People have been avoiding (and hiding from) exes and have lacked the courage to end relationships the traditional way for ages. But in the digital world it can seem more abrupt as the constant communication and feed of information about their life—via Facebook, Twitter, texts and other methods—dries up immediately and without warning.
Some wonder, though, if the technological way of meeting people today—through apps and sites like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match and OK Cupid—removes part of the human connection. Rather than working up the courage to ask someone out, you pick them from a catalog, and if it doesn't work out, there's a near endless stream of other potential mates to choose from just one swipe away.
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It's an accusation that even some people behind some of those sites say is hard to argue with.
"In the real world, you have to make an effort when you go out, work up the nerve to approach someone you're interested in and be charming and personable," said Michael Manes, founder of Mixxxer, an app for no-strings-attached sexual connections. "With Mixxxer, you find lots of people at once and pick a bed partner with little effort, and some might argue that this can create a social disability in regards to future relationships."
Another seemingly new social app-driven behavioral change—mirror investing—isn't as new as it might seem. Started in the early 2000s, it has seen its usage slowly grow, with dedicated sites letting you link your trading account to that of another person.
The immediacy is new, but that's simply a refinement of an age-old market practice: following the moves of a successful trader in hopes of emulating their success.