What Is So Bad About Local?

At PodCampAZ there were not a lot of statements I disagreed with.  One was that podcasting has a future (without iTunes actually creating a way for creators to sell their works, which was promised years ago).  The other one was Chris Pirillo, explaining how BrightKite scares him.  Telling people where you are is scary.  I initially agreed with him, now that I have looked at my usage, I just don’t get why not.  For me, online is scary.

Let me expand.

Chris Working

Chris lifestreams his life at his website, where as of writing this, 342 people are watching the back of his head while he works.  Online, he is as open as I can imagine myself being.  The though of people watching me work, from anywhere in the world, is weird.  Being open and online brings out the trolls, the hate, the randomness, the kindness, and all the ranges in between.  Chris is the best there is in reference to online community.

BrightKite is a 2007 TechStars company.  Their aim is to be the best ‘location based social network.’  I’ve been using them since launch, and love their service.  It is all about local community, people around you right now, and people that have checked into the place you are currently at.  They make it easy to check into places, via iphone app, txt message or your laptop.  You can see my activity here.

Picture 1

BrightKite has the best privacy features of any of the applications out there.  You can see that I am now checked in at TechStars, but there is no address, because the location is private.  You know where I am generally, but there is no gps No Country For Old Men tracking system.  I can check into the restaurant next door, but that still doesn’t give you the table I am at.

It is much safer than I can say for an anonymous IP address online.

When I started blogging, it was a year before andrewhyde.net… it was somewhere else, and didn’t have my real name on it.  I was scared of people online.  They would call me out, call me names, insult my projects.  I shut that down when I started this site, and even with that it took me two years of blogging to be comfortable telling people about it. For me, being online was a huge issue of trust.  I have obviously gotten over that, but is that true for others?

Besides the obvious ‘local can cause local harm’ argument, is online more intimidating than real life?  In online safer than real life?  Would you be more likely to meet a date in person or via personals ad?  Would you rather know your local tech community or develop a long distance relationship.

For me, bring on local.

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