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                      Extended Local Network
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Your Extended Local Network

 

I have my network of friends and like so many other people in the U.S. (scratch that...planet), they're in Facebook.  This works well for those people I want to stay in touch with or at least don't feel too put out to catch an occasional picture or thought from their direction.  These people are scattered across the country now and in some cases, reside entirely outside of it's border.  England, Brazil, you name it.  I probably won't see 80% - 90% of these people in person again but as acute delivery of nostalgia medicine, it can't be beat.  There was clearly some emotionally relevant past to justify this digitized and distant online present.  If anything, it takes me back to being 18, 25, 30, you name it.  There's some slippery tie to every age band of my life.  It's carefree enough to maintain and that's great but there's very little these people have to do with my every day life (outside the those added from the last 5 year age band of my life).  Most of the people do not live within 1000 miles of me now. 

Meanwhile, there are 40,000 people within 20 miles of me.  I know maybe under 200 of those people.  Many of those 200 (not to mention the 40K) would not be in my Facebook network and for good reason.  We have no real relationship (or any relationship for that matter) but it isn't to say that we don't share a commonality that's probably more important or relevant than most of the people in my friend's network.  We share the same streets, shops, friends (in some cases), schools, and workplaces.  We drive by each other countless times and I could be behind them in movie line or sitting next to them at a restaurant.  Who knows, you could be reading this after sitting next to me writing it (Corkscrew restaurant, outdoors...beautiful day).  We would never know.  There's a disconnect but that doesn't mean I want to add 40K people to my Facebook account even if it were possible.  I don't even want the 200 I know in the network.  We're just not close "that way".   Here's the rub.  We share a great deal in common and no way to really communicate mutually beneficial local information to each other with the common online social tools.  We're not on each other's Facebook.  We're signed up to receive each other's Tweets.  Heck, I don't even know their names and with the limitation on time, short term memory, and energy, it's probably going to stay that way. 

This isn't to say that at any given time, 10-20 of those 40,000 people might not have incredibly useful information specific to me.  That's part and parcel of being local and sharing a common location.  Remember, we drive the same streets, attend the same schools, and have access to the same entertainment options.  Not exactly the same since access means prior knowledge of and knowledge in an increasingly busy and over-informed life is becoming harder to parse from the background noise.  I might really want to know about the 30% off deal at my favorite musical instrument store.  I didn't catch the 1 ad on Monday showcasing the Gibson starburst at ridiculous prices and I've been meaning to put the Peavy amp back in use.  My loss.  I didn't know.  I also  didn't know that the traffic jam I was in would be there for 30 more minutes.  I just sat there because I didn't know.  My favorite band from college happened to be playing some hole in the wall club in town?  I didn't know that.  Many people in my 40000 strong local network knew but I don't have a way to send or receive information with them and I don't really want a social relationship (ala Facebook) with them.  I want a relationship with their information!  That's why we built the Zipper smart phone app for local news.  It needs to act as a way to access your social relationship with local news.  Use and enjoy and remember, everyone's information is now yours!

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