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Monthly Archives: January 2008

FPF Neighborhood Forum Headlines

Neighbors have lots to say across Chittenden County, VT, as seen on the 130 neighborhood forums hosted by Front Porch Forum. Here are sample headlines from the past week…

• 2008 Trees for Local Communities Grant Announced
• 3rd Annual Friends of WHS Calcutta Feb. 17
• AFTERSCHOOL CARE OPENING
• Alternative Teacher Certification Feb. 19
• Another Neighbor Joins Forum
• ANR Solid Waste Report Available
• Apartments at Mt Philo Inn
• Appletree Development Meeting Jan. 27
• APPLETREE POINT DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
• Appletree Point development scale model
• Baby formula offered
• Babysitter available
• babysitting mingler at UVM
• Babysitting Services Available
• Backhoe and Sugaring Resource
• Backhoe operator recommended
• Barnes Basketball Volunteer Clarification
• Beatiful home for rent
• BELTLINE INTERSECTION INFORMATION
• Beltline intersection question
• Big Chili Republic Delivery
• Bill McKibben community comments
• BOGGLE OR SCRABBLE, ANYONE?
• Boston Lodging Recommended
• Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening
• Broadband Contact Person
• BT problems and appreciation
• Burlington Permaculture – Winter Workshop Series
• Burlington school tours
• Burlington Telecom Cable TV Update
• Burlington Telecom Experience
• BURLINGTONIANS WANTED FOR ORAL HISTORIES
• Business of Being Born Feb. 15
• Canada goose sighting?
• car for sale
• Car Repair/Inspection recommendations?
• Car Share Open House Feb. 13
• Cats in Need
• cats seeking temporary home
• Champlain School Equal Exchange Fundraiser
• Clean-up brigade Appreciation
• Climate Policy Workshop Feb. 1
• Closing the high school – Question
• Community Sing-Along Feb. 3
• Condo for Sale
• Contractor Recommended
• Dem. meeting Feb. 11
• Development on Appletree Point – Meeting Jan. 27
• different perpective on Appletree development prop…
• Dion St Speed
• EJ Prudential Comm. Budget Meeting Schedule Change…
• Equal Exchange Fundraiser for Champlain School
• Events and Classes at Heineberg Center
• Events at your Library
• Eye Doctor Recommended
• Family History Open House Feb. 9
• Feb. 18 – Full Day of School (CCSU)
• Females in sports day Feb. 2
• Fishing Access Dock Proposal – last opportunity fo…
• Five sisters single family house for rent
• Forest Walk Feb. 2
• Former Vermonter Seeking Mold-free Housing
• Forum Casting Call Feb. 1
• Forum Discussion, School, Downtown, Taxes
• FORUM FEEDBACK
• Forum Question
• Found Cat is Male not Female – oops
• Found Laundry baskets… yours?
• Fox in the Quarry
• Free Community Science Night at ECHO Feb. 6
• Free Radon Test Kits
• Garbage Brigade Rain Date
• Garbage Brigade Strikes Again – Jan. 30
• Girls’ Survey critique
• graffiti for Moran Plant
• great APARTMENT for rent – March or April
• Group yard sale support
• Have you used Peregrine Construction?
• Health Care Event On Channel 15 Again
• Heineberg Center Annual Meeting Feb. 6
• High Speed Internet Agreement
• Historic Markers for Houses
• Hobby-size evaporator for sale
• Home for Rent across Park
• Home for rent at 96 Linden Terrace
• Homeownership Discussion Feb. 5
• House For Sale
• House for Sale and Moving Sale
• Howard Coffin on VT Civil War Sites Jan. 30
• I Ain’t Marching Anymore Concert
• Impact of Proposed Senior Housing Development
• Internet Safety for Children Jan. 29
• Invitation to Join Website Discovery Network
• Jericho Broadband Plight
• Jericho School Board position open
• Kenmore Electric Laundry Center For Sale – Great S…
• Local Fiber Optic Background
• Local nonprofit Seeks Temporary Hire
• logging with draft horses needed
• long windedness
• LOOKING FOR BARNES SCHOOL MEMORABILIA
• Looking for Christmas decorations
• Looking for sap buckets
• LOOKING FOR THINGS AUSTRALIAN
• Looking for Work Nearby?
• loose dog on crescent road
• Mail Tampering
• mattress for sale
• MEET APPOINTEE POLICE CHIEF MICHAEL SCHIRLING
