I wanted to share an update on Third Place.
I created Third Place in 2013, a social meet-up, social learning and networking group for people who share a love for lifelong and continual learning.
During a Twitter chat in 2013, a member of my personal learning network (PLN) mentioned to me a book by Ray Oldenberg called The Great Good Place that introduced the concept of ‘third place’; a place away from home and work where people come together to connect, socialise, hang out and learn from.
During my overseas travels, I was envious of the countries that had town squares, plazas and piazzas where people of all ages could congregate and socialise at all hours of the day. I felt that this was missing in the Australian suburbs (that had taken on the American urban design where people congregated in shopping malls and food courts) and the concept of third place immediately resonated with me.
To me, it’s all about informal & personalised learning, openness and generosity, networks and community – throw in some food, coffee or wine – and some unique learning experience then watch the connections and fun unfold.
As my work as an independent consultant means that I spend long hours alone working from home, Third Place was going to be my ‘outlet’ to meet up with people from all industries, roles and business who have an interest and a passion for learning can come together to chat, network, socialise, co-work and learn together.
All events are voluntary and not connected, supported, sponsored or endorsed by any third party company, association, vendor or any other interest.
Despite people telling me to “monetise this group” to generate an income from it, this was NEVER my intention. I knew that the moment I created a business model for it that it would cease to be fun for me and that it would not align to the spirit of generosity, community and friendship. My intention was NEVER to make money from my peers but to force me to think of other ways to do this – unique, different and creative ways – that generated trust, respect and support.
I simply couldn’t use old ‘business models’ on new concepts that had at its heart, generosity, openess, friendship, community….and trust.
In the past, we have had festival meetups, library co-working days, cafe meetups, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, worksite visits and so much more.
As of this year, we have 481 members and have had 131 events in Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane and Sydney. We even had online meetups through Google Hangouts.
As well as physical meetups, the group is coordinated through the Meetup software platform. (www.meetup.com/Third-Place) however, as Meetup was recently bought out by We Work, I’m unsure of the future of this platform. To date, my subscription to services is still current until April 2018 until such a time we will know more about what is happening to this platform.
As a backup, I have created a Private Group in my Activate Learning Solutions Facebook Page. You will need to Follow and Like the Page to be invited to join the Private Group.
Using Facebook will mean that we will have all the functionality available that is on Meetup plus so much more such as Live Streaming too – as well as holding online meetups.
At this stage I’m unsure if we can have other interstate group Administrators running events outside of Melbourne but I will be looking into this.
For now however, Third Place at www.meetup.com/Third-Place is STILL ACTIVE however, it’s online address MAY change from Meetup to Facebook in late 2018. Everything else will still stay the same.
I will keep members posted of what is happening but Third Place is still going strong!
(If you’re wondering why I chose Facebook as the platform of choice is that our membership consists of people outside of business as well where sites such as LinkedIn are not used. Another option was to use a private LinkedIn Group but as much of the world population seems to be on Facebook and is across how to use it, it seemed like the no-brainer choice for this. Also, Facebook has far superior functionality – for now – than LinkedIn).
This blog post by Helen Blunden was written in Melbourne, Australia and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.