Anecdotes are piling up of increased neighborliness in areas with vibrant Front Porch Forums. People seem more willing to see those living around them as neighbors worth getting to know vs. strangers who happen to live a few doors away once an FPF neighborhood forum breaks the ice. Some such stories are collected on our testimonials and media pages.
It’s wonderful to watch low-level online exchanges build up over time and feed positive face-to-face interaction. FPF postings come from nearby neighbors and each is automatically signed with the sender’s full name, street and email address. After dozens of messages about babysitters, car break-ins, furniture for sale, free baby strollers, roofer recommendations, public policy opinions and more, people begin to get to know their actual neighbors’ virtual personalities, interests, opinions, etc. When they do meet face-to-face, the foundation has been laid for a neighborly exchange.
Kevin Harris reports on three new publications that “contribute significantly to the arguments around neighbourliness, informality, and informal social control.” From the introduction of Respect in the Neighbourhood:
The challenge is to replenish society’s depleted stock of skills in engaging and recognising the legitimate interests of others… to hone our readiness to show consideration to others, whether we know them or not. It’s not that we don’t do this: it’s just that we tend to avoid doing it with those with whom we have little in common. It’s as if – conditioned to the taciturnity of the supermarket checkout rather than the inevitable greetings of the corner shop – we have abandoned the practice of conducting trivial interactions, because they don’t matter to us. But they do matter, and we need somehow to rediscover the vernacular of mundane encounters.
Posted in: Community Building, Local Online, Stories
Ghost of Midnight is an online journal about fostering community within neighborhoods, with a special focus on Front Porch Forum (FPF). My wife, Valerie, and I founded FPF in 2006... read more