Digital media has made a big impact on retailing - pulling sales from big High Street shops online. It can also work the other way - helping us find and support shops, restaurants and other outlets that we really value.
Lea Simpson and Rob Hinchcliffe are both working to help us do that. Lea is developing Unchained, a guide to the very best independent shops - first in London, then in New York.
The aim is to level the playing field between the great independent shops and the big chains they struggle to compete with. Lea says:
"I'm a huge advocate of applying business thinking to social problems. Independent shops are typically started and run by people who are passionate about what they sell. Being a world-class butcher or fashion buyer doesn't make them incredible marketing strategists, IT gurus or brokers. When you take a step back and actually analyse the long list of tools, resources and job titles the big chains have that smaller businesses don't, it's no wonder they can't compete. They're really playing a different game altogether."
The Unchained package aims to replicates these benefits in an ethical -Unchained' way.
Rob is community manager at Qype, where shoppers, eaters, drinkers can review their favourite places and discuss them with fellow enthusiasts.
In this interview Lea and Rob explore their common interests about using digital media ... but are rather reticent about the session they will be running at 2gether08. They promise it will give us all a micro-experience of what they are talking about. And it will be fun.