Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Front Porch Forum Survey Results

Posted on Monday, May 12, 2008 by 2 comments

A Champlain College student recently conducted a survey of Front Porch Forum subscribers who live in Burlington, VT (about 30% of the households subscribe). About 390 responded (9%). Here are some of the results…

  • 80% have recommended FPF to neighbors
  • 91% would be disappointed if FPF’s service stopped
  • 90% think FPF improves their neighborhood
  • 60% feel that FPF makes local government more responsive to neighborhood needs
  • 52% feel that FPF makes the neighborhood safer
  • 78% feel that FPF makes their neighborhood more neighborly
  • 77% think FPF is a good place to voice their opinion
  • 64% have gotten involved in meetings and events due to FPF
  • 45% have spoken up on public policy debates due to FPF
  • 93% feel more civically engaged since joining FPF

As amazing as those results appear to be, the real fun is in the hundreds of comments left by the respondents. Samples…

“In the 24 years I’ve lived in this neighborhood, this is the only time I’ve ever been in such good touch with everyone.”

“I’ve come to use it as my primary source for knowing what cool stuff is going on in town, hearing news about school and city council, and check it as soon as I see it in my e-mail.”

“I’ve been able to connect with neighbors about babysitting jobs, school fundraisers, and sharing resources- I am moving in a few months and am disappointed that this service is not available in other states!”

“The information on the forum has been very helpful in understanding some of the local issues that were hard to figure out from the newspaper.”

“I think it creates more of a feeling of community and allows for opportunities to meet neighbors that we might not otherwise have had.”

“It gives a means of communication to those who don’t normally communicate. I’ve learned of neighbors I have simply by seeing the names of those who have signed up.”

“FPF lets me know what might be out there for help, neighbor to neighbor.”

“I think it allows us to communicate with the whole neighborhood – not just those we frequently encounter.”

“i think that the forum contributes to a better sense of community by linking us to each other. in the olden days, people would actually be SITTING on their front porches, but today’s pace of life makes that nearly impossible. this gives us a way to replicate the feeling, even if it is through cyberspace. in some cases, though, postings have led to actual face-to-face meetings, actions, gatherings, and personal contacts with people i have met through the forum.”

“The Forum is a great way to get to know your neighbors and community thereby making a safer, happier, friendlier and more responsible community.”

“I feel more connected and friendlier to my neighbors. There’s an environmental and financial benefit to sharing things.”

“I think it helps everyone to see everyone else as human beings.”

“It makes us feel like a friendly small town within a bigger town (Burlington).”

“It’s a great way to begin a connection with neighbors a few block away – neighbors with who you might not normally have a reason to interact.”

“I think the Forum improves the quality of life here in Burlington, because it’s connecting us more than we ever were before.”

“I have been impressed by the local politicians who have followed up on issues raised in the forum – typically issues like dog poop that nobody would bother actually calling a politician about – but once it’s brought up on the forum, stuff gets done.”

“It helps for neighbors to get to know each other. It’s how I met some of my neighbors and got their business for my petsitting.”

“Our neighborhood hasn’t come together per se, but I think it adds to the overall connectedness of the town, and it’s nice to meet someone you recognize from the forum walking down the street.”

“Gives opportunities for collaboration; gives a venue to ask for assistance.”

“It’s relevant to our own neighborhood so people read it or at least skim it daily. It’s very effective.”

“There were tips on the Forum for the past two winters about ice and snow accumulation that were dangerous safety hazards; public safety info from Fire Chief was helpful and a concern that was able to be fixed in our house (and we didn’t know there was a problem that needed attention).”

“I come from a small town, lived in an even smaller country village for 25 years and now live in Burlington. Helping a larger place like a city seem smaller and more accessible in neighborly ways is a big part of what the Forum does.”

“The most overwhelming thing was when my upstairs neighbors took in a refugee family for a few weeks. These people had arrived with only the clothes on their backs. I asked people if they could donate warm clothes and some toys for the family (4 children, 2 parents). The generosity of the neighborhood was overwhelming and people donated many very good quality things.”

“I asked about whether there were neighbors out there that wanted to get together informally to play music and found a couple of folks in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

“i organized a clean-up of a neighborhood park last spring and got a great response. Will do it again this year.”

“Seemingly everyone casually talking in the locker room one day at the YMCA had read the dialog about the Moran plant development and everyone from lawyers, advocates, and run of the mill guys were able to have a qualified discussion and ask good questions.”

“It provides me with a sense of community in my neighborhood. I feel like I actually live in a neighborhood!”

“I had been reading it for a long time, then one day, I decided that I wanted to remove the popcorn type of ceiling we have in our homes and asked for any help. I was AMAZED at how many people took the time to help out a neighbor they have never even met! It made me feel closer than I have in the 20 years we have lived here! It is Wonderful..and hope that others will also ask for help and even post their services, it would be nice to hire someone in the neighborhood to do work that is needed to be done around the home!”

“Even for those of us who don’t become activists, having access to neighborhood news helps us feel that we at least are aware of what is going on at a local level and gives us the option to be participants when we can.”

“Yes, it’s moved into it’s second phase, beyond the ‘bake sale’ announcement stuff to actual discussions on city policies, etc. Far better than the idiot forum comments in the Free Press, the FPF is definitely better.”

“I love the Forum! It definitely helps to make neighborhood connections. We found a one month rental for our in-laws in May (to celebrate a new baby), and it would have been very difficult to find something just up the street without the FPF. I love hearing about events or political matters through the forum, and it also helps to hear reports of crime or debates about appropriate behavior.”

“More than an expansion it’s often my only engagement. Or, if I become engaged outside of the Forum it’s because of an event I read on the Forum. I don’t read the paper or Seven Days. My only exposure to neighborhood and city events is my FPF. I read every issue.”

“I learn of politics and volunteer activities via the forum, and it helped me host a successful yard sale to send my parents on a much-delayed honeymoon for their 25th anniversary.”

“It’s a significant way I keep track of the things that interest me. There’s so much going on, sometimes I feel like even if I want to be at an event or to be engaged, there isn’t enough time or enough of me to go around. With front porch forum, I can thoughtfully select what I want to involve myself in… it’s a great tool.”

“I like the neighborhood news. I actually ended up meeting 2 or 3 people that I would never have met. I think that this is a great thing.”

Posted in: Burlington, Community Building, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Neighborhood, social capital, Social Networking, Stories, Updates and Admin, Vermont


  1. H. Lainey Rappaport says:

    I am a notary and also register of voters. I am also running on the ballot for Justice of the Peace. I would appreciate your support to get me elected, Thanks alot. Also if anyone wants to volunteer to help out during Sept. Nov. and March call the city clerks office and ask Margaret for more information. Thanks alot. If you can’t get out call Lori for an absentee ballot 865-7136.

  2. […] towns where we now operate. In Burlington, more than half of the households participate on FPF. An independent survey found […]

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