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Massives As Your Third Home 146

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the maybe-two-and-a-half dept.
sleepwellmyfriend writes "What is a third place? The first place is your home, the second place is work. Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks introduced third places as somewhere besides home or work where people can socialize and feel comfortable. Think Cheers. Massive multiplayer online games are third places as defined by their characteristics: neutral ground, leveler (no not that kind), conversation, accessibility, regulars, low profile, playful mood, and "home away from home". Online games also contain social capital, which like financial capital, can be acquired and spent, but for social gains instead of financial gains. In a social relationship sense, bridging provides breadth (diverse information and resources) while bonding provides depth (comfort and advice). In online games, players come from a diverse background so they are usually bridging social capital but bonding can occur for long time players."
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Massives As Your Third Home

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  • True for Me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:13AM (#16145312) Journal
    Masive multiplayer online games are third places as defined by their characteristics: neutral ground, leveler (no not that kind), conversation, accessibility, regulars, low profile, playful mood, and "home away from home".
    I know this is going to sound pretty cheesy and merely anecdotal but I submit to you my experience that MMOs can function third home. I moved half way across the US two years ago. It was the only time I've ever moved in my life and the only time I've been completely out of place knowing no one. Now, at the time, I only played Star Wars Galaxies and had a large house near Coronet that many people visited frequently to buy stuff from me. I was in a tightly knit guild of 10 people with a guild hall that we spent a lot of time decorating.

    When I first moved, I spent a lot of time in game talking to my old friends and generally just hanging out in game. I spent a lot of time in the house on Corellia. You might argue that it was detrimental to me meeting new people in my new surroundings and naturally adjusting but, honestly, I would have spent the time reading books if I hadn't had an SWG account. I guess that's why it was like pulling teeth when the CU hit and all my friends stopped playing. Oh well, at least I had enough time to meet new people while still having fun with old friends.
    • by crazyjeremy (857410) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:17AM (#16145337) Homepage Journal
      and had a large house near Coronet that many people visited frequently to buy stuff from me
      Drug dealer?
      • Gotta move that muon gold! Wanna try some neutron pixie? First one's free.
  • Im sure I remember the PS2 being advertised as 'The Third Place', way back when it first came out, with exatly the same reasoning behind the nomenclature.....
    • They did, and I always found that pretty confusing. For quite some time I thought they wanted to claim third place in the console race - behind the Xbox and the Cube. Weirdos.

      Over here in Europe, most people aren't familiar with the concept of "the third place" and probably didn't get the slogan.

    • by SScorpio (595836)
      Yes and no. The PS2 was advertised as "The Third Place" in Europe; however, it was meant to be between reality and fantasy. So a physical way for you to interact with fantasy but was not truely either. The article is talking about the third home being where you spend your time: home, work, MMO. However, this doesn't quite work out since the majority of of the people in the MMOs are sitting in the dark of their first homes which are owned by their mom's. But whatever.
  • Pub? (Score:3, Funny)

    by pryonic (938155) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:16AM (#16145334)
    My first, second and third place is the pub, nuff said.
    • Re:Pub? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kfg (145172) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:21AM (#16145367)
      "Good friends, gather 'round and I'll tell you a tale;
      It's a story well-known to all lovers of ale;
      For the old English pub, once a man's second home,
      Has been decked out, by brewers, in plastic and chrome.

      Oh, what has become of the old Rose and Crown,
      The Ship, the King's Arms, and the World Upside-Down?
      For oak, brass and leather and a pint of the best
      Fade away like the sun as it sinks in the west.

      The old oaken bar where the pumps filled your glass
      Gives way to formica and tanks full of gas;
      And the landlord behind, once a man of good cheer. . .

      Has been replaced by some child who will just mumble the price as he hands you your . . .latte."

      With apologies to Ian Robb.

      Howard Shultz brought us nothing but another corporate chain. The "third" place predates the "first."

      KFG
      • by shimavak (925762)
        I appreciate your poetry modification, but I have just one question for you:

        Do you mean predate as in PREdate or as in predATE. In other words, do you mean that the third place came before the first? Or you do mean that the third place actively hunts the first?

        Both translations make grammatical and syntactic sense; however, from your 'tone' for lack of a better word, I don't imagine that you would indicate the third place to truly have come before the first place.

