Yearly Archives: 2007

Classic Neighiborhood Activity… Caroling

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 by No comments yet

People are using Front Porch Forum this season to organize Caroling in their neighborhoods… I’ve seen several examples already.  Here’s one from Burlington’s Old North End…

My neighbor and I on Pitkin St would love to carol on the solstice, Saturday Dec. 22, if we get a few more takers. We’re thinking of starting around 4:30, stopping at several households along the street, and ending with a little gathering (we can host, or we’re open to offers). We could use folks who can carry a tune or not, but have tolerant ears!

If you want to join us, or if you’d like us to stop and sing at your house, let me know. Happy solstice!

I’m looking forward to the annual Caroling with Carolyn on Caroline Street in our Five Sisters neighborhood.

“We don’t know our neighbors anymore.”

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 by No comments yet

From Sebastien Provencher today

“It is surprising. There is a crucial sense of community lacking in the metropolitan areas.”  –William O’Hare, co-author of a new study (.pdf) released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, talking about the plight of poor kids in rich US states. (found in the December 10th 2007 issue of Time Magazine).

In my opinion, urbanization in the 20th century has reduced the sense of community in large urban areas. We don’t know our neighbors (and neighborhoods?) anymore. It actually has become awkward to introduce ourselves to our neighbors. But, as Man is really a gregarious creature (we like to live in “tribes”), I’m a firm believer that the local social web will, in the future, help re-build the social tissue in large cities. These new web tools will allow us to maintain a basic privacy layer while removing some of the awkwardness in the system.

I agree with the diagnosis, but I’m not as certain with the prescribed cure.  Front Porch Forum is one effort working on a solution.

Craigslist: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 by No comments yet

Greg Sterling reports on his interview with Craig Newmark today… lots of good stuff.  I like this point because coincidentally we’ve been saying the same thing about Front Porch Forum

Newmark said that “In the race between tortoise and hare, we’re the tortoise.” And he described the site’s now 12-year history as one of “slow, continuous, undramatic growth.”

Of course, craigslist is now in about 450 cities (50 more coming soon) and Kevin Abramson reports

With 20 million monthly local visitors, Craigslist is the 28th largest Web domain in the U.S., according to Nielsen//NetRatings. And while the company does not disclose revenues, it will rake in an estimated $150 million in 2007. Not bad for a organization with 25 employees.

Babajob connects poor and elites

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 by No comments yet

A fascinating article in the New York Times was brought to my attention today (thanks Hubert) about

Babajob, by contrast, connects India’s elites to the poor at their doorsteps, people who need jobs but lack the connections to find them. Job seekers advertise skills, employers advertise jobs and matches are made through social networks.

Vermont Frost Heaves Ticket Give-Away

Posted on Sunday, December 9, 2007 by No comments yet

Congratulations to Carolyn of the South Union Neighborhood Forum… her name was plucked from the FPF hat today. She won a pair of Vermont Frost Heaves basketball tickets. Thanks to the many who entered and to the Frost Heaves. We’ll try again in January, so stay tuned!

Any local businesses interested in contributing prizes for another round of Front Porch Forum member drawings, please let me know. Happy holidays to all!

FPF in Ontario?

Posted on Sunday, December 9, 2007 by No comments yet

We’re always grateful for the kind words we hear from Front Porch Forum members… really keeps us working. Here’s a member from the FPF Huntington (VT) Neighborhood Forum today…

I’m going to school in Ontario, and I’d love to have a forum here too! Why aren’t there any for Canada?

So far we’re just focusing on our pilot area of greater Burlington, VT (USA). Although we’re exploring expansion opportunities.

And her follow up…

I didn’t realize the Front Porch Forum was actually such a local thing! That’s wonderful! I joined it recently, and it’s been a nice way to get news from home while I’m away at school. I know my parents are really utilizing it, and they’re not very internet savvy people.

I love the last line about her low-tech parents making great use of FPF… that’s right on target!

Google’s First Local Symposium

Posted on Friday, December 7, 2007 by No comments yet

I’ve been reading several postings about Google’s first Local Symposium that they hosted at their HQ the other day.  Here’s one.

The Story of Stuff

Posted on Friday, December 7, 2007 by No comments yet

The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute video that is worth seeing.  It’s moral jibes with Front Porch Forum‘s mission of fostering community with those around you.

It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Mailman earns neighbors’ appreciation

Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 by No comments yet

I know people like to knock big institutions… take the U.S. Postal Service for example. But we’ve got a great postal carrier and perfectly fine post office. And now today Amy in another part of Burlington posts this on her FPF neighborhood forum

Hi Everyone: By now, you may have heard that our wonderful postman, Ralph, is retiring, and his LAST DAY on the job is Wednesday December 19th. He’s like one of the family, and will be impossible to replace. SO – how about we make December 19th into a wonderful neighborhood send-off for Ralph? If everyone left him a card, and did something special to express our gratitude (balloons, banners, marching bands, whatever!), he’d know how much we appreciate his years of devoted service, and that he’ll be missed. Let’s get creative!

What a great neighborhood!

Yi-Tan, rBlock and FPF

Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 by No comments yet

Thanks to Jerry Michalski for inviting me to participate in his Yi-Tan Weekly Call today about community building at the neighborhood level.  There, I learned about other efforts, including…

LifeAt, Meet the Neighbors, Neighborology, i-neighbors, Front Porch Forum, TownConnect, Mesh Tennis and rBlock

Vivek Hutheesin, rBlock’s founder, offered many excellent insights.  And from his most recent blog posting

Fatdoor has just announced in Private Equity Hub their first-round financing through Norwest Venture Partners and their new CEO, Jennifer Dulski, from Yahoo!  Here is a quote from Jennifer, which I know is true from my own experience:

“Building online local communities that scale is an extremely difficult problem to solve, but the market opportunity is immense and consumers are craving a solution that will make this vision a reality.”

To address this immense market, any platform needs to first solve some very difficult problems in four areas – boundaries, applications, verification, and privacy.  rBlock believes that it has solved them all.  However to win a big share of this immense market, rBlock’s solutions must be integrated in a manner that leads to viral growth.  This requires, among other things, a user-interface that’s easy-to-use and scalable.  rBlock believes it has solved this too, paving the way for more plan execution than experimentation.