• Mercy Connections Spring Calendar
• modeling workshop Feb. 3
• moran plant graffiti
• moran plant proposal
• Moran Plant Proposal – Alternative View
• Moran Plant Proposal Objections
• Moran Redevelopment Comments
• More about Appletree Point Housing Proposal
• More about Senior Housing Proposal
• More Dance Classes!
• More Forum Feedback
• More Neighbors Join Forum
• More on Minutes, Dock Proposal, FPF, etc.
• More on Senior Housing Proposal
• MUNI. PLAN AND ZONING ORD. GOVERN DEVELOPMENT
• National Girls and Women in Sports Day Feb. 2
• need a babysitter?
• Neighborhood Gathering Ideas
• Neighborhood Party Location Recommended
• Neighborhood Watch Comments
• New Business on Shelburne Road
• NEW DEVELOPMENT MEETING JAN. 2…
• New Local CarSharing Program to Launch
• New Neighbor Joins Forum
• New to Forum – Porch Theft
• North End Studio Events this Weekend
• O.N.E. Arts and Business Networking Event Jan. 31
• Opportunity for Young Writers
• Opportunity to Meet with New Police Chief
• Optometrist Recommended
• Owl Camped Out on Caroline St
• Painter Recommended
• Parents Night Out on Valentine’s Day
• Peace and Justice Center concert
• Penguin Plunge
• Peter the MusicMan for Preschoolers
• Phil Ochs Song Night March 7
• Phil Ochs Song Night!
• Photo Exhibit Opening Feb. 1
• Play about VT Murder Feb. 4
• Public Meeting Feb. 4
• Questions for future Chief?
• Recruiting for a study!
• Regarding Barnes B-ball Volunteers
• Remodeling Open House Invitation
• RESIDENTS MEETING JAN. 27
• Respecting opinions
• Richmond Pre-School Discussions
• Riddle me this Batman – School Questions
• Ride Offered to Boston
• Sap Buckets for Sale
• School Athletic Facilities Meetin Jan. 29
• School Board Opening – Petitions due Jan. 28
• School Bottle Drive Feb. 9
• School Budget – Proof in the pudding
• School Budget Comments
• School Facility Tours
• Seeking American Girl clothes
• Seeking Backhoe to Hire
• SEEKING BARNES MEMORABILIA CIRCA 1957
• Seeking Boston Lodging Suggestions
• Seeking Exterior Painter Recommenedations
• Seeking goat or sheep milk
• Seeking Home birth experience
• Seeking housecleaner recommendations
• Seeking ice skate sources
• Seeking interior painter recommendations
• Seeking large pots
• Seeking long-term lake iroquois rental
• Seeking lost dog
• Seeking Lost or Stolen iPod Touch
• Seeking Lost Wallet on Catherine St.
• Seeking missing stroller
• Seeking New Kitten
• Seeking Painter Recommendations
• Seeking Pellet Stove Advice
• Seeking plumber recommendations
• Seeking Responsible House and Pet-Sitter
• Seeking snowplow service recommendations
• Seeking tiger kitten
• Senior Housing Comment and Question
• Shameless Plug
• Sidewalk Plowing and mailboxes
• Sled Hockey game Feb. 3
• Sledhockey Competition Feb. 3
• SMUGGS DISCOUNT SUNDAYS
• Sneior Housing Proposal Comments
• Soup of the Week
• speaking for trees
• Speeding Comments
• Speeding Solution needed for Dion St.
• Staniford Neighborhood – elder housing
• Statewide Health Survey
• Stray Cat Question
• Sugaring Supplies
• summer job opportunity
• Support DREAM Kids at Franklin Square
• Support Group Forming
• taking sides
• Temporary Housing Needed
• Theft at Leddy Parking Lot
• Tools for sale
• Tour Burlington Schools
• Train table looking for new home
• Tribute Concert Feb. 2
• upcoming community events
• UVM baby sitter mingler
• vermont outdoors women -VOW January Newsletter
• Voluntary Simplicity Study Circle
• Volunteers Needed for Reading to End Racism
• Welcome to New Neighbors
• WESTFORD BROOMBALL TOURNAMENT
• Winooski LIVE! community TV show
• Winooski LIVE! February show
• Winooski School Budget
• Winooski Schools Comments
• Winooski Wednesday
• winter get together feedback
• Winter Get-together — Priced out of the market?
• Winter/Spring Drama Class Offered
• Yard Sale – Let’s Do it!!!!
• Yard Sale Comments
• Yard Sale Parking and Promotion
• Yard Sale Planning Party?
• Yes to Dion St. Speed Control
• Yes to Neighborhood Game Night
• Yes to Yard Sale
• Your AVON Products are Here


