Memosphere2009. 4. 2. 11:16
It is 7:20 p.m. and your phone beeps in your pocket

It is 7:20 p.m. and my phone beeps in my pocket.

"Your date is three stations away, interested? Push YES or NO" Sure! I tap "YES" and a cute girl pops up on a tiny screen. As I change subways heading to Gangnam station where my surprise date is waiting for me, I am reminded that I subscribed for an evening date alert service last Friday. 

In fact, there is no such service currently active in Korea yet but it would be one of the most intriguing scenarios DUO and other dating service providers in Korea could play with, capitalizing on GPS sensors now ubiquitous among latest mobile handsets.

A conventional online dating routine goes like this; you subscribe for a service after filling in your profile and a list of desired properties you'd expect from an ideal date. You get an alert and the date is finally arranged -- or not. 

Problems with such service is that it feels so plain obvious and contrived that you get no romantic surprise you've been fantasizing about from a perfect date. Truth is everyone anticipates a dose of serendipity when it comes to meeting his or her mate. 

Location based service or LBS as illustrated above would be an ideal solution to give subscribers an illusion of serendipitous romantic encounter.

Practical application of LBS on the mobile platform is well on the way and SK Telecom, Korea's top mobile service provider, has experimented with a wake-up call -- the phone alerts a subway passenger as the train approaches his or her pre-set station. It was very popular among those who tend to miss their stop while dozing off after a grueling day. Strangely, however, no carrier has so far attempted to use it for romantic application despite the intriguing possibilities of LBS.

For every chance meeting entails a risk of bumping into a moron though -- that is the risk you will have to stomach if you are willing to get exposed to such a tryst. Some dose of control and intervention would be inevitable to ensure safety in the serendipitous encounter. Hence we have a new oxymoron here; controlled serendipity.

DUO, for instance, maintains an arcane multi-layered matching system about its members that it built upon with their initial profiles. The bottom line is that DUO guarantees identity and reputation of its registered members with an option to upgrade to a premium membership. 

If you are going to get a mobile alert about a surprise date selected from a carefully groomed pool of guys and girls, bingo! You get both security and thrill, or controlled serendipity. 

I have been always reluctant to embrace RSS, Google's Web History or any widget that purports to turn up results that would pander to my unique taste. Would anyone in their right mind eagerly put themselves on the set of the Truman Show? I am what I am since I've been exposed to countless chance encounters and Black Swan moments over several decades of my life. I would be dreaded to know if my life is the result of a series of prearranged exposures in a carefully produced environment. 

In short, I am against any thing that hinders my discovery on the way and joy of serendipitous encounters with the wonders of life. 

However don't you hate to get infected with malicious viruses or get your identity snatched away by some online con artists despite the fact that you enjoy on line search and surprise discovery? 

Here comes the controlled serendipity again. Properly applied, it would vastly enhance the joy of Web-surfing as much as it would make mobile LBS applications exciting. 

Cutting through the obvious, a superbly designed controlled serendipity will lower your online dull factor by several clicks without necessarily turning you into a victim of an online scam.

Posted by PSB

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