Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Social Networking’s Great Contribution?

Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2008 by No comments yet

Steven Clift made an interesting proposal on MediaShift Idea Lab at the other day…

Why not declare a night once a year in late January as “National Night On”? (“On” as in “online.”)

Go for it Steven! And he went on to write…

What bugs me about the Internet, even the rise of social networking, most of the investment tends to reinforce existing ties – friends and family – and the tools that build new ties are more about professional networking (LinkedIn) or dating. There is a huge difference between publicizing private life online and creating open and accessible online spaces for local public life. There are a few projects like E-Democracy.Org’s neighborhood forums in Minnesota and England, the Front Porch Forum in Vermont, and the Annenberg School’s i-neighbors, and many independent efforts trying to create larger neighborhood-wide exchange, but nothing that I know of designed to be peer-to-peer two-way is essentially block-level based.

A growing number of “social networking + local online” efforts are in that first group mentioned above… making it easier to keep up with old contacts. This can further exacerbate the very problem that Front Porch Forum and others are designed to address… isolation from the people you live next to. FPF is all about helping neighbors get to know each other and build community within the neighborhood.

Posted in: Community Building, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Media, Neighborhood, Social Networking

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