How to Meet New People with IFTTT

Eagle Creek luggage at O’Hare Airport ORD

Have you ever wondered how to meet new people who are influential in your particular industry?

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you may have noticed some weird airplane symbols. You may have even noticed some of our mutual friends doing the same thing.

What is that about, you ask? Good question. Let me explain.

A few years ago I heard a great talk by Wil Reynolds at SES New York in which he espoused the benefits of IFTTT (If This Then That), an automated service that ties the Internet together using “recipes.” In order to meet new people of various industries, Wil would use IFTTT to trigger an email whenever someone Tweeted or posted their arrival in Philadelphia using the name or airport code of PHL. That way he could see if someone influential was close, and then he’d reach out with an invitation for a drink. Smart.

During flights to other cities or countries, I started marking up my Tweets and posts with the airplane emoji (✈️) and airport codes (e.g., MDW). And oddly, it kinda worked! Even though scant few of my friends were using IFTTT with Wil’s recipe, I began receiving text messages from folks in each destination city.

It would be awesome if everyone had similar nomenclature for travel. That way we could meet up in cities all over the place.

Here’s how you can get started:

  1. When traveling, post to Twitter or Facebook with your originating and destination airport codes or city names. Separate them with a travel emoji such as the airplane (✈️), train, bus, or automobile.
  2. When at home, create an IFTTT recipe to track influential people against airport codes and cities in your area. When they post on Twitter or Facebook, the recipe should automatically email you so you can arrange a a meet-up.

Pro tip: you can access a Mac emoji picker with the key combination control+command+space.

I’d love to meet up with you, too. Feel free to track my travels on Twitter or Facebook.

Calibrating Toward Travel

Pagoda at West Lake in Hangzhou

Some folks might say that I have wanderlust. Who knows, maybe that’s true.

Colin Wright recently wrote the following about prioritizing travel in your life:

Calibrating toward travel is really about recalibrating away from things that are less important to you. It’s about prioritizing the freedom of movement and exploration, rather than spending all of your time, money, and other resources on the perceived security of possessions and locked doors.

Well said. I think this is very true for me both as an aspiring minimalist and destination aficionado.