Well, maybe I'm not famous but a girl at the F Lounge tonight asked me if I was Austin. Apparently she was friends with one of my ex-girlfriends (who hails from Tally) and had seen me on Facebook. I thought it was kind of funny and razzed her a bit for being a stalker but it's just one more sign of a shrinking world. I think it's cool that people can recognize one another even if they've never met online before.
This kind of segues into why there's less crime in small towns...it's because everyone knows each other. There are reputation effects and sanctions can be imposed. I imagine that this girl would have avoided me tonight if she thought that I was a jerk because of what she had seen online. I know that this sort of thing creates the ability for misconceptions from the digital realm to permeate brick & mortar reality but that shouldn't happen very often.
In fact, I met a professor in San Diego last weekend. I had not met him before, but had been to his website and watched some of his youtube videos. I had heard stories about him from other professors and I was able to hop right into a conversation about his style of teaching. The internet really can bring us together socially as well as facilitating the exchange of money for goods and services (and microfinance loans).