I love a great "third place." If you are not familiar with the third place concept check out Ray Oldenburg's (1989) The Great Good Place. These are the coffee shops, restaurants, and other places where we socialize and build community. I'm sitting in one right now, a coffee house, it is one that happens to offer free WiFi. I use third places for work on days when I'm somewhere between my "real" office and home. Here are some of the aspects of third places:
- Third places provide a place for people to get to know each other.
- A third place can act as a neutral ground which provides an ease of association.
- They provide a sorting area where one can meet people with similar interests.
They bring together people for the first time who may later go on to develop other forms of association.
- They provide a staging area. It times of crisis people can assemble and arrange ways of helping each other.
- Third places help create “public characters” – people who seem to know everybody, keep an eye on thing, and welcome others to the neighborhood.
- They bring together people of all ages.
- They provide a place for exchanging information.
- Third places serve as forums for political and social issues.
This sounds a lot like the blog world doesn't it?