Dopplr takes a lead in social networks

Dopplr_logo_3 The thing about traveling a lot is that friends cease to believe in your existence.  In the 1990s, I would meet someone in the street in Toronto (then my home town) and they would say, "Hey!  Grant!  What are you doing here?"

It’s no good saying, "I live here," because your friends have hard empirical evidence that this is not true.  They haven’t seen you in a month or so.  They haven’t seen anyone who’s seen you.

Networks take renewal.  And the node that’s you on the net…it stopped blinking some time ago.  The vibrations that eddy back and forth are now quiet. 

Your friends can see you standing there before them, but they prize their network intelligence more surely than the evidence of their senses.  Their eyes might deceive them.  The hum of the network, never!

Saved by technology.  Now, Dopplr gives us a way to keep track of one another on line.  If you give me permission, I can see the map that describes your movements for the next 30 days or so.  If we are going to be in London at Russell Davies’ Interesting2007 in June, it will tell me so.

So far, Dopplr maps show only one person on the map at once.  But eventually, when capacity ramps up, the Dopplr map will show me everyone in my network, all those people engaged in all those projects skipping about the globe, color coordinated for easier management. 

And yes, it will make a difference to those face-to-face encounters in the streets of my home town.  I will see "Richard" standing there before me, but unless I have been tracking him on line, he will be a pale and ghostly presence, the poor man who exists only in the real time and space.

There are lots of social networking plays out there at the moment: Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, to name a few.  I believe that the first one to create a really good "cloud" that gives us a way visually to monitor and manage our connection wins.  Advantage, Dopplr. 

Post script:

Dopplr is pretty new and it is for the moment a "by invitation" network only.  But hey, you’ve got to someone who belongs.  Use your network.   (Hillary is right: It takes a network to build a network.)


Thanks to Pip Coburn and Jerry Michalski for the head’s up.   

8 thoughts on “Dopplr takes a lead in social networks

  1. steve

    This seems like a good source for blackmailers, kidnappers, litigators, and IRS agents.

  2. Mayo

    Hi Grant,
    If you have any invites to pass on to a total stranger (on who’s network you appear, even if you don’t know it), I’d be most grateful – I’d love to give Dopplr a spin.
    Either way, see you at Interesting2007, whether I come up on your radar or not!

  3. Brian Kenny

    We will not see Case Managers attempting extraordinary rendition using this service. Independent plane spotters will still be needed to track aircraft bort numbers.

  4. Peter

    I doubt, too, that adulterers will be among the early adopters of this service (unlike, say, the mobile phone).

  5. Peter

    On the subject of Web2.0 — The financial news company, Reuters, are currently trialling a social network aimed at small and medium sized business people, linking SMEs together and with Reuters’ own journalist staff around the world. The service is called Insight, currently available for free trial from:

    Having enrolled with the service, it strikes me that it will be most useful for business people who need to find information they don’t currently know — ie, middle managers. Top execs have people below them to find stuff out — if indeed, top execs ever use information when making decisions!

  6. Anoop

    Greetings, long time listener first time caller : ) I have been trying something similar Plazes which might interest you/your readers. I’d love to get an invite for Dopplr.

    Plazes >

  7. Ombre

    Check out, a social planning tool where you can track who goes to which events and makes which (city) trips in the main European cities.

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