Couchsurfing and Networking

I was familiar with couchsurfing as a term for finding couches to sleep on, usually during travels. But I wasn’t aware of As the name suggests, its a web service connecting couchsurfers with couches and with those willing to lend them.

It turns out that it’s rather more than that. It’s also a social network. Moreover, an article in Good magazine (via Reddit) makes the argument that Couchsurfing is one of the more impressive social networks. I tend to agree with the statement that “the utopian promise of internet networking—the ability to leap across the previously inviolable social boundaries of school or town or country or culture—is far from being met… we’re not really finding new people to connect with; we’re talking to the people we already know.”

In contrast, Couchsurfing seems to have fostered many new relationships spanning social boundaries, particularly country boundaries. Its interactions include meeting in person in the home of one of the people involved. That sounds deeper than a thrown sheep or a 140-word tweet (and yes, I do find it hard to resist digs at Facebook and Twitter, and Digg for that matter).

The article isn’t only about the upside of Couchsurfing. Nevertheless, it does support its conclusion. “CouchSurfing, for all its problems, might well be an example of an online social network that actually works.”

To Logan and Beyond

I’m writing this on an American Airlines flight from Boston to San Diego. The flight hasn’t been too bad so far, even though I’m in cattle class and they apparently don’t feed the cattle on domestic flights these days. (I’m now posting from the hotel.)

The toughest part of the day was getting to Logan. I was hoping that this would mean a short car ride to Forest Hills T, then Orange line to State, then Blue Line to Logan. My wife was indeed kind enough to drive me to Forest Hills, but, due to roads closed for the Roslindale Parade, it took about half an hour and many detours to travel a couple of miles. So we weren’t among the people enthusiastic about the parade.

Orange to State actually meant Orange to Ruggles. Due to construction on the line, the train stopped there, and we got on a bus to Back Bay.

So, Back Bay to State for the Blue? No. An announcement told those of us going to Logan not to bother with the Blue, but to get off for the Red, then get on to the Silver. I did.

After all that, I got to the airport rather later than I’d hoped, and pleased that I’d been able to check in online. Uncle Sam seems to find me less suspicious these days; until recently, I always had to check in at the airport with staff.

So I did the usual shoeless shuffle through security. The highlight was the venerable lady whose water bottle was detected. When the security guy told her that he’d have to take the bottle, she told him that if it meant that much to him he was welcome to it.

We’ll be late in to San Diego, having detoured to skirt a storm system. What kind of wimps are we? I’ve been on a plane that was struck by lightning before, and I’m sure I could survive it again.