Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Does there have to be an app for that?

Weddings are generally public affairs, and they always have been.  I doubt it's ever been particularly difficult to find out who's planning a public wedding and when in a given area.  With the advent of online wedding planning it's now perhaps a bit easier yet, and if you're looking for a wedding to crash, well, there's an app for that.

Now, I'm with the author of the article in thinking that the kind of person who would use such a thing has -- how shall we say -- issues, but the flip side of that is, who's actually going to use it, as opposed to just having a laugh looking up one's friends and acquaintances?  Or more precisely, who's going to use it who wouldn't have been willing and able to crash a given wedding anyway?

In general, there's a lot of gray area when it comes to "enabling technologies", not to mention the larger sticky issue of to what extent technology can or should be considered without considering its potential consequences.  On the one hand, it's easy to say "The real problem is the wedding sites' privacy models.  The app just pulls together information that's already available."  But that's a cop-out.  As we've seen, pulling together information that's already available and making it universally accessible (if not useful) can make a significant difference.  Sometimes this is good, sometimes not, and just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be.

Just how much of a difference pulling together existing information and making it easy to get to can make depends on what the information is, how hidden it was, who wants to know and a host of other factors.  In this particular case, I doubt the app will make much difference.  That's not to condone wedding crashing, or the app, or to excuse its creators.  If your wedding is crashed by some tech-savvy boor who would otherwise have missed out, you have my sympathies, for whatever that's worth.

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