From data-driven profiling to intelligent seating, social media is letting travelers make a different kind of connection
Until recently, serendipity has determined many of the personal connections we make in our lives, especially on the road. But with the evolution of social media, which is now integrating some of the techniques employed by online dating platforms, flying on business is about to be transformed.
There are now sites that use algorithms to match you with a seating partner on a plane, find someone to have dinner with in a foreign city or share a taxi with to your hotel from the airport.
Using the Internet to engage with like-minded people is not especially new, with frequent travelers sharing opinions, tips and trip plans on forums, review sites and their own blogs. For a lot of travelers, though, the thought of some technologically-predestined encounter with a stranger can still be a little creepy.
Nonetheless, Ben Hammersley, Internet technologist and editor-at-large of Wired ired UK magazine, thinks it is time we stopped pped trying to separate ourselves from our virtual lives and, instead, embrace the opportunities that the web can give us.“We have to get over the idea that relationships are somehow superior when you can lean over the table and poke that person in the eye,”he says.“It doesn’t matter that they are not physical. Even the majority of‘ reallife’ relationships are mediated through technology.”