Walking down Main Street in Mt. Airy, N.C., I feel like I’ve stepped into a 1960s sitcom. Mt. Airy, the boyhood home of Andy Griffith, was the inspiration for his television home town of Mayberry. As I stroll by Floyd’s Barber Shop, I peek inside and notice that all the chairs are full. Not the barber chairs, but the waiting chairs against the wall. Those seated are engaged in animated conversation, and a crowd has gathered to listen to the dialogue.
This is a common sight here in the Blue Ridge Mountains: Residents gathered in a local store to visit and gossip. Sociologists call such gathering spots a “Third Place.” A Third Place is a social venue which is separate from Home and Work that fosters broader communication between participants and builds a sense of belonging and community.
In his 1989 book “The Great Good Place,” author Ray Oldenburg asserts that a good Third Place is accessible, comfortable, nearby, involves regulars, and is open to both new and old friends.
Sounds like Facebook to me. Read More
Originally posted 2013-12-11 13:29:00.