        In which case, it begs the question of whi
        • by kfg (145172) *
          I don't imagine that you would indicate the third place to truly have come before the first place.

          And yet it's what I indicate. We are tribal animals and the group home came before the private home. In fact, the private home was invented as a way to get away from the bloody group home for awhile.

          There were also the various "secret" societies. The hunter's society, the warrior's society, the mother's society , etc. All of these forms of group home away from predate the private family home.

          The model for the
          • by shimavak (925762)
            Ah! That is precisly the clarification I was seeking! It is the unfortunate nature of the medium that I could not know with any certainty which meaning you had intended for predate.

            As an interesting point and a fun curiousity of English: predate predates predate by a little more than 400 years! The hunted meaning comes from c. 1460 via latin: prædationem. The latinesque contraction did not appear until 1864.
            • by kfg (145172) *
              . . . predate predates predate. . .

              Thank you. I love that sort of shit.

              KFG
      • "Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
        Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

        Wouldn't you like to get away?

        Sometimes you want to go

        Where everybody knows your name,
        and they're always glad you came.
        You wanna be where you can see,
        our troubles are all the same
        You wanna be where everybody knows
        Your name.

        You wanna go where people know,
        people are all the same,
        You wanna go where everybody knows
        your name."
  • Its been said before, but i'll say it again...replace any instance of "Massives" or MMORPGs etc in any of these stories with "The Internet" and it still fits the same. Hell, even the C64's Quantum-Link service pretty much fit every description there, except perhaps the fact that social networking isnt as gain related as in a game.

    aeb
    • by Thansal (999464)
      yup.

      I was planning on writting a cute little piece about playing MMONotepad (IRC for those who don't get it), and how a couple Channels were my "third place" for a very long time. Specialy I am thinking of a time when I was moving around a bunch, and going through some RL problems that having that 3rd place, that was NOT linked to the rest of my life in any way REALLY helped.
  • Math (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:19AM (#16145349) Homepage Journal
    So if Second Life is your Third Home, does that work out to 2/3s of a homelife?
  • Are you sure? I always let it slip that "I'm going home" when I'm headed to work.
  • by EssTiDee (784920)
    FTFA:
    The Mood is Playful: The general mood of a third place is playful and witty. Players in online games crack jokes during heated battles, perform goofy actions with their avatars, and mock each others' appearances. Rarely are players overly serious about game matters.

    Yeah -- that's really been my experience with online multiplayer games -- rarely are players overly serious about game matters. Seems to me the long-time players that the article claims are the real core of the community tend to be some of
    • by Adambomb (118938) *
      I hope to god this doesnt get modded funny when its so incredibly insightful.
    • by IflyRC (956454)
      Ever heard the "Cloud Song" recording? Rarely serious? Please if you haven't heard it - look it up.
    • by ahodgson (74077)
      Yeah -- that's really been my experience with online multiplayer games -- rarely are players overly serious about game matters. Seems to me the long-time players that the article claims are the real core of the community tend to be some of the *most* serious players i've ever encountered.

      That hasn't been my experience. Sure, they expect you not to be an idiot and to be able to play your character well, but in matters that don't result in raid wipes they do joke around a lot most of the time.
      • by Malakusen (961638)
        Hell, we even joke about some of our raid wipes, and my guild has cleared everything up to and including BWL, with our eyes on AQ40 and Naxx. On our instance runs, we even laugh when somebody gets feared into the rest of the room, in that first big room in Scholo with all the ghosts and casters. Sure, we get pissed sometimes too, but there's a lot of laughter.
    • As one of the other responders pointed out- it depends on the stakes.

      We joke- but not in the "raid instruction channel".

      If it involves losing 5 minutes- we probably don't mind.

      But if you do something stupid while joking around and the result is 4 hours of *completely* wasted time for 40 other people- it just doesnt' feel like a joking matter any more.
  • by tont0r (868535) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:28AM (#16145396)
    So you have your 'home' time. Then you have your work time (for real world people, this is 40+ hours a week). And then you want to toss in a '3rd place' time? How much time do you have left?

    I mean, sure its great when you are 16 and your 'home time' will consist of playing sports with some kids down the street or watching tv (or video games in this case), your 'work time' is at max 15-20 hours a week, then you have all the time in the world to play an mmo. No need to worry about cleaning or making dinner. Mom has that covered.

