A London service – Directionless Enquirers – shows what you can do if you mix social networking, mobile and Internet voice a web site with people’s innate interest in helping one another.
Essentially what they want to do is replace soulless direction sources with real people helping real people.
What’s interesting to me is not the directions – but the whole range of secondary, and very useful information that can, and likely will be provided by linking 2 people. The inevitable result of a call will be more than directions – but likely include recommendations of other things (restaurants, plays stores etc) the seeker in interested in. And the power of those recommendations will much higher than a side bar advertisement – both because its delivered by a trusted source (otherwise I wouldn’t trust the directions) and it’s based on what’s explicitly shared during the conversation.
It’s the promise of real-time and personal connection that is mediated by the web that I find most exciting about this application. This service may not be successful, and there are certainly a number of issues that come to mind – but the insight at people might speak to complete strangers (as they might on the street) when the connection is mediated by a web service is a valuable step toward new web applications including one that has applicability to media – social marketing.