An update of third place theory: Evolving third place characteristics represented in facebook

Dana E. Vaux, Michael R. Langlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Responding to a perceived decline in social capital in America, sociologists Oldenburg and Brissett offer the third place as a solution. While traditionally defined as social gathering places in the physical environment, recent studies have demonstrated that virtual environments may also serve as third places. This study analyzes the social media website Facebook to identify current socializing patterns. The goals of the present study are twofold: 1) to examine the characteristics of third places in virtual contexts as evidenced in existing literature and 2) to identify new third place characteristics that illustrate the evolution of third place characteristics using Facebook as a model. Findings provide support for updating third place characteristics in order to encompass both virtual and physical environments. Results reinforce the idea that present-day socializing trends better represent a different paradigm than existing theories and provide definitions for new evolving third place characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Human Interaction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Facebook
  • Oldenburg
  • Social Capital
  • Social Media
  • Social Networking Sites
  • Third Place

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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