Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Forums induce behavior change directly?

Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 by No comments yet

As I reported in a recent post, some neighborhood forums are being used to elicit action from local leaders. In one case, the ONE East Neighborhood Forum’s ongoing discussion about college student noise and poor behavior as neighbors has been raging for weeks. And the City of Burlington and University of Vermont are now responding… that’s great!

And now another result… apparently the students themselves are starting to respond. Those who live off-campus in this neighborhood of lovely old homes (many of which have been split into multi-unit student dwellings) are joining Front Porch Forum too. They’re reading what the permanent residents are writing… about the late-night awakenings, the broken bottles, the “my kids’ swingset is not a toilet” remarks… it’s all starting to sink in for some students. This is a real neighborhood, full of real people, real families… time to shape up or move this behavior elsewhere.

I’ve been told of group discussions among students. One will say something like… “only students live here so we can do whatever we want… right?” Someone fires up the laptop and produces dozens of ticked off neighbors’ messages from Front Porch Forum. “Oh… I didn’t know. I’d never act this way back home.”

Ahh… to be 21 again. I, for one, didn’t know which way was up at that point in my life. [For the record, I now know which way “up” is… but with none of our young children consistently sleeping through the night, that’s all I’m willing to commit to right now.]

So, in addition to providing a place to vent and a way to organize neighbors to get an official response, Front Porch Forum appears to be directly effecting the parties involved… a civilizing impact.

P.S. I hear from some “official” type folks who have been working on this issue for years that they now can use Front Porch Forum postings as leverage to pry their higher-ups into action.

Posted in: Burlington, Community Building, Front Porch Forum, Neighborhood, Social Media, Stories, Vermont

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