Let's talk about Shryne, the app that lets you 'archive' old relationships
These days, there seems to be an app for everything, but what about an app that doesn’t do anything so much as remembers everything? That’s the inspiration behind the Shryne app, which claims to serve as a digital/social storage network for all of your current and past relationships: a “safety deposit box for your digital memories.” Intrigued? Then read on.
Shryne works by compiling all of the digital evidence of a relationship into the app, and then filing that information into user profiles of every relationship, family, friend, or otherwise, you’ve ever maintained online. Users link social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, along with text histories and phone photos, to Shryne. The app sorts through all of that information to build relationship shrines (hence the name) around all of your shared communications. Users can then search directly for and through their interactions with the people they’re connected to, though all of that information is only accessible to users themselves.
That’s right — you’re the only one who can access your Shryne relationship archives. While that might seem like a good thing on the onset, as the privacy concern is very, very real for something as personal as private texts and photos, there’s something a little strange about keeping digital archives of every relationship you have, including presumably ones that are over. While you’re ostensibly keeping these records for the sake of preserving and searching through those memories, when the relationship you’re revisiting is over, the concern is that it can be used as a means of prolonging digital mourning, which is hard enough as it is.
Shryne could also complicate your current relationships. Mad at your partner and looking to point out a contradiction they made at any point in your conversations? That would be instantly available, but would it actually serve to solve whatever problem would’ve spurred that intention in the first place? There would be no forgiving and forgetting, which might sound like a good idea, unless somebody decides to do the same to you. But, the app has a built-in lock for keeping painful memories away — “freezing” temporarily hides relationship archives, providing an alternative to deleting unretrievable text histories. So there’s that.
To be clear, we don’t think Shryne is inherently bad or anything. In fact, the idea of a digital relationship archive isn’t so different from keeping a memory box filled with old letters and pictures. Still, with any new piece of technology, its full applications have yet to be teased out. The question remains, how will it make you feel?
(Images via iTunes.)