Going viral ain’t as easy as we thought it was

Duncan Watts of Yahoo! takes Malcom Gladwell’s Tipping Point thesis to task in Clive Thompson’s FastCompany.com article today.  In particular, he goes after the notion that a small number of people carry extra weight in igniting trends that spread exponentially… influentials.  Rather, its society’s readiness for a trend that matters most…

“If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one–and if it isn’t, then almost no one can,” Watts concludes. To succeed with a new product, it’s less a matter of finding the perfect hipster to infect and more a matter of gauging the public’s mood. Sure, there’ll always be a first mover in a trend. But since she generally stumbles into that role by chance, she is, in Watts’s terminology, an “accidental Influential.”

Perhaps the problem with viral marketing is that the disease metaphor is misleading. Watts thinks trends are more like forest fires: There are thousands a year, but only a few become roaring monsters. That’s because in those rare situations, the landscape was ripe: sparse rain, dry woods, badly equipped fire departments. If these conditions exist, any old match will do. “And nobody,” Watts says wryly, “will go around talking about the exceptional properties of the spark that started the fire.”

Also noted today is this tidbit from Kevin Harris

I was talking to a group of community workers today, getting their views on the use of community centres and ways of getting people through the door. Most of the way through a 12 month funded programme, they told of an influx of new people coming in. This is in an area of low expectations and high needs.

The explanation is that ‘word-of-mouth takes 8-9 months…’

‘It’s about people having the courage to act on what they’re hearing. It can take you a year to get confidence in the community, that there’s something new for them to try and to trust it. It takes time for the confidence to work through.’

Reaching people is hard work.  About 30% of our pilot city subscribes to Front Porch Forum and I’d guess that almost that many are familiar with the service and are open to signing up… just haven’t gotten around to it or don’t quite understand or trust it yet.


Free Internet Access at Libraries is Crucial

Philip Baruth has an excellent piece on VPR and his blog about Vermont libraries providing internet access for folks who couldn’t otherwise afford it.  Read it here.

Front Porch Forum keeps access as open as possible… subscriptions are free and we focus on the low-end of the tech spectrum.  In fact, a Burlington FPF member told me last year that he was homeless.  He participated in FPF via the Fletcher Free Library.  He used a free GMail account.  He listed the intersection in the Old North End where he parked his car/home on wheel on his FPF account.  Without the library he would have been shut out of this neighborhood conversation.


MocoSpace Raises $4M B Round

Congratulations to Justin (Front Porch Forum member) and his MocoSpace team. From Erick Schonfeld on TechCrunch

Mobile social networking startup MocoSpace raised a $4 million B round from existing investors General Catalyst, Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group and former eBay exec Michael Deering. The previous A round was $3 million in January 2007. MocoSpace is a mobile-only social network with two million members and serving one billion pageviews a month (from mobile phones). When we last wrote about MocoSpace in August, it had half as many members and pageviews.


More tips for start-ups

From Praized

Graham Hill of TreeHugger.com fame offered 9 lessons web entrepreneurs should take heed of.

  1. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Humans don’t really change. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
  2. Incentives drive the world. For employees, for business development, etc.
  3. Truth is told at cash registers and not in focus groups. Look to the data and test a product by selling it.
  4. Listen to Fred Wilson.
  5. The network is the computer. It has to be open and all about online applications. Think Gmail, Last.fm, Mint.com.
  6. Think product first, marketing later. This new connected world takes care of a good portion of marketing if you have a great product.
  7. Barely enough money is a good thing. It keeps you hungry and makes you focussed. Helps you find what’s the core of your business.
  8. Companies are bought not sold. It might be a cliché but it’s true. Play hard to get.
  9. Good guys win in a connected world. Media has been democratized and spin control does not exist anymore.

