Technology to pull us together

Facebook has introduced a new feature (Facebook Places) that allows users to “check-in” at certain locations. Facebook’s vice president of product suggests this is exactly the sort of technology that will bring us together rather than pull us apart:

“The entire goal of this product, and in general what we’re trying to develop here, is that the ‘third place’ is alive and well and that technology can actually be the thing that pulls us away from the TV and out to the nightclub or out to the concert or out to the theater or out to the bar,” Cox said. “Technology does not need to estrange us from one another.”

The concept of the “third place” was developed in Ray Oldenburg’s book The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community first published in 1989. Oldenburg says the third place is the space between home and work. This sort of space has recently disappeared from the lives of many Americans whereas our ancestors had spaces where they could gather with friends and community members and vent about and discuss work and family and politics.

Facebook, of course, is not the first to introduce this technology. But since it has such a big user base, perhaps it can change how humans interact in social spaces. Or perhaps not.

0 thoughts on “Technology to pull us together

  1. Pingback: Sociologist Oldenberg responds to Facebook Places | Legally Sociable

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