Monthly Archives: June 2007

Local Online Community Resources

A couple of interesting resources for folks interested in fostering community locally via the internet…

  1. What to look for in a neighborhood website – eNeighbors.com blog
  2. The New West FAQ for Online Community Journalism Enterpreneurs

Thanks to Peter K. for the New West tip.

Kudos for Front Porch Forum

Burlington seems to be suffering an increase in break-ins, vandalism and the like.  Much is shared on the various neighborhood forums hosted by FPF.  Local officials weigh in too.  Here’s a gem that just arrived on the ONE East Neighborhood Forum from Tim this evening…

I’d just like to offer some kudos here:

* to Front Porch Forum for creating a medium for neighbors to communicate issues quickly and easily
* to the police and government officials of all types for watching and responding to this forum on a regular basis

I think I can speak for most members of the community and say this:  Whether or not we are satisfied with every response we receive, we appreciate everything our officials are doing to improve and maintain our quality of life.  We have to acknowledge that FPF has created a communication path and that its being used, successfully, by our community.

Thanks Tim!

Congratulations Ms. Moose and Baby!

HELLO MOOSE LOVERS: Please check out the photos below (and here’s another moose photo taken by a friend in her Vermont neighborhood) and then stop by our core website… the national award-winning Front Porch Forum… 30% of our pilot city subscribes already!  Cheers.


A Front Porch Forum member of the Hinesburg Village Neighborhood Forum posted this today…

Yup, we are still in the sticks, no matter how developed we are. Must be getting crowded in the swamps as well.

Followed by this note from his Colchester, VT friend with these incredible photos…

In my 5 years in Colchester, I have never seen a newborn baby moose. This one was not even a half a mile from our house. The mother picked a small quiet neighborhood and had her baby in the front yard at 5:30 am We were out bike riding when we came upon the pair. The lady across the street from this house told us she saw it being born. We saw them at 5:30 pm . So the little one was 12 hours old. What an awesome place we live in to see such a site.

[See the comments below… seems that this moose mom and babe might hail from Alaska, not Colchester!]

People who don’t know they need FPF

Got the following note from a Front Porch Forum member today…

I have been part of my Huntington forum for several months and think it is wonderful. Thank you for launching such a great community builder! I was hesitant at first to join the forum, only because in Huntington we have a wonderful/helpful/supportive community already. Once I joined, though, I realized how helpful it can be! I am in contact with neighbors I hadn’t known that well – it just serves to widen my “circle.”

With people who are already super-plugged into their neighborhood, Front Porch Forum seems to get one of two initial rections… (1) “Great, where do I sign up” or (2) “No thanks… I already know everything and everybody.” The member above was, in some ways, a (2) who forced herself to check it out anyway… good for her!

In most cases, I’ve given up trying to convince the second category of folks. However, they often come on board some months later after FPF comes up over and over.

More Blog Posts from Scoble Video

A couple more postings in the blogosphere after Robert Scoble’s video interview about Front Porch Forum

Bloggers Picking Up on Front Porch Forum

Robert Scoble’s video post about Front Porch Forum is generating some interesting blog pieces elsewhere. Here’s Happy Pixels

I just met my neighbor a few days ago on Facebook, so the idea of a neighborhood-specific social networking site really peaks my interest.

I’m tempted to paste in brandsavant’s entire post… good stuff. Here’s part of it…

Today I offer two disparate links, and the opportunity that connects them. Link one is to a new start-up called Front Porch Forum, a hyper-local social networking site that focus less on snappy, Ajax-y cell phone twitters than it does getting the guy across the cul-de-sac to pick up his dog poop. The service is designed to help busy neighbors connect without having to juggle time commitments–it’s really a continuous, asynchronous town meeting for people who want to be plugged in to their neighborhood but lack the time, connections or perhaps the wherewithal to do it in person.

Here’s some more (check out the map… a big motivator behind FPF’s creation)…

Why is this service so popular, nay, necessary? The aforementioned lack of time is one reason, but another is the way that neighborhoods have changed over the past few decades. As the real front porches disappear from modern residential architecture, fewer and fewer of us actually know our neighbors beyond those immediately adjacent to our houses (and sometimes, not even them). Because people know less and less about their neighbors, they are more and more nervous about letting their kids run around the streets like many of us probably did when we were children, because people no longer have the sense that “the neighborhood” is looking out for them.

For evidence, look no further than link number two for the day, this article in The Daily Mail that illustrates the ever-shrinking world that most children of urban areas are allowed to access. Especially revealing is this map of the areas that children have been allowed to roam and play in four generations of a specific family in Sheffield, England:


I love this map as an illustration, and I hate this map as a father. You know this instinctively to be true, however–we don’t know who is out there, and we no longer trust in our social networks to look after our kids because they just don’t extend as far as they used to. Sure, we have 10,000 “contacts” on LinkedIn, or hundreds of “friends” on Twitter, but we know less and less about our neighbors.

People are flocking to this new pilot of Front Porch Forum because they feel the same way, and are looking for modern ways to cure an ill of modern life.

PodTech features Front Porch Forum

Robert Scoble and I talked on camera about Front Porch Forum during a party at Googleplex NYC last month… part of the Personal Democracy Forum.

Truly Local Online Sites sell Ads

The Local Onliner reports today

I love to see examples of grassroots innovation in local online marketing. One of my favorites is an e-newsletter from Sprocket Entertainment, the producers of a local comedy night in my hometown of Carlsbad, CA.

Sprocket is a startup by two comedians which also produces shows in Spokane, WA. It gets everyone to sign up for the newsletter when they use PayPal to buy tickets to their once-a-month event at a renovated theater, which they consider an alternative night out for “people who aren’t into loud music and pickup bar scenes.”

So far, Carlsbad Inn, Overstock Spas, Spoon Grill & Bar, and Tamarack Beach Resort have all signed up. From the looks of things, Sprocket is doing about as well with local advertisers as more concerted efforts by Carlsbad.com, a chain of beach town city guides.

Some similarities with Front Porch Forum here. We’re testing the waters with local sponsors… a half-dozen have signed on during our testing phase, including…

Another 70 or so have joined our waiting list as we move beyond testing in the months ahead.

Local.com and Expedia get Chummy

Local.com announced a deal with Expedia.com for local travel. Peter Krasilovsky reports

Local.com is in a different “local” category. It aggregates a ton of local content and features, but it doesn’t necessarily vie with the local Yellow Pages or local search sites, for everyday local traffic.

I mean, it would if it could. It has added a lot of functionality. But mostly, with its easy-to-remember URL (which it paid $700k for), and helpful grab-bag of local features, the site gets its traffic from the type of occasional user who aren’t particularly adept at using Google, or too impatient to do so. It claims quite a few of those – 10 million every month.

$700,000 for a URL… I just wanted to type that once.

Yahoo! Mngt. changes and Local Online?

Yahoo‘s CEO is out, replaced by one of the founders.  Other juggling around in progress.  The Local Onliner and others are speculating what that might mean for Yahoo’s local efforts.