This is not a case of link love. But two people have mentioned things I've said in recent posts, and to respond I need to link these two citations together.
Jack Krupansky, up in Seattle, cites my argument that geography is becoming irrelevant and contrasts that with J. Pascal Gregory in the New York Times saying geography is destiny. Simultaneously, Hyku's Josh Hallett, my good friend quotes me as saying "my friends aren't virtual."
These two dots may not seem to be connected but they are. You'll note that I called Josh "my good friend." In fact, our meeting up last week in Miami is only the second time we have laid eyes on each other. We have become good friends because we often blog on similar topics, because we run onto each other's work on Flickr,because we are both passionate about social media. We read each other and see each other's photos and somehow we are both feel a friendship. n the rare occasions when we lay eyes on each other, it feels like we are old friends.
Now, this J. Pascal Zachary character from the times, happens to be an old friend. I can tell you that all his friends call him "Greg," that he has a love for traditional jazz, that he collects old vinyl records because he loves the authentic scratchy sound and that even when he was reported for the Wall Street Journal, he harbored decidedly Socialist beliefs. I have not spoken with Greg in a decade and some of these facts may or may not have changed.
I do not think Greg will be upset that I shared this stuff. If Greg blogged, and you chose to read him, you would probably know all this. Some of you would feel a kinship. If you ran into Greg at a conference you might feel like he's an old friend, even if you were meeting him for the first time.
There is still nothing like a face-to-face meeting. But the Internet has allowed us o get closer, to share more, to know people better and more intimately, even without the physical meeting. That's part of what happened with Josh and me.
My comments to Josh were in part a response to what I heard at the WeMedia conference, where many representatives of big media seem to believe it is Their media, not ours. They kept talking about virtual communities vs. the real world. To me they miss a real and fundamental point. Virtual communities may not be tangible but hey are most certainly are real. We may never meet each other in the real world, but the relationships formed online are most certainly and indisputably real.
Now, Greg's "Geography is destiny" declaration seems to me to be a bit overstated. But what is clear is that their are certain neighborhoods online and off that is better for certain activities than others. For example it is better to start a tech company in Silicon Valley than it is in Ceylon. It is better to discuss geeky stuff on Robert Scoble's blog than at Suicide Girls. In the real world physical boundaries define many people's destiny. Online shared interests define neighborhoods and destinies.
Geography has become a lot less relevant over a very short period. It is going to continue in the direction of irrelevance, from my perspective. But online or off, where you are will still contribute to your destiny, or so it seems to me.
Oh, one other thing: If you see Greg, tell him I said Hello.