Yes! “using the Internet to strengthen your local relations”, here for learning and teaching. This post (David Wilcox) inspired my re-considering place. I am interested how the Internet can help to form and strengthen social and productive networks. I agree with the freeschool people that f2f contact is vital. And for that you need to be geographically close to each other.
There is another reason to “upgrade” the importance of location in online social networking. Coming from a (rural) development/natural resource managment background, in my thinking, many issues that need our attention are tied to the land, are localized and need local actors to get involved and undertake collective action. That we now can span distance in our communnications, does not mean we should. The former conversations at the cattle market/local cafe/water pump need to be restored -and improved. If the Net is going to be important for collective action we need better tools to locally connect. The tools are developing: postal coded search, google maps will have a role to play, portals, many local initiatives, postal coded E-bay, this freeschool. But starting from what instead of where, will organise people thematically again, not geographically. What we need is geographical initiatives, with “plug-ins” for ebay, freeschool, etc.