    But if you arent 16, you work 40+ hours a week, have to come home and make dinner (or go run to the store first to buy it),clean, relax for a bit, toss in a significant other or a child or two, and your mmo time is nearing zero.

    We have enough busy things in this world to toss in a 'Third world'.

    • by mpathetiq (726625)
      Can't your relaxation time be time spent in your third home?
    • by King_TJ (85913)
      I completely hear you there! For starters, I think this "3rd. place" concept is flawed when applied to massively multiplayer online games, because you're generally still playing them in the "1st. place" - your house or apartment!

      The reason places like the "corner bar" (a la "Cheers") are popular with some people is just as much the fact that it gets them out of the house (and someplace *other* than work) as it is the "social interaction" factor.

      It's really about doing something that breaks up your routine,
      • by bigbigbison (104532) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @09:05AM (#16145606) Homepage
        I think you are right, up to a point. A lot of the thinking about "thrid spaces" that goes on with new media is in some ways reflective of the "Bowling Alone" theory as espouced in the book of the same name. In that book, the author says that we (particualrly Americans) used to be much more active in the public sphere with civic groups and, as the title suggests, bowling leagues.
        So a lot of this is attempting to counter that saying that while people may not physically leave the house, they still do have social lives that do not involve work.
        So while it is true that one may not leave the house while playing a mmorpg, but one does interact with other people and get some sence of escape from work and home.
        I'm not sure why this article appeared on slashdot, particularly. The idea of muds and moos as third spaces is nearly as old as muds and moos themselves. Go to scholar.google and search for "new media" and "third space" and tons of articles turn up.
    • by zerocool^ (112121)

      Hi.

      I'm 25, I work 40 hours a week. I'm married and have a 2 year old.

      My day consists of: drag self out of bed, do best to wake up (not a morning person - I don't mind my job, I just mind waking up). Go to work. Leave work, pick kid up from daycare. Come home, put on Sesame Street eps from the Tivo, make dinner (I love to cook). Wife comes home around 6-7pm, we eat dinner. Kid gets a bath at around 7:45ish, goes to bed at 8:30.

      After 8:30, I have until about 11:30 or 12:00 until I crawl in bed, so I ha
      • I pretty much run the same schedule, and I agree completely. I have grade-school age kids, and I usually play MMOs for 1.5 to 2 hours per night, always after the kids have gone to bed. There are a MMOs that fit this "casual play" style pretty well. I got hooked on Disney's Toontown Online (yes, go ahead and laugh) when my 6 year old started playing it. Tons of parents play that one, and even the big boss battles take only about 40 minutes to complete. Now I play "Shot Online", a Korean-based golf MMO.
    • You've chosen to have a family, deal with it. You can't have time for everything in the world. If you want to have time for MMOs, stay single and get a job that doesn't have excessively long hours. Don't blame MMOs for your own choices in life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by keyne9 (567528)
      WorkTime - HomeTime ~= ThirdWorldTime
    • by Moofie (22272)
      "We have enough busy things in this world"

      Who's we? Got a mouse in your pocket?
    • by izomiac (815208)
      "Lack" of freetime doesn't seem to keep people from watching TV. I suppose if don't watch much/any then you would probably have several hours a week to spend on MMORPGs. It's just a choice of how you entertain yourself during your freetime since most people don't work/do necessities for every waking hour of every day.
  • I'm pretty sure that if you spend enough time to earn in-game rewards, you're not gaining "socially"... but if you are, online gaming sure has come a long way since I last played!
    • by DarkGamer (462552)
      The problem is that people that do not understand these games do not equate sitting in a room alone to socaializing, be it a chat room, an mmo, an online forum, or whatever. Many think face-time is the only way to communicate with others.

      I play World of Warcraft, and our guild just had a get-together. It was a raging party with a bonfire and lots of fun and booze. We even have *girls* that play. I assure you these games can be very sociable. They just are not a substitute for real life.
  • The study I have set up at home is a fantastic hermit-cave for me, and while I'm there I'm able to work, study, play, socialise and all those other things. The only things I don't get in there are:

    1. Face-to-face contact
    2. Exercise
    I think the internet in general has such a high impact on and penetration into those "1st & 2nd places" (at least, for the sort of people likely to be reading this post) that the distinctions are becoming a lot more blurred. Hell, working-from-home or at least taking-it-hom

    • by kfg (145172) *
      2. Exercise

      I've got bicycle rollers in my cave (which is actually made of stone). It's also just large enough for Tai Chi.

