Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

What to do when a friend asks you to post her message on your FPF neighborhood forum…

Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2008 by No comments yet

We frequently are asked about what’s “allowed” to be posted on Front Porch Forum.  Here’s a sample inquiry from this morning in one of our neighborhood forums…

For Michael – or whoever does policy decisions – I’ve been approached by a colleague to use my access to the Shelburne portion of the Front Porch Forum to circulate a survey (questionnaire).  I’m not sure that celebrates the spirit of the forum and want to know what your take on that is.  I know you do some editing as to the nature of the requests that go out and the person who asked me to use my access to distribute a survey mentioned that they, for some reason couldn’t (or didn’t feel comfortable) approaching the whole network with the survey.  What’s our policy – I’m in no hurry to distribute surveys through the Forum, but respect the colleague and want to help her, IF this is not an abuse of the Forum. I can tell you more about content if this is something we might entertain further.

My response…

Thanks for your inquiry.  In short… yes, please feel free to post the survey on your own FPF neighborhood forum.

The intent of Front Porch Forum is to help neighbors connect and foster community within the neighborhood/town.  This happens when clearly identified nearby neighbors communicate online… and, when it’s working, eventually more and more offline.  So, like a good block party, we don’t care about the topics of conversation… we just want a good crowd of folks to get together online and chat… heavy stuff, light… politics, work-related… weather or speed bumps… missing cats or a found cell phone… selling your car or trying to get a summer job for your teenager… whatever folks want to post about is fair game (with a few reasonable excepts… no person attacks, and we discourage repetition).

We know FPF is successful when we get reports that the conversation is moving from the virtual to the actual front porch.

One other point… we also encourage folks to do as your colleague has done… reach out to personal networks to spread messages (lots of nonprofits do this with their events).  Again, it all goes toward nearby neighbors getting to know each other in micro-steps.  E.g., someone in one neighborhood posted an announcement for a disease fundraiser, and another neighbor (stranger) saw it this week and was delighted… her little girl has the same medical condition and now plans to connect with this person.

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

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