Thursday, June 10, 2004

Starbucks as 3rd place?

George ended his last post with a comment about libraries as the "third place."

What is the 3rd place?
By definition, it's somewhere that's Not Home, and Not Work/School: a literal "third place."

So I started to do a little research on "third place" areas. (Okay, it was all of a single Amazon.com search...) The editorial review (from Publishers Weekly, no less) for what came up --(Celebrating the Third Place: Inspiring Stories About the "Great Good Places" at the Heart of Our Communities) -- instead of what I wanted (Better Together: Restoring the American Community) was enlightening:
What Oldenburg calls "the third place" is different from home and work (the first and second places respectively) it's somewhere people can relax in good company on a regular basis. In this collection of 19 essays, proprietors and patrons of those third places describe how their establishments came into being and what exactly gives them their appeal. These third places aren't just diners and coffeehouses: there are establishments as disparate as Annie's Gift and Garden Shop, in Amherst, Mass., whose witty and provocative billboards provide a jumping-off point for conversation within the community, and Old St. George, an espresso bar located within a church's sacristy in Cleveland, Ohio. There's also the "great good gym" and, perhaps most surprising, an essay claiming prison to be the third place for many disadvantaged in American society. These charming and often thought-provoking essays, each written in a voice distinct as the place discussed, provide food for thought into the isolation our modern conveniences bring and people's need to come together as a community. This book will strike a comforting chord for those questioning the status quo and desiring to live a more authentic and connected way of life.


The review mentions coffee shops, gyms, even sacristies of churches...but significantly does NOT mention libraries. Now why is that?

Starbucks rival?

The other piece that struck me was a piece by Howard Rheingold on the Cybercafe Society. Part of it is fascinating to me, from a brand perspective that he's linked Starbucks to FedEx and Kinko's as if it's the next logical move all 3 organizations!

Of course, anyone who knows me from me previous academic life, knows I studied "crowds in modern literature" in graduate school. So his description of our post-modern socio-knowledge cybernomadic mobs is interesting...if only for the language he uses. Do we have a mob mentality, when it comes to technological enhancements?

What say you, scanbloggers?
--Alice

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Karen Fisher at the UW ISchool has taken a look at some of these issues in her ideas around "information grounds" - might be of interest to you.

She has looked at how people seek information and how those locations that they visit for other services might also turn into their "information grounds".

http://ibec.ischool.washington.edu/ibecCat.aspx?subCat=Articles&cat=Publications

Enjoying the blog - you can see some of my thoughts over at www.technobiblio.com - cj

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