Lots of Efforts needed to Crack Local Online

VC Fred Wilson wrote this week about his Outside.in and Everyblock.com. The comments are interesting too. Fred wrote…

Techcrunch calls outside.in a competitor of EveryBlock. I think collaborator is more like it. It’s going to take more than one company to rebuild the local newspaper from the ground up.

Amen. Front Porch Forum is very different from either of these efforts, but plays in the same space. With 30% of our pilot city subscribing and a large percentage posting, we’re definitely well beyond just the heavy web users that dominate much of Web 2.0.


Associations and Online Social Networks Working Together

A national federation of U.S. “green” business groups ran a blurb today.  From the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) e-newsletter…

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is experimenting with Front Porch Forum to increase traffic to member job listings on the VBSR site while increasing interest in socially responsible businesses.

VBSR is a sponsor of FPF and its first ad will run on FPF’s neighborhood forums in Chittenden County next week.  The ads will encourage FPF’s subscribers to check out  VBSR’s online job listings.  Smartly, VBSR alerted its business members to freshen up their job listings on VBSR’s website before the ad run starts on FPF.  A small step on a modest campaign, but a smart one.


Ning does neighborhoods too

Marc Andreessen (go UIUC engineering!) writes today about a group of neighbors in Seattle creating an online social networking using Ning to address concerns over a recent crime wave…

From Bill Gossman and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“I’ve lived here 11 years and never seen anything like this,” said Bill Gossman, a Magnolia resident who about two weeks ago started a neighborhood Web site [on Ning] that he dubbed sleeplessinmagnolia.ning.com.

The social network, Gossman said, has received 55,000 page views and brought together 550 block-watching neighbors to share information, tips and experiences…

That’s great.  It’s an example of the kind of thing that people are doing with Front Porch Forum all across our pilot city of Burlington, VT (30% subscribe already).  Crime and neighborhood watch activities are common… as well as lots of other uses.

Ning, in addition to having amazing resources, provides “white label” social networks… that is, build your own.  While Front Porch Forum provides the network/forum for 100% of the neighborhoods in its service area… and it’s designed to address the real problems of isolation and individualism by helping nearby neighbors connect.


Bill McKibben on Community and FPF

Good to read this posting today on my own neighborhood’s Front Porch Forum by Carolyn

I had the glorious pleasure of listening to Bill McKibben speak this week at an AIA meeting.  He is the guru on global warming, and has chosen to live in Vermont, too!

While he was answering questions about great things happening, he said that the Front Porch Forum was just the absolute best thing to happen, anywhere.

That it brought people back together, communicating with each other, in a terrific way.  The very best way.  And that most important thing to do is to get communication and neighborhoods back together, instead of the “dream house” where everyone lives in their own isolated internet cubby, and parents have dual bedrooms, and live miles from anyone.

I can only say ditto to this.  Having lived here for many years, in this neighborhood, I knew a few people who had dogs, or lived next door.  Now I feel connected to the entire neighborhood and I know almost everyone on my street, and neighboring streets.  And this place really really feels like my home in capitol letters.  (And yes, I was born in Kansas).

And this way, not only is there better communication, there will be less driving, more car pooling, more local jobs, …. more local shopping.

Bill’s most recent book, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, is a fascinating read.


Everyblock out of the gate

Congratulations to the Everyblock team… they just launched this new service in Chicago, New York and San Francisco…

EveryBlock filters an assortment of local news by location so you can keep track of what’s happening on your block, in your neighborhood and all over your city.

Powerful stuff.  I might subscribe to an RSS feed of my neighborhood if I lived in a large city… but I doubt I’d visit regularly.  Also I wonder if the info flow will be appropriately scaled.  That is, if Everyblock delivers a phone book worth of minutia every day for one neighborhood… that’s too much.  And too little info flow doesn’t work either.

Looks like they’re on to something powerful. They seem to be making good use of the free $1.1M gift given by the old newspaper money people at Knight.