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.: March 2006 --> Placesite geographical social networking

Placesite geographical social networking

» Placesite is a new service that allows patrons of wifi cafes to connect with one another by reading profiles of the other (online) people there, chatting, and contributing to message forums tied to that particular place. It is an attempt to counteract the zombie effect of having so many people staring at their computers by bringing social networking to geographic places. It's interesting, but two objections spring to mind. First, a certain percentage of people have always used cafes to read and write and study. What's the difference? Second, won't this just create two classes of people, those who are able to interact with others on their computer, and those who are not? (via phblog)
 [ 03.21.06 ]

1 Comment

Hi Rebecca. Thanks for the feedback about PlaceSite.

I'm not sure if I'm grokking your objections completely; I hope this addresses them:

1) True, some people have always used cafes "to read and write and study," and some people always will. I do that sometimes. We're not trying to change that behavior. But many people go to cafes (rather than staying at home, at the office, etc.) because they're interested in some level of social interaction: whether it's just being exposed to the hustle and bustle of people in the city around you while you work/read, or you want to see and be seen, or you want to meet new friends or converse with old ones. These are the people and the uses of cafes that PlaceSite is built around and built for.

As more of our daily experience in urban places is accompanied by use of networked media, why not design tools/media that augment and support the way we behave in public gathering places, that at least acknowledge that we're no longer sitting in cubicles ignoring everything and everyone offscreen?

2) This -doesn't- create two groups, "those who are able to interact with others on their computer, and those who are not." That division already exists. Points made along those lines apply to weblogs and to -any- digital social tools/media/software, not just location-based ones. The presence of the digital divide shouldn't hogtie innovation or dissuade folks from creating new forms of software and media.

Anyway, please come check out one of our PlaceSite cafes if you're in the neighborhood. We'd love more feedback.





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