Sunday, April 05, 2009

Social networking on the fly

For those who are not contend with chalking up "friends" online, now you can boost your tally offline as well. A service called Satisfly aims to seat frequent flyers in an "intelligent" way by mining passenger data so that they end up sitting next to somebody with whom they have something in common - whether it's a preference to fly in silence, to engage in non-stop chatter, or a mixture of both.

Satisfly combines information mined from a variety of public forums (e.g. Facebook, Dopplr and Xing) with the airline's passenger data and the passenger's own choice of four travelling behaviours - "business networking", "social networking", "business alone" and "relax alone", and its software determines whether you and your neighbours are compatible.

The downside of this is that frequent flyers may become pigeonholed and stuck in little silos with people who eat the same food, listen to the same music, vote for the same party and share the same faith. Perhaps what we need is to learn to accept differences, even if this means a bad flight from time to time.


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