The benefits of building community virtually (via the internet) are often seriously limited without a physical venue by which the online participants can meet face to face. The goal of CoolTowns is to provide both.
What would this look like? Simply combine the virtual community elements in yesterday’s blog with the third places described on this web site. Then you’ll come up with things like a “Friendster Bar” as a friend of mine would like to see – a physical watering hole for the popular online community, Friendster.
It’s also vital to think of it the other way around. Both the residents in my building and the tenants in my work environment stay in touch with one another through email group lists (e.g. listservs), resulting in festive happy hours with both my fun-loving neighbors and workmates.
Note: An internet cafe shouldn’t look like one. In fact, don’t even call it that. Just provide free wireless internet and leave it at that.