Ticketmaster are in the process of enhancing their interactive seat maps so that people buying tickets and going to events can see which of their Facebook friends are going to events and where they are sitting. Facebook members can now connect their accounts to view a Facebook-infused event seat map that highlights where friends are sitting with miniature Facebook flags.
To me, this is really cool. Being a bit of a music fan, I regularly attend concerts, and it’s quite a common occurrence to see numerous Facebook status updates from friends along the lines of “sooo excited about seeing [band or sports team name] this weekend at [venue]”. A flurry of comments and messages generally ensues, with promises of meeting up beforehand to have a couple of beers, but more often than not these plans fall apart due to the friends being seated the other side of the venue and the whole exercise becomes rather futile. Likewise I often see updates from people saying how much fun they’d had the night before, and then lots of comments to the effect of “We were there too! Shame we didn’t know, haven’t seen you guys in ages”. This may now be a thing of the past.
If you sign in with Facebook Connect, you will be shown a list of which friends are attending an event while you browse for seats on Ticketmaster. You can also see where they are sitting, and therefore plan your purchases accordingly. Once you have bought tickets to an event, you can then tag yourself in your seats and have this appear on Facebook so your friends know you are going [It must be pointed out that there are privacy filters available for this option, so you don’t necessarily have to tell the whole world your plans].
There’s a much better explanation of how this works in this video (via Mashable):
Besides connecting you with your friends who you weren’t aware were attending a concert, it also makes group buying so much easier. I remember from my younger days many instances where a number of us would plan to go to a concert together. Now, we all had the means to pay for our own tickets, but rarely did one person have enough money in their bank account to stump up for 10-15 tickets at once. Vendors also placed a cap on how many tickets one household could purchase in an effort to avoid scalpers. So what normally happened was that we’d end up scattered across a venue or in small clusters if someone’s parents had been kind enough to do the leg work and buy 4 or 5 tickets at once.
The interactive seat maps experience will now help Facebook users see where their friends are sitting, purchase nearby tickets, tag themselves into their seats, nudge the other members of their group of friends to do the same and enjoy an event together, rather than in social isolation.