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Internet cafés

The Internet was a town.

Then it became a city, then a nation, then continents, then hemispheres.

Without centralized search tools, early communities were only discovered organically, like neighborhood cafés.

Businesses eager to multiply their reach and revenue logically rushed to create communities that spanned cities, nations, hemispheres. Maximum reach, lowest common denominator, unintended consequences bubbling up everywhere.

Corporate social networks have created the world’s most unsafe and heartless cities in the same place we’re building our future.

Even whittled down to “your” people, corporate social networks have scant authentic meaning—like the generic Applebee’s and Chili’s that dot our disconnected suburbias. Deliver a product accessible by the masses, stamped out in uniform.

But humans can’t string together a series cloned containers and call that community.

The Human Internet needs more neighborhood cafés. Quiet corners. Safe places. A healthy mix of strangers, acquaintances, and old friends.

Who’s creating these today?

How can we build more?

What should they look like?