@jayeless I’m glad you enjoyed my post and to read some of your thoughts on all… this. I think you follow me on here enough to know that I also think suburbanization has had a huge impact on our ability to build communities.
But I also think that a lot of “third spaces” have become polluted by digitization of socialization. I could be wrong, but I have the impression that if I frequented a coffee shop or bar or … something in the 80s and 90s, there’s a pretty good chance I’d know other regulars and talk to people and find something there. Nowadays we’re in our phones even when we’re in the world. Even if that’s not as true for individuals, that cultural habit has changed expectations and norms.
I’ve also thought a lot about how religious communities have reduced importance left a gap. And I think about how being childless as an adult in my thirties closes another means toward community. Complex stuff.
I do like the idea of Mastodon instances, but last I took a look in that world a few years back that promise was not at all being fulfilled. It was a lot of smaller but still too large and unfocused spaces. Or at least it felt that way. Maybe I should give it another shot.
@jsonbecker Yeah, absolutely. I agree with most of what you say here :) Personally I'm not sure whether mobile phones are the cause of cafés and bars becoming worse places to experience community, or at least not the only cause. I think it's also the case that people usually go there to meet a specific person (or people) at a set time, and usually expect to be left in peace to do that. Maybe phones contribute in that it's easier to organise such catch-ups now… as in before mobile phones, maybe you wouldn't bother calling people on their landlines to arrange a catch-up; you'd just hang out at your local and see them incidentally now and then? idk. But I definitely think that suburbanisation has had a major impact, as fewer and fewer people live in proximity to a "local", and "hanging out" becomes something that involves travel plans rather than something easy to just fall back on.
The main exception I can think of where cafés actually do become hang-out places is at uni campuses and probably offices. My experience of the café at my grad school, for example, was that you could totally just chill with your lunch and people you knew'd come up to chat, or you could do the same if you saw someone you knew already sitting there. People'd put their phones away; I think they were used more as a crutch to fill "dead time". Or else if they were actually working they'd just apologise and tell you so! I think that was pretty nice, but of course it only worked because of the geographic proximity to all of our classes.
As far as Mastodon goes, I do think it's harder to find a community on there than, say, here. I'd say people are generally less welcoming, although partly it's because there are dickheads floating about and people have their guards up. I think if you already have a community who use or are willing to use it, then it's great, but not so much if you're in search of one.
@jayeless reminds me of this great tweet, "Americans only love the college experience because it's the only time in their lives they live in walkable communities." A solid case for suburbanized geographies being central and connected to when and where the cafes, study spaces, and dining halls become shared, community building places.
@jsonbecker Yeah, for sure! It seems to me that many Australian suburbs (the inner to middle ones) are more walkable than American ones seem to be, but sprawl is still an issue, the outer suburbs need radical improvements, and we're still (also) lacking in genuine community spaces. This kind of geography really matters.
@jayeless My experience with mastodon is that it is easier to find a community there than any of the other social media thingies
A thing about cafe’s as a hang out that I have noticed over the years here in Norway, and I’m saying this as a dog owner who has both asthma and allergies. Over the years the Norwegian asthma and allergy union have slowly lobbied and made it almost impossible to go to any places that serves drinks or food with a dog.
@hjertnes I guess people's experience of Mastodon will depend on some outside factors. I don't think it's the hardest place to make connections, but I haven't found it the easiest, either :)
That's interesting about the increasing restrictions on dogs. Here they're allowed where there's on-street seating, and some places allow them in outdoor courtyards, but they're never allowed inside. I know I was shocked when I went to the UK and saw some people bringing them inside supermarkets 🤯 On a related note, I guess, cat cafés here aren't allowed to actually serve any food or drink in the rooms where the cats are…
@jsonbecker @jayeless Great posts, both of you. Good food for thought. I’ve been thinking about how friendships need time to develop, and how it’s difficult to find repeated time with potential friends in face-to-face settings. Online conversation creates ongoing low-pressure conversations. That’s hard to come by in physical space as an adult! Yet it’s hard to transition between “online acquaintance” and friendship.
@Cheri 💡We should have Erwachsenegartens! 🏡 @jsonbecker @jayeless
@Cheri Thank you! And you're definitely right about the time it takes for a real friendship to develop, and how hard that is to find. The internet makes the "time" thing easier, but still it takes some effort to get beyond those kinds of surface-level interactions (and of course it has to be organic too, you can't just force it). It's a quandry.
@jayeless Dogs are usually allowed in outside seating. But I think it is really dumb.
Fine, there should be some places for people with allergies. But there should also be places where people with dogs can go. If responsible dog owners can bring their friend places and they get used to being places the dogs will in turn behave much better because they’re used to it
I have a great time on Mastodon, mostly following people very different from myself and this place.
@hjertnes Yeah, personally I would like to see dogs allowed into more kinds of spaces, too. Maybe not the raw meat aisle at the supermarket… but generally speaking.
I also enjoy Mastodon, I just feel like it took me a lot longer (maybe three years) to reach a point with it where I actually have "mutuals" who I exchange replies with sometimes. 🤷🏻♀️
@odd Adult gardens, like kindergartens? Ha! I’ll bring the puffy stickers and I want espresso instead of apple juice.
@Cheri @jsonbecker @jayeless I feel like online friendships will become just as strong as real ones (if they aren’t already for some people). With the world becoming so digitally connected, and especially for people who are introverts in real life (🤚🏻), it’s becoming more common.