But we all have only so much money and only so many needs. But the online world also runs on other currencies.
Reviews. Reviews are the word-of-mouth of the internet. They are almost all we have in making online decisions. Its like voting for a better world. Good service at the restaurant? tip them with a review. Businesses can be reviewed at directories (yp, google, eatwild) and on social media. This is the unofficial currency of the internet. Even reviewing online purchases (which I don't generally do) is a contribution.
The official currency is links. Links are legitimacy. When we link to people, we both benefit. Google sees links as proof that your website is (a) not spammy and (b) worth linking, and worth searching to.
Why local at all?
- Relational - the world of commerce can be impersonal. By imbuing meaning into business we fill our lives a little more with something that matters.
- Accountable - local business can't hide like someone 1300 miles on the other side of a semi truck.
- Sustainable - "embedded energy" and "outsourcing environmental costs" are esoteric concepts. But they matter. Although mass transportation is very efficient, its costs (roads, fuel, air pollution) are quietly subsidized. Local products likely have less environmental cost than equivalent mass-produced products.
- Resilient - since the industrial revolution bigger is cheaper. But do you want all your eggs in one basket? Local systems fail, but a nearby one is always ready for the slack. That's nature's model. When a big systems fails, we're screwed