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Web Exclusive: Get "social" before arriving at your next event

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(CNN) - Ever walk to into a wedding reception or a party without knowing anyone else in the room? What if your online connections helped connect you with the crowd before you arrived? There's a new trend called "social seating."

For Dan Berger, inspiration came from attending a wedding.  I wanted to see where the cute girls were. I didn't know where anyone else was going to be, it was a destination wedding.  So I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if I saw a published seating chart before I got to the wedding?"  

That thought evolved into social tables, his Washington-based startup working its way into the event planning business.  "Do everything from manage their guest lists, to the floor plans for events, to the seating charts. And the cool part is we let guests interact with each other before or after, based on where they're seated," says Dan Berger, Social Tables Founder & CEO.  
That last part is what puts "social" on the "table." 

The platform draws data about guests from their social networks, so planners can seat people with common interests together, hopefully trading awkward icebreakers for more meaningful conversations.  Planners can publish a guest list before the event to give a head start on the "getting to know you process."  

For those who feel that's too much information too soon, there's the option to publish the list after the party too, which Berger says more people seem to be opting for, even though he sees online and offline worlds merging.

"Nowadays our online identity is the same as our real-life identity. And we need bridges between those two identities, because of the fact that we spend so much time online," says Berger.  Meaning as more people get more social, all that time online could potentially turn into more face time.  

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