Last Friday, I organised a co-working day at the Docklands Library in Melbourne and called it ThirdPlace.
I started this meet up group a couple of years ago for people interested in adult education, coaching and all things related to “learning” to gather for informal social networking events. The people belong across all different industries and professions. With 378 members (at last count) and a presence in five cities in Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra), ThirdPlace has become a little community – my “collaboration network“.
It’s very much a “fluid” and informal gathering of people (“friends”) with events that are organised by a small band of volunteers. However, members of the groups themselves can also schedule events when and as they need them.
ThirdPlace came from the idea inspired by Paul Signorelli during a Twitter LearnChat when he alerted me to a book called The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenberg. Within minutes of reading what Third Places are about, the idea appealed to me and I took action. I created ThirdPlace and the rest, as they say, is history.
In a white paper titled, “What is a Third Place and Why Is It Important?” mentions five criteria for Third Places. They are that they:
- Represent a personal experience
- Fulfil an individual need
- Take us away from home and work although, like these, are important for defining who we are and what we do
- Personally functional to us
- Are there when we need them.
Little did I know that this group was going to be a critical factor in my well being as a freelancer constantly working from home. Since working for myself, the group is not only a place where I can go to network and be introduced to new people but I meet old friends.
Over time, the group has had different events added to the mix from breakfasts, lunches, after work drinks, dinners, site tours and meet ups at conference expos – and some Google Hangouts and Blabs. Also, I added co-working days for those of us who want to meet up and work together. This year, I plan to organise events that we can learn together such as make-create nights.
We have also had wonderful meet ups with international guest speakers (BIG thank you to Ryan Tracey who organises some fantastic meetups in trendy Sydney pubs, bars and restaurants) as well as a merry band of volunteers Michelle Ockers and Tanya Lau (Sydney), Matt Guyan (Newcastle), Matthew Mason (Brisbane), Vanessa North (Adelaide).
All events are free and voluntary with no membership costs. All I ask from organisers and members is not to use the group as a platform to sell their own products, services or to market for their own events outside the group. We are not affiliated with any company, association, conference or any other business entity – nor do we derive any income from this community. It is driven by the passion, enthusiasm and ideas of the members in the spirit of community.
So enough chatter, do you want to see what we did on Friday at Docklands library?
I created a short video (really, I’m testing out my video editing skills on iMovie and that’s why you see my posting more videos of places I go to and things I’m learning). The reason is that I love the visual representation of the story behind what I’m learning and doing and creating videos to share that story and journey with my blog readers. That’s a blog (and vlog) for another day. Until then, enjoy the video!