Jon from New Zealand writes:
I was amused by my own behaviour this morning.
I was looking for a welder of stainless steel to make up some security gates.
I went to a website list of suitable contractors, clicked on all those in my area and ended up with 25 pages opened. I then called the first one and asked if they could make up something to my drawing. They couldn't (not their type of business) but I had a very pleasant and helpful discussion with the owner about stainless steel in general.
I then asked if he could suggest anyone else that might be able to do the work. He suggested a name and number. I called them, discussed the project and am waiting for their quote.
I then closed the other 24 web pages - unseen or contacted.
The rapport that I felt (from a perfect stranger) was sufficient to make me take his recommendation and pursue a quote from his referred "friend" in preference to the other 24 open pages. Funny that! The need for a personal link goes deep.
Modems are no match for human interaction and trust. Not carefully tracked online ratings, but the sound of a voice, the tone of authority, the receipt of a favor. It matters more than it ever did.