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Can high tech tools affect the low tech countryside?

I’ve been reading about some of the cool stuff going on at Where 2.0, but I’ve got this funny feeling in the back of my head that Where 2.0 might be forgetting the farmers.

Sorry, there are no popular events in your area

That screenshot from Upcoming makes me so freaking sad.  “Sorry, there are no popular events in your area!”  I even lied about my area and made it the biggest city near here.  :(   Which brings up another problem.  If web services don’t cater to rural areas, countries that are predominantly rural (eg France and Spain) might experience stalled adoption rates, even in moderately sized cities.

For those who have no idea what “where 2.0″ is about: the Internet is getting really interested in location location location.

YouTube, Twitter, and the usual suspects all want to know if you’ll please enter geographical data along with every new upload.  Sites like Gowalla and Foursquare are putting big money on geographic location-based gadgets.  And for a while, sites have been finding ways to get people away from the desktop and into the street to meet up for flashmobs, dance parties and massive group discounts.

But these sites have largely focused on big metropolitan areas.  And that’s understandable.  These are businesses and they figure the easiest way to get clients is to focus on places with high adoption rates and a big potential consumer base.  Not a lot of winemakers prune with their iPhone handy waiting to hear about a discount on designer jeans.

And I’m wondering if California winemakers are going to be reaping the profits of proximity to major tech hubs like San Fran while poor old Languedoc hangs high and dry.

Is it part of our job as winemakers in a rural area to assess the current Internet landscape and retool some of the services out their to serve our needs?  I’m working on this idea and I’ll keep coming back to it.  For sure, there are ways that social media can sell wine like when Twitter-ers bid on wine at a Toques et Clochers auction in rural France.  But we might have to actively study these examples if we want to replicate their success.

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