused himself by conducting experiments. For instance, he concluded that by examining friend relationships and communications patterns he could determine with about 33 percent accuracy who a user was going to be in a relationship with a week from now. To deduce this he studied who was looking which profiles, who your friends were friends with, and who was newly single, among other indicators.”
– David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect
As if Facebook wasn’t enough of a magnet for stalky creepersons, a new application can send your relationship status updates straight to the inbox of your possible secret admirer. The Breakup Notifier app lets users select the friends they want to monitor and, whenever the friend changes their relationship status on Facebook, it sends an e-mail notifying the interested party.
"You like someone. They’re in a relationship. Be the first to know when they’re out of it," says the tagline on the app’s website.
Program developer Dan Loewenherz, 24, said it took him just about four hours to build the application. He launched the app and its website Saturday, and in the resulting 36 hours the site has been visited more than 700,000 times and the app has been downloaded by 40,000 people. He explained the idea to the Huffington Post in an email:
I got the idea on Friday night when my fiancee and her mom were talking about a guy to set up with my fiancee’s sister. Unfortunately, said guy was taken…so I asked them if they would want to get notified when he broke up. It was kind of a joke actually, but they loved it, and so on Saturday I spent about 4 hours building it out. I didn’t really tell anyone until yesterday.
I hope that people use it for good and not evil–it’s merely practical. If you’re going to check someone’s profile every day, you might as well get rid of the tedium and have the changes get delivered right to your inbox instead. When people don’t list their relationship status, Breakup Notifier reads it as "Unknown". So if someone changes, you’ll get an email like the following:
Joe Shmoe has changed his relationship status to "Single" from "In a relationship". Get on it!
The Breakup Notifier"
"I was blown away," Loewenherz said. "This weekend, I just thought it would be a fun thing to do. It was going to be a little joke, I was going to send it to some friends… but I think people really like this idea. I just didn’t intend it to be this big."
The app is currently free, but Loewenherz said that given the tool’s popularity, he might begin to charge users for the service. Imagine that – someone getting rich off letting other people know when you break up with your BF/GF. Irrefutable sign of the apocalypse #5919124? It’s very possible…