Decline of Social Clubs

Whenever I pass an old social club building (Masonic, DAR, Odd Fellows, Etc), particularly one that has been converted to another use, I wonder what has become of the impulse to build and gather in such institutions that seemed to prevail in the first few decades of the 20th century. It isn’t clear to me how it has been met or coopted by the for-profit private sector (if it has been at all).

What I just realized though, in contemplating on-line discussion boards and blogging communities like this one, and how they seem to be more labors of love than commercial enterprises, is that perhaps the old impulse has found a new way of expressing itself.