      I've been known to hook up a take off drive to my rollers for a certain amount of power independence as well. God bless LEDs.

      KFG
    • by anaphora (680342) *
      Trust me, relaxing on MMORPGs aren't doing anything for the social skills of any people.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JadeAuto (935739)
      On another note: something I find I do altogether too often in social situations (pubs, parties etc) is put on a "mask", a persona that makes me less vulnerable. In MMORPGs the implicit existence of a mask often means that people can be more "themselves" than they would otherwise. Maybe that's why it's such a good place for some people to relax and interact. Could be that it's doing wonders for the social skills of some people...

      People when in public, must, by needs of society, be... well, inhibited by c
    • On another note: something I find I do altogether too often in social situations (pubs, parties etc) is put on a "mask", a persona that makes me less vulnerable. In MMORPGs the implicit existence of a mask often means that people can be more "themselves" than they would otherwise. Maybe that's why it's such a good place for some people to relax and interact. Could be that it's doing wonders for the social skills of some people...

      That's funny. In actual social situations I'm usually very outgoing and friend
    • by envelope (317893)
      I have a home office from which I work full-time. So my "first place" and my "second place" are the same. I don't have a "third place" since I am not a gamer nor a barfly.

      Should I just ask my mom to bring me down a glass of lemonade and a sandwich?
  • by ThatGuyGreg (544880) <thatguygreg&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:34AM (#16145422)
    Are you high? Ask your parents about soda shops, bowling alleys, drive-ins, etc. Then, go read Bowling Alone [amazon.com] by Robert Putnam - it's a great look at what he calls the collapse of the American community, because of a lack of these "third places". Good read.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by kfg (145172) *
      Are you high?

      No, he's just a young example of how far the American community has fallen.

      KFG
    • At my 25 year high school reunion a few years back, a classmate came up to me as I was leaving. He said the most memorable thing of the entire weekend. When we were little there were baseball games all summer at the "8th hole" of the golf course where kids from a rough range of 8 to 16 would gather and all play together. My classmate said that his kids never ever play outside with the neighbors. We make ours play outside with the neighbors and they are all better for it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Moofie (22272)
        You let your children OUTSIDE!? There's CHILD MOLESTERS out there!

    • by Peyna (14792)
      Starbucks "introduced" third places?

      I think it is a reference to phraseology used by Starbucks' founder, but Starbucks never claimed to have "introduced" them. (In other words, the blogger didn't clarify that he was simply providing Schultz' definition of "third place.")

      That or the blogger is an idiot, it's hard to tell.
  • aren't you in your home (for most people) when you're in an mmo? is it possible for the third to be a kind of subset of the first?
    • Physically, you're in your first home. Mentally, you're in Azeroth, Vana'diel, Norrath, whatever.

      Chris Mattern
  • Great, Good Places (Score:3, Informative)

    by pkalkul (450979) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @08:38AM (#16145446)
    The source of the theory of "third places" is Roy Oldenberg's book The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community, which has been around for quite some time. Sherry Turkle, in her Life on the Screen, also references Oldenberg. Credit where credit is due. Here is a nice summary [pps.org] of Oldenberg's work.
  • Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks introduced third places as somewhere besides home or work where people can socialize and feel comfortable.

    Eh? i have heard of thrid places before but never this howard schultz guy. i think the concept of third places it attributed to ray oldenburg. [wikipedia.org] though the practice has been around a lot longer. video game related link [ttu.edu]

  • is anywhere you hang. yeah!
  • How can it be yout third home if there's no Guinness there?
    • by sdhankin (213671)
      I don't know about you, but I often have a Guinness sitting next to the keyboard when I go to my own particular "third place". We are talking about civilized discourse here. Guinness is essential.
  • Is a masquerade? A 3rd home in the context of TFA is then in fact, a virtual activity that removes people from reality as we know it to be. So wouldn't this concept be another facet of escapism? Surely the MMOer's will be rife with malcontent if this is how their activity is viewed, casual or otherwise.
  • is my third home...
  • There is nothing in WoW that even closely relates to Cheers. It is more like a microcosm of real life, right down to the fact that you have materialism is the dominating force in keeping people's noses to the grindstone. Regarding the author's specific points, I'd say the neutral ground argument is a bit weak, because players *are* obligated to play if they want to stop being called a "n00b" or other memes that spread like wildfire (I believe that 'nub' is all the rage as of late.) The leveler argument is t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)

      There is nothing in WoW that even closely relates to Cheers. It is more like a microcosm of real life, right down to the fact that you have materialism is the dominating force in keeping people's noses to the grindstone.

