Front Porch Forum seems to be sweeping through neighborhoods like a social epidemic. A few people in a neighborhood get “infected” and nothing much happens for awhile. Then – BAM – 20, 50, then 100 households join in short order and start sharing messages with neighbors through their online forum. A new family moves into the neighborhood and is “infected” by several neighbors almost before they unpack.
Thanks to John Horchner, an FPF member, for suggesting Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point (2000) vis-a-vis the spread of Front Porch Forum across our initial metro area. From Gladwell’s reading guide:
The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. At what point does it become obvious that something has reached a boiling point and is about to tip?
Of our current crop of 130 neighborhood forums, about one-third have “tipped” in our first few months of operation, that is, they have a critical mass of engaged members putting their forum to good use. Most got there when a resident decided to make it happen and went door-to-door with a flyer. Others were sparked by local media attention. Some were pushed over the threshold by a neighborhood controversy playing out through their forum.