Quite a good essay on the idea of online games as 'third places' - that is, neutral and familiar meeting areas, like pubs (where "everybody knows your name"). "Participation in such virtual 'third places'," argue the authors, "appears particularly well suited to the formation of bridging social capital." For example, pubs will allow individuals from very different social communities - plumbers and M.Ds, for example - to meet and interact. These weak social ties create important 'bridging' connections between communties. "Without bridging relationships, individuals remain sheltered from alternative viewpoints and cultures and largely ignorant of opportunities and information beyond their own closely bound social network." Via Mark Wagner. Related: i d e a n t: Video Games, Authority, and Problem-based Thinking.