Thursday, August 14, 2008

DOPPLR - a fascinating tool to enable serendipity

In 1996, I was wandering down a street in Kansas City when I unexpectedly ran into an old colleague of mine. It was a delightful encounter. We spent ten minutes or so catching up and reminiscing about great concerts we had attended together. I remember it now as if it happened yesterday.

This story may explain why I am in love with a new website called DOPPLR, which connects you and friends/colleagues and allows you to share information with them.

(I can hear you already. What, another social site? I'm already on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, seven Ning networks. Enough!)

DOPPLR's unique twist is that it allows you to share travel itineraries with your circle--something of exceptional utility if you travel much, and if members of your circle travel as well. It lets you know when members of your network are traveling to your town, or (coolest of all), when you and an acquaintance just happen to be traveling to the same place at the same time.

For example, even though I have a small circle in my DOPPLR network, I already learned of two folks who will be traveling to the same conference with me in San Francisco next month. This piece of information spurred me to email them and set up get-togethers.

I've discussed the benefits of networking again and again in this space. The new social tools allow you to keep up with a much larger circle of acquaintances. The catch is, since they're all virtual, they don't help much in actually getting together with members of your network if they're not in the neighborhood.

But DOPPLR does exactly that.

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