Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Amazing Event in NYC

Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 by 6 comments

The Personal Democracy Forum was intense! Amazing that Front Porch Forum landed me on the agenda alongside the CEO of Google, the founder of Craigslist, best selling authors, a thrice Pulitzer Prize winner, several web advisers to presidential campaigns, A-list political bloggers, top academics, other VIPs, and lots of up-and-comers. I was and am honored and thankful to Micah Sifry for the invitation.

I learned much from the various sessions and hallway conversations. Here’s a photo from Steve Garfield of one panel’s audience (with me typing away on the floor in the foreground),

and another by Caviar

Front Porch Forum was very well received by a several folks I met there, but not all. Our approach is different enough that it requires a ready and open mind to understand it, and in a “30-second elevator pitch” environment that can be a challenge. That’s fine… many there were eager to know more.

Part of my pitch…

Imagine much of today’s social media occurring among clearly identified nearby neighbors, instead of anonymous distant strangers.  It’s happening with Front Porch Forum where 20% of our pilot city has subscribed in our first half-year.  Every plumber recommendation, restaurant review, piece of citizen journalism, classified ad, etc. posted not only gets a direct result, but all those messages add up to neighbors getting to know each other and build real community in their neighborhood.  People LOVE it!

The speakers’ cocktail party the night before the event was hosted by Google at their NYC digs… definitely not your usual cubicle farm. Here’s the view (thanks to Steve Garfield again)…

Posted in: Front Porch Forum, PDF2007, Social Media


  1. Arjun Singh says:

    Michael – great to meet you at PDF 2007. I really really like your project.

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks Arjun… great to meet you. Every person with a local focus that I meet LOVES Front Porch Forum… folks close to the ground tend to get it right away.

    I testified to our city council tonight on an unrelated issue and it was gratifying to look at all 14 members and the Mayor and realize that they all subscribe and make good use of Front Porch Forum.

  3. It was good to see you again at PDF, Michael. It’s true that most of these folks get why local is important in the abstract, but they have spent so many years trying to figure out how to broadcast their messages to masses that many can’t REALLY wrap their heads around it.

    We made a few steps in the right direction in the local blogging session at the unconference (which Arjun attended – hi!). Apparently we inspired at least one new local blog, which will be covering Brooklyn’s Chinatown neighborhood!

  4. Michael says:

    Good to see you again too Ruby. I love the energy you bring to such events! I couldn’t stick around for the Saturday session… looks like a good time as well.

    Didn’t you and I touch on After multiple attempts to register this blog that never went anywhere, I got an official rejection notice yesterday… not “hyperlocal” enough. I replied, respectfully, that I post 2-3 times/week about Burlington, VT neighborhoods. I got a very nice reply from an staffer promising to take another look and offering a teaser of some new features coming next week.

    We shall see!

  5. […] It was a pleasure meeting Craig Newmark last month at the Personal Democracy Forum.  Mark Evans shares the following about Craigslist… Curious about Craigslist’s success? Then check out this podcast that founder Craig Newmark did with David Weinberger. Quote of the podcast from Newmark: “Everything on the site is based on user feedback. Frankly, I have no vision whatsoever.” At the mesh conference last week, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster dropped a few mind-blowing facts: […]

  6. […] Robert Scoble and I talked on camera about Front Porch Forum at a party hosted by Google NYC last month, as part of the Personal Democracy Forum. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *