When I was a cub reporter at the Fall River (MA) Herald News, and got an assignment to go cover someone or write his or her obit. The first step was to go to the newspaper library, commonly called "the morgue," and pull out a yellow envelope filled with clips and photos of the person I was covering. That seemed really cool back then and the Morgue helped me ask better informed questions than I otherwise could have.
By the late 90s, I found it remarkably cool to Google people before I met them. I often impressed people at how well-informed I appeared to be about them. Until everyone started to do it, I could appear incredibly well-informed about what others had written about the person I was meeting.
When Technorati came along, and i could read people's blogs, my world started changing. Through the words of the person I was about to meet, I could see what he had been passionate about yesterday or perhaps a few hours ago. I could taken a quick visit into the person's mind. I still do this all the time, and it often let's me slide into an comfortable conversation with someone only minutes after we have met. We can understand what we have in common before we have a face-to-face meeting.
Lately, I have been going to Flickr before I meet someone. I look up that person's photos. I look up the photos that other people have taken of the person. I see him working and playing. I see freeze frames of random things this person saw and got to record and post. I see his or her family members including pets. I know whether they sail, soar, sip or play sports. I see visual sampling of their lives. Nowwhen I sit down to meet this person, I have know more than I can, even from just reading the blogs. Now I have the ability to be up close and personal. It is a remarkable enhancement to the irreplaceable first meeting.
I don't know what comes next. perhaps it's a video clip. I don't know if anything needs to come next. We have the ability today with the tools we have to speed up personal and business intimacy. We also have he visual evidence we need to choose not to make a first touch acquaintance with someone.