Friday, February 24, 2012

Workplace Trends: Seating By Social Media Profile

If you're a frequent business traveler -- and oh how fun that is these days -- then you've had to sit next to a few less-than-desirable seatmates over the years. But your seating woes could soon be over, because a European airline has come up with the ultimate solution: Being able to pick and choose your seatmates based on their social media profiles!

Now the guy in Seat 3A can remind you a lot of...well, you...with his interest in triathlons, his hatred of Katy Perry songs, and his love of dogs.

Dutch airline KLM is rolling out something called "Meet and Seat," because everything needs a catchy name in the age of relentless, in-your-face branding and this is the next wave, people. You are free to surf about the passenger list. Via Technorati:
KLM has rolled out a program called 'Meet and Seat', allowing confirmed passengers on its flights to connect to and put on display their social network profiles, so others can go online and determine whether or not they want to sit next to them. KLM hopes by surfing someone's social status updates, it's passengers can create more meaningful mini 'meet-ups' and avoid personality conflicts, particularly when the flight is a lengthy one.

Great. Now everyone can feel like they're back in high school -- snubbed, ignored and awkward as hell. Everyone line up against the wall, because we're picking teammates seatmates. Of course, one doesn't need "Meet and Seat" to feel awkward; just walk onto any aircraft with small children in tow and no one will want anything to do with you. Oh thank God, she passed my row. She's someone else's problem. Yay! Been there, done that. It's like being Hester Prynne, only with a scarlet "M" for "mom." Hey, kid haters: Do you think it's fun to fly with small children? No, it's not. It's one of life's most stressful experiences, and we parents (well, most of us...) are doing the best that we can in a tin can that is a foreign environment for anyone, much less someone who weighs 40 pounds and isn't a model. Trust me, we want to get there more than you do.

But back to my main point, which is: Will this trend expand to other airlines, thereby offering frequent business travelers a way to pick and choose their seatmates? Will business travelers see an emerging business opportunity -- e.g., this fellow traveler works for Company X and I've been trying to land its business for five, long years now? Are there any privacy issues here? Will festival social media seating become a nightmare? Will companies think, "Why aren't we doing this at the office, too?" Actually, I can totally see the deskmate-based-on-tweets thing happening as a way to spur productivity amid today's trendy open office plans. And who will pen the future business article "Five Ways To Get the Most Out of Social Media Seating?"

We'll see. Chances are, you still won't want to talk to your seatmates, however, because then you won't be able to re-ignore them all the way to your final destination. The first rule of business travel is not opening the door to long-winded conversation. But at least you'll rest assured knowing your seatmates also like Pinterest, have roughly the same number of followers on Twitter and went to an Ivy League college. You'll still need to check your bag at the gate, though, because it won't fit in the overhead bin. Social media doesn't offer the solution for that yet, unfortunately.

1 comment:

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