      There are other MMORPGs than just WoW.

      I played Ultima Online for a good while (hence my nick). I'd say that UO itself isn't a 3rd place, but it has lots of 3rd places in it. Some in the form of a virtual version of a real 3rd place such as a bar; in other cases it might be a guildhous

  • 'nuff respec'.

    I don't feel at home at work. I feel at work at work.

  • Is it just me or are they trying to put way to much thought into games? I'm a WoW addict but its not my "third place". It's just a game.
  • Home Depot (Score:5, Funny)

    by dpbrown (596946) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @09:42AM (#16145847)
    My third place is Home Depot because my first place needs work and my second place doesn't pay me enough to convince someone else to make my first place their second place.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The third space used to be called 'the commons' or 'public space' and its disappearance in modern democratic societies is perhaps the greatest tragedy of our times. The idea that Starbucks claims it 'invented' third space is ironically an indicator of how far we've fallen from having sufficient free common public spaces.

    Third spaces have long been cited as being the very foundation of democratic society. The mall or Starbucks however are Not public space - they are private - and this can be easily seen if o
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:07AM (#16146089)
    This is inevitably going to come off as flamebait to some, but I think it has to be said...

    If people but as much effort into constructive pursuits as they put into these games they couldn't help but be very successful. And I don't think there's a real middle ground where you can truly do well and continue to maintain what is essentially a second career within these games.

    This is coming from someone who's played a few MMOs... I never invested even a fraction of the time some have put into these games but I still think it was too much time wasted. I certainly wont be making the mistake again.
    • by Knara (9377)
      Except that in an MMO your "second career", as you say, can be picked up and left alone at will. besides, being successful IRL can bring with it more headaches and annoyances than extra benefits.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My definition of "successful" is enjoying myself. If I enjoyed MMOs then playing 30 hours a week would be a success.
  • Someone else made a nice comment, and to the point, Starbucks is by no stretch of any imagination inventor of anything other than a brand name. A third place has been part of our lives for quite some time. Think outside sports, recreational activities (not family vacations), anything that you do routinely away from home or work. For me, it was life at the firedepartment, or talking in IRC, or rugby, or skating, or any number of things I did away from home or work. Social status (real) was achieved throu
  • by barfy (256323) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:58AM (#16146541)
    Both are from the Pacific NW. But "A Third Place" is the mantra of Mr Ron Shea not Howard Schultz. He is the owner developer of Crossroads mall, Lake Forest Mall, and importantly Third Place Books and he is the current owner of the Honey Bear Bakery (which lead seattle in the slice of cake and a coffee movement), which no longer exists in its original location.

    Third Place describes the environment that he has tried to create at the Malls and the Third Place Books in the old PCC in Seattle. They have large central courts that are utilized by the general puplic, gaming communities (he likes chess it would appear), community theater and concerts. Along with a variety of food.

    His idea is creating the "Third Place" that you go to hang out. After work and home.

    He has been moderately successful, but not as univerally accepted as you may think. I think he is right that there exists the concept of third places, but alot of them exist spontaneously, (like Cheers) and only up to a size where everyone knows your name. And they aren't as successful larger than that. But the concept is successful enough, and they are very pleasent places to visit.

  • All I can think of this analogy is of the alcoholic who always goes to the bar (Norm being a prime example). All he does all day is drink, if he works, he drinks after work, he's addicted and he knows nothing else. Unless it happens in that bar, Norm really doesn't know much about it.

    Unfortunately MMORPGs are no different we have the "hermit" who all he does is play the game til he dies, he's stuck in his "home", he constantly thinks about it, to be away from it too long is painful.

    Just because we try to
  • I was thinking, of course your massive isn't your third home. It's your one true home, innit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Staines_Massiv [wikipedia.org]
  • Is in my sig line.
  • Ali G's West Staines Massive.
  • > The first place is your home, the second place is work.

    In which one of them do you spend more of your waking hours?

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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