Essay on Oldenburgs Third Places

2021-05-25 20:51:28
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Vanderbilt University
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This is one of the leads I found interesting of the three that I wrote:

How do you spend your leisure time? Do you often feel the need to get off work or away from home? When you do, what do you do? Do you sometimes consider online games or social media for leisure and maybe to clear your head? Oldenburgs Third Places are leisure setting used for informal social interactions, encounters, and engagement. Sometimes people consider social media and also others consider online games for their free time away from home and work. Online Games are often drawing together larger crowds of geographically dispersed participants to form a common group online and engage in a specific activity of leisure through playing games. On the other hand, various researchers have linked space and place to online social media in remarkably compelling ways, particularly in the contexts of locative and mobile media. Social media in regards to Oldenburgs observation connects users with other users that they previously have access to, which has someone on a different part of the world. Oldenburgs theory is, therefore, an accurate observation in my view and according to the given evidence in the literature.

Rough Draft

Oldenburg argues that American culture has lost several of its motors and bricks third places places particularly for leisure and not work nor home but instead for social interaction. Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs) are some of the popular forms of internet activities which draw together larger crowds of geographically dispersed participants to form a common group online. Digital communities that are formed through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat e.t.c can be localized and dispersed geographically to provide users with the chance to provide their opinions in terms of various topics and conversations to connect with other people.

Given evidences from previous supporting literatures online spaces such as social media or online gaming are in fact, some of the most recent and modern forms of social interactions, which according to Oldenburgs concept of Third Places are a public leisure setting used for informal social interactions, encounters, and engagement because they are conducted beyond the realms of home and work. This confirms the fact that online spaces are third places that provide people with the opportunity to relax from demands of every day and generate sensations of inclusiveness and belonging when participating in social groups.

 

Final Draft

Oldenburg defines Third Places as a public leisure setting that is used for informal social interactions, encounters, and engagement. Third places are social places, beyond the realms of home and work (Oldenburg 49). Examples of third places are such as coffee shops, hair salons, corner shops, barbershops, taverns, local pubs, bars and different other places for hangouts. He remarks that these are placed where various people enjoy meeting. Hence third places provide people with the opportunity to relax from demands of every day and generate sensations of inclusiveness as well as belonging when participating in social groups. Normally online spaces such as social media or online gaming gives an individual a sense of relaxation as they get to meet people online and interact with friends. In addition to social media interactions, online games can be categorized as third places because they generate a public sense of social interaction and provide subjects such as a context of sociability, emotional expression and formation of possibilities of being in contact with reality out of the spaces of work.

Online Games as Third Place

Online technologies allow for various activities such as chatting, corresponding with family and friends, browsing of various blogs playing 3-D virtual worlds among others. It is, therefore, plausible and empirically rigorous to look into specific forms of activities that are categorized under Oldenburgs Third Places and if at all they are considered third places. Building on the works of Bruckman, Amy, and Mitchel (103), Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs) are some of the popular forms of internet activities which draw together larger crowds of geographically dispersed participants to form a common group online and engage in a specific activity of leisure through playing games.

MMOGs have achieved a particular popularity against a backdrop of deteriorating physical civic culture. According to his observation, Oldenburg argues that American culture has lost several of its motors and bricks third places places particularly for leisure and not work nor home but instead for social interaction. The accompanying effects are negative for both communities and individuals. Through ensuring spaces for social interactions as well as relationships that are beyond home or work, MMOGs as virtual environments have the potential to act as a digitally mediated third place similar to the same perception received during hangouts, pubs and coffee shops.

The early works of Beniger (74) on strength of bond indicated that both bonding and bridging are connected to various social contexts; while other relationship networks often lead to the bridging of social capital, others often result in bonding of social capital. In the same context of MMOGS, the inquiry of whether or not the online communities located in them are large weaker networks or they have a particularly strong bond. Even though both weak and strong bonds can be created, evidence from studies indicates that the internet social networks characteristically involve weak, bridging-oriented networks, but still for third places.

Social Media as Third Place

In this digital age, social media allows for interaction and socialization among various users in a much larger community compared to the local. Digital communities that are formed through social media sites can possibly be localized and dispersed geographically, providing users with the chance to provide their opinions in terms of various topics and conversations to connect with other people who also have a similar interest in particular matters.

Using digital space as a site for interactions online is a concept that constantly grows in literature. Various researchers have notably linked space and place to online social media in remarkably compelling ways, particularly in the contexts of locative and mobile media. Social media, as a social Third Place in regards to Oldenburgs observation, connects users with other users that they previously have access to, which has someone on a different part of the world. Users interact and collaborate with larger groups of different other users sharing similar interests and around a particular subject.

According to Luoma-aho (234), social capital has its origin on concepts of social interactions, considering formal membership an informal social network as well as general reciprocity, tolerance, and social trust. Individuals who use digital social networks have the ability to relate and connecting in various forums with others with the same interest as they do, hence constructing social capital and approaching the quality of third places. Also, forums are often constructed for the purpose of encouraging conversations among members and public spaces, different kinds of users participant in different kinds of conversions.

In conclusion, third places as a public leisure setting that are used for informal social interactions. Online games act as a third place because they provide spaces for social interactions. Particularly, MMOGs as virtual environments have the potential to act as a digitally mediated third places. In addition, social media acts as a third place in Oldenburgs concept because it allows for interaction and socialization among various users in a much larger community. Given the above evidence, it is safe to assert that indeed online spaces such as social media or online gaming gives an individual a sense of interaction and connection with the world beyond the realms of home and work third places.

Works Cited

BIBLIOGRAPHY Oldenburg, Ray. The great good place: Cafes, coffee shops, bookstores, bars, hair salons, and other hangouts at the heart of a community. Da Capo Press, 1999.

Bruckman, Amy, and Mitchel Resnick. "The mediamoo project constructionism and professional community." Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 1.1 (1995): 94-109.

Beniger, James R. "Personalization of mass media and the growth of pseudo-community." Communication research (1987).

Luoma-Aho, Vilma. "Bowling together-applying Robert Putnams theories of community and social capital to public relations." Public Relations and Social Theory: Key Figures and Concepts/Edited by Ihlen, O., Van Ruler, B. & Fredrikson, M.(Eds.).-ISBN 978-0-415-99785-0. (2009).

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