Dopplr – social travel network

I received an invite through one referral or another to check out Dopplr. How to describe? A trip sharing mechanism where I can post — to a select network of fellow Dopplr travelers — my itineraries in the off-chance someone wants to meet-up, toss back a cold one, offer up a couch.

My network is tiny — indicative of a beta program — and consists solely of Stowe Boyd and a Lenovo colleague. There is an “invite a friend” function that looks at Facebook contacts and Gmail for other members, so I just spammed the Venn diagram between my Facebook associates and other Dopplr beta users to see if some social value can begin to be generated.

Some other more gregarious types may crave a meeting or meal while on the road, and I am no exception, having used the weekly “whereabouts” post to alert friends and business contacts of my location and plans, sometimes with fortuitous results. But there seems to be a more useful application that I’m not grokking. From the FAQ:

What is Dopplr?

Dopplr is an online service for frequent travellers. It lets you share your future travel plans with a group of trusted fellow travellers that you have chosen. It also reminds you of friends and colleagues who live in the cities you’re planning to visit. You can use the service with your personal computer and mobile phone.”

I’m basically looking for a structured microformat to replace the weekly “whereabouts” post and enable a gadget on this blog, as well as on my other online touchpoints — Facebook profile, LinkedIn, even, dare I admit, Lotus Notes calendar. Alas, the last one will happen when hell freezes over, but nevertheless, with an open API and a smart invitation-only beta, Dopplr might catch on.

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