The Third Place
Have you heard about the third place?
The first place is home.
The second place is work.
The third place is your social meeting place.
According to Wikipedia:
The third place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
Oldenburg calls one's "first place" the home and those that one lives with. The "second place" is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time. Third places, then, are "anchors" of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction. All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new in modern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests these hallmarks of a true "third place": free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there. (58)
I had never heard of the "third place" until last week when NPR ran a story about the closing of the third place; coffee shops are closing across that nation and people are losing their third places.
It got me thinking. Where do I go to socialize? It's certainly not the coffee shop or the bar. No, my third place is here in my first place. At home. In front of the computer.
My third place is right here with all of you in the blogosphere. This is where I experience community and creative interaction; it's free, accessible, welcoming and comfortable. There are both old and new friends here. This is the place where everybody knows my name (cue Cheers theme song).
I've been trying to resist visiting my third place the last few days, but who am I kidding. I need this place; if fulfills my societal needs. I'm a regular, and I just can't go too long without seeing all of you.
About the pictures: I took this series of photos last week. The birds were getting knocked off their branches, so I took them all down for a few days to mull over the problem. Then it hit me. I put them back up in pairs, so they could support each other. Every time I look at them I want to sing, "We all need somebody to lean on." They sure do make a good analogy for how I feel.
Posted by Molly at 9:10 AM