by: danah boyd
When American called me up to tell me i'd made Gold, i groaned. It was official - i spend too much time in airports. This is of course magnified by the fact that i spend too much time praying that the person sitting next to me is at least relatively sane, doesn't smell too badly, isn't carrying some sneezable illness and doesn't cry during takeoff.
Of course, i have had good experiences on flights. In fact, i've had great ones. When working for V-Day, i sat next to a woman interested in what we were doing. I told her all about what was going on and at some point, we exchanged business cards. She sent me a check for thousands of dollars to support the cause. Of course, what i'd really like is to have more great ones. I love running into people i know in the airport or finding other interesting humans. I will never forget when Jimmy popped up his iTunes to find that Clay was somewhere within the airport. Or when i Dodgeballed that i landed and found Iggy had too. Or when i plopped down next to Jesse Jackson. Strange moments.
Social software *should* be able to help but there are so many barriers to this. You need to articulate too much and who has time? Still, as broken as they are, i'm interested in exploring the tools that might lead to entertaining interactions or at least to the development of better systems to do so. One of the ones i'm curious about is AirTroductions. Yeah, it kinda has dating overtones to it, but i'm still curious if it'd ever work. At the very least, who else is en route to Etech or SXSW or IASummit when i have to imagine that lots of folks i know will be passing through the same airports in the next month. Anyone else willing to give it a try just to see?
Note: one of the options is: "someone who won't talk to me at all (I just want to read/sleep/work)." You don't have to be stuck sitting next to a chatty person even if you want someone to share a cab with at the airport. You also don't need to change your seats to use the service - i intend to use it just to find out who else is in the airport with me.