In general I’m a big fan of location based social networking applications. In many ways they sum up the worst of technology/the era we live in (minimizing someone to the point that they’re nothing more than a swipe left or right), but at the same time some apps can also be great ways to meet people.
Which brings us to MileHi, a new free app which is intended to allow you to “socialise and network with your fellow flyers.”
When you download the app you can add your flight and destination details, so you can see who else is flying on your flight/similar flights/around the same time.
The app is intended to allow you to “meet like-minded folk and chat.” They describe the purpose of the app as follows:
Meet like-minded people — Whether you want to uncover business networking opportunities, start the party early or just have a nosey at who’s flying you can quickly search and browse fellow flyers.
Join group discussions and polls — Join the conversation before during and after your flight to share your thoughts, discuss holiday ideas and meet new friends. Polls and prompters help get the conversation started.
Chat with new found contacts — Found someone interesting? You can private message and chat with new found friends using the chat system. Build a network of fellow Milehi users and stay in touch whenever you like.
According to the developers, MileHi can be for business users, singles, party goers, and holiday makers.
I figured I’d download the app and give it a shot. The app is brand new, and not surprisingly the issue as of now is that there aren’t many users. So you’re basically entering in your flight details, and your chances of finding someone else on your flight are slim to none.
For example, I’m the only one “registered” on a BA flight I made up. And if the “sample” flight they sign everyone up for is accurate, it seems they only have ~835 users so far.
Meanwhile the chat forum for that flight is just riveting…
Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t see how this will ever be useful:
- You’d have to build up incredible mass for this to be useful, and I don’t see an app like this ever having enough users so that you actually have at least a handful of people per flight using it.
- Even so, it seems they’re going after distinctly different markets here. What exactly is a “business user” who wants to “network” going to have in common with a college guy headed to EDC? I realize most location based social networking applications would gladly admit that “networking” is in quotation marks with a winky face next to it, but here they actually seem to be encouraging just about everyone to use it.
- If there’s something specific you’re looking for, just about any other networking application would also work at an airport, so I guess I don’t see the unique selling proposition of this in comparison to a “generic” app, especially if it doesn’t have some sort of critical user mass.
This is an interesting concept in theory, though I’m not sure what’s unique about it in practice. Without hundreds of thousands of users, your odds of ending up on the same flight as someone else are slim to none. And that doesn’t even begin to address the fact that even if you are, you may very well have nothing in common with the person you’re “linked” with, given that they’re trying to go after just about everyone with this app.
What do you make of the new MileHi App? Would you use it?