Howard Schultz, of Starbucks fame, didn't come up with the phrase "Third Place" - he just gave us a lot of them to hang out in. Ray Oldenburg wrote about this topic and its importance in civic life. A short overview is on Wikipedia . Personally, I would be tempted to talk of cyberspace meeting points, like Second Life, as a fourth place because it has a very different time-space dynamic than a physical third place, especially when taking into account the possibility of perpetual access via mobile. I haven't seen Starbucks turn up yet in Second Life, but probably will soon. At least when travelling in cyberspace, location-based services will work with hyper-accuracy. I wonder if there should be a cross-over though - if I post a message about Starbucks lousy chai tea latte (it seems the most inconsistently made drink they offer) in the virtual store, will it make its way to the physical one?
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