In what might be one of the more interesting examples of how the social graph and our social identities are becoming more manifest in the real world, consider this story reported in USA Today:
The long of the short of the item is that coming soon, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will launch a 'meet and seat' service that will allow passengers of the airline to connect their social media accounts to the check-in process and choose seats for their flights in part based on the social profiles of their fellow passengers. If you have flown recently you know the drill, online check-in for most airlines now allows the passenger to choose their seat from a visual depiction of the aircraft showing all available seats. Now, at least on KLM, it seems like passengers will be able to mouse over seat 17B and take a look at the Facebook profile of their fellow traveler. The window or aisle seat debate just got a little more interesting.
Of course this socially-powered seat selection process will be optional, and opt-in only. It's creepy enough to be stalked on Facebook itself, ('Poke'), never mind getting caught up in a middle seat on a Transatlantic fight next to a Facebook oversharer or worse.
But there are some interesting implications for this kind of combination of insight from the social graph with a real world and mundane process. The idea, beyond just the PR angle, seems to be the creation of a better experience for those passengers that decide to opt-in to the socially connected seating scheme.
Who doesn't have a story about an interesting opportunity from a seemingly random meeting on a plane? And on many of the well-traveled and popular business routes, making connections and ferreting out business deals is practically an art form.
Beyond selecting seats for a flight, I wonder what other use cases there might be for these socially-aware applications? Maybe for a student considering what classes to take with what professors or perhaps what networking or social events to attend?
How about when considering a new job?
Wouldn't it be cool to see a visual depiction of the office, locate your potential cube or desk, and do a little 'hover-over' on your potential colleagues and neighbors and see what they are up to on Facebook?
What do you think - will the integration of the social graph ever influence employment choices in that overt a manner?
Have a Great Weekend!