It occurred to me as I moved to Denver that despite all the tools we can use to bridge the communication gap, physical location and personal communication still plays a role in our behaviour and preferences.
When I attended my first Mile High Social Media Club meeting, I was shocked at the number of people who had heard of or were using sponsor Filtrbox. As it turns out, it’s a Boulder startup, so more likely than not the brand awareness was a result of personal recommendation and trust.
I had another experience with this recently, when I found out that dynamic panel moderator Micah Baldwin at the Thin Air Summit works for Lijit (another Boulder-based company.. sense a pattern here?) I had installed Lijit months ago, and then removed it. All the kindly worded emails inquiring about my dissatisfaction from their.. sales? support?… staff went unanswered. Yet just that association of brand with a real person standing in front of me caused me to take another look at their product, and it’s now back on my blog.
We speak of social media and marketing being about trust and reputation. I recognize that I instinctively place more trust in people I’ve met in person – my A-List on google reader illustrates this clearly – I have met almost everyone on my A-List in person. Their opinions mean more to me because we have some shared context beyond the words they write. Arguably, too, the fact that I would feel comfortable asking any of them for clarification on something they wrote means that I am more actively engaged and more capable of understanding them.
So what? Do we focus on local dominance, or strategize as to how to increase our personal and professional reach? Are we all unwittingly “acting locally”, even in the online space?