I’m currently sitting in the lobby of the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago…alone. I planned this trip a week ago and reached out to a few people, but aside from my business meetings, I have no concrete plans. I’m sure I’m not alone in this problem, which is why newly released app, Ribbon, is looking to solve it by connecting friends when they travel to cities or events. Ribbon states that all you need to do is tell it where you will be, and you’ll never miss a connection again. Ribbon turns your social network into a calendar with an interactive map, letting you see where your friends will be traveling next. Check it out:
As you can see in the video, Ribbon plans to back up this claim by connecting your Facebook friends with your future plans and determining if there is overlap. By organizing your Facebook friends into “Big Cities,” it’s easy for you to know what friends are where. Then it’s up to you to record cities you plan on traveling to and events you’re going to attend. Through the Ribbon feed, you’re able to see where your friends are going to be, too.
In my opinion, being able to sort what cities my friends are in is really useful. When I booked my flight to Chicago, I went to Facebook to see what friends of mine were there. You’d think I would know this, but it’s hard to keep track of everyone, and people change cities often during their twenties (at least my friends do). Unfortunately, Facebook makes it difficult to sort friends by city. So, I gave up. But when I add a trip in Ribbon, it immediately lets me know which of my friends are in Chicago. Talk about useful. However, it’s not without issues.
One, I still feel like I’m starting a new social network. Even though it pulls in my Facebook friend list, I have to invite friends to Ribbon and then share my plans via Twitter and Facebook. Why can’t I just send messages on Twitter and Facebook to see who will be in the future city/event? If they see the message, it’s likely they are my close friend, and there is a stronger likelihood we will meet up.
My second issue with Ribbon is connecting with friends who are going to the same event as I am. Typically, when I go to an event, I am part of a group, most likely made up of close friends. We specifically contacted one another to go to this event. If we were close friends and wanted to connect at the event, why wouldn’t I have originally invited them? When I meet people I know at events serendipitously, there is usually a startled, “Oh my gosh, you’re here too?” followed by obligatory small talk and a quick goodbye. Then, we’re off to do our original plan.
Even with my assumption that my close friends will find out where I am going to be in the future, I’m really interested in Ribbon. I think they have a really well-designed app, and I enjoyed navigating through it. I also like the visual marriage of my calendar with a map. The breakdown of which of my friends are in which city is by far the most useful feature to me. My question is this: Are missed connections on trips/events a strong enough problem that I need a separate app to fix it?