Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

More about FPF on

Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 by No comments yet

Mark Glaser at’s MediaShift wrote about FPF previously and yesterday

When I put the question to MediaShift readers about where they get neighborhood news, I was inundated by fans of the Front Porch Forum service in Burlington, Vermont…

Normally I tend to discount these types of write-in campaigns, but I have to admit that I like what Front Porch Forum is doing. The service is currently in a test phase covering 130 neighborhoods around Burlington. You can only sign up for the neighborhood you live in, and then you start getting email newsletters with news tidbits, items for sale, business openings, and more — submitted by people in the neighborhood. They are closed lists that aren’t accessible to the public, and each posting includes the person’s name, mailing address and email address to verify who they are…

It will be interesting to see if this closed approach via email — similar to the closed approach of the early Facebook — will foster a better way of keeping tabs on community news beyond Burlington. And of course, the question remains how to make money off of email lists, and including local businesses in the mix…

Thanks to Mark for the coverage. It’s a fair description of FPF; however, I think the email aspect of our service needn’t be over emphasized. Email is the best primary distribution method for the our audience currently. That’ll change over time. In our flagship neighborhood, 90% of the households subscribe with 50% posting content in the past six months… that includes folks in their 80s on down to teens looking for babysitting jobs. They all use email. They don’t all use RSS, text messaging, Facebook, etc. In a sense, we’re hosting a bunch of private group blogs… each one focused on a neighborhood… but we’re using email for now.

Posted in: Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Media, Social Media

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