Which is your third place

I recently came across developer theory of third place. The theory says that every human will have a third place, besides home and work. It is the place where they meet each other, interact and have the outside world exposure.

Fred Gooltz defines the criteria for third place as follows

  • They must be free or relatively inexpensive to enter and to purchase food and drinks.
  • They must be highly accessible, ideally one should be able to get there by foot from one’s home.
  • A number of people can be expected to be there on a daily basis.
  • All people should feel welcome, it should be easy to get into a conversation. A person who goes there should be able to find both old and new friends each time they visit.

Though these are laid out with assumption of the physical world. I will go ahead and retrofit these criteria to online. Because the Internet is my third place and I can only, apply to the platforms, I use every day during my free time.

The Social network for personal and professional platform

I neither have Facebook nor LinkedIn account that’s behind a login walls. I have also quit whats app for telegram to focus on other things I care about. So, I don’t seem to spend time here.

Recommendation platforms

Medium
It was a pleasing experience to read the articles in sleek typography with no ads. But soon things started to go down the hill with people starting to write open letter to their ceo. But occasionally you might also stumble upon gems like open to the open letter. I also feel that Medium’s primary motto with recommendation is tuned, to keep you engaged within the platform than anything else. Less informative article, articles that are gaming the system are getting huge page hits than the deserving ones. These days, I will read an article only if multiple people share it on Twitter. Medium for me, is just an attention craving platform. Me..Me..and Me.

Quora
Exceptional one-off-late-stage YC company sadly is, noisy and less moderated. People are too busy in asking questions like What can I learn right now in 2 minutes that will be useful for the rest of my life?. Seriously, 2 minutes? I don’t visit it unless my search engine takes me there and I haven’t got what I was looking for elsewhere.

Commenting platforms

Reddit
It is the geeky corner of the Internet. If you’re interested in finding more about few stuff, then Reddit is the place to go. Content curation is the key here. You can customize your front page of the Internet.They have sub reddits to hang out with communities like selfhosted, freesoftware. At the same time, finding a valuable content is time consuming and painful. I use to frequent /r/programming, until I discovered @ThePracticalDev. I’m following him on twitter. He does the heavy lifting of posting useful content from reddit to twitter. I wish, I would discover more guys like him.

Hacker news
I have decided nested comments is not for me. For the same reason, I don’t read all Slashdot comment. I may be biased, the best commenting system I’ve used is stack overflow’s. Enforcing strictness to just one level nesting benefits the reader. In the long run, post will have more reader than participants. I also feel that comments can be of more value when its just below the same post than lying around in some other part of the web.

Blogging platforms

Personal blogs
If something ever has challenged me for a change, It is the personal blog. Particularly that of Joel and Jeff. Reading their post has shaped my thought process and helped forming opinion on things. This platform has always delivered value to me. The post that impacted me most was written years ago. I don’t know what makes it work, whether my attention when am on it, or just their perspective without monetary motivation behind it, or just the long form with their argument, or the human touch. I don’t know what it is. I am still an avid reader of blogs. On any given day, I will prefer things on personal blogs than hosted content on Medium or elsewhere.

Business blogs
Only in our industry, People are sharing what worked for them. They teach how to trick the visitor for their email in the name of give aways, X things they did to increase their email list, How did they increase the revenue from $1000 to $XXXXX. Click baits. You will find their pitch somewhere inserted into them. Their intention is to collect your email now and sell something later. I believe you can’t a deliver value if your intentions are tied to monetary gains. On the contrary, such articles on personal blogs will be of different tone, you won’t feel odd.

Micro blogging

Twitter
I agree with Fred wilson’s reasoning on why he is bullish on Twitter but Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not on Snapchat. Not on Pinterest. I too consider twitter to be more of micro blogging platform than social network because people don’t often share their personal things. Following strangers isn’t creepy. There is no login wall for consumption and also most people are mindful of how they use 140 characters to say what they wanted to say. Crowdsourcing and amazingly different people on twitter make it interesting. Retweets by people are far more sensible than a platform’s recommendation.

To sum it, this is how my third place on the Internet looks like

Personal blogs > Micro blog > Recommendation platforms > Commenting platforms (reddit/HN) > Business blog > the social platforms

The restriction and moderation within the platform seems to be the key in driving the value out it. If it occurs to you, that you’re spending way too much of your time on your chosen third place instead of doing things you want to do. I hope, now you know what to look for when choosing a third place to spend your finite time.