Let's face it: Breakups suck.
But in the era of social media where Facebook friends morph within nanoseconds into real-time lovers, then descend just as quickly into frenemy territory, splits and their attendant issues now live on the World Wide Web for all your so-called "friends" to see and engage with. News about relationship difficulties, alleged infidelity, outright cheating, divorce battles, and garden variety breakups that used to reside in the private domain between two people and maybe a handful of close friends can be spread farther and faster than a rhinovirus in winter. Aided and abetted by web-based and wireless technology, breakups, dissing your ex, and nailing a cheating partner can get downright nasty.
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In the on-demand world of text messaging, moment-to-moment Twitter updates, blogging, instant messaging, email, and continuous RSS feeds, relationship vicissitudes can be logged, and by the same token, monitored, with the exacting precision of a military campaign. And with myriad computer software applications and websites, uncovering (and unloading) cheating, lying, two-faced lovers is as easy as a pointing and clicking.
Which all begs the question: Is technology changing the nature—and the frequency of—the breakup?
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Sixteen-year-old Amalia Rudnik, a dating newbie who's had two boyfriends break up with her on Facebook, says the "status" box where people indicate whether they're "in a relationship," "single," or "it's complicated," can easily be used as a weapon, as well as the "wall" on your profile page and the graffiti application.
"If you're friends with someone and you can see their profile, when they break up with someone everyone will know you've broken up—your whole network of friends will know." It's important, she says, to update your status after a breakup or friends will think you're still pining for the guy who broke up with you. It happened to her. While breakup No. 1 occurred offline, her ex changed his Facebook status right away to "single," while hers remained unchanged for hours: "You don't want to look like an idiot."