It takes me a second to send an email around the world – but at least 12 hours to fly from Munich to the US West Coast. Despite the huge latencies involved in traversing meatspace, not to mention the costs, clocking up around 30,000 miles of travel in the last seven weeks has reconfirmed that in a digital world, nothing beats analog interaction.
I’ve met OnPR clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland, been to meetings in Seattle and Salt Lake City, and to London twice, divided by a 24-hour stint in Berlin to meet a man who breaks locks for a living.
So why bother covering distances like this when I can set up an online meeting or video conference? Because it’s been a much richer experience. Nothing beats a handshake and the chance to look people in the eye. Don’t get me wrong, electronic communications are great, and particularly effective for collaborating with people you already know, but for those first time getting to know you engagements, nothing beats being there in the flesh.
This is why we still see the value in conducting media tours – where executives put in the effort to get out and about, to meet the media and analysts. You can do it by phone, by videoconference, or even via email, but nothing is as effective as personal contact. And of course sometimes, being there is the only option, as it was for one of those London trips during March, which was all about putting Fujitsu’s new slate PC into analysts’ hands for the first time.
So what now, after doing my expense report, of course? I’m looking forward to spending Easter with my family, plus quality time in the office during May. If you’d like to see me, you’re welcome to call in – because it’s my turn to stay put.