Monthly Archives: October 2008

Neighbors step up for lost puppy

I was glad to read on an FPF neighborhood forum in Burlington’s New North End that woman who had found a lost puppy had found the owners.  Good news!

I did get a lot of responses offering help [from my Front Porch Forum posting].  Many people offered to take the dog in until the owner was found, others offered to help put up notices in the neighborhood and others gave support by offering food and such to help me while I looked for the owner. Using the front porch forum really brought the community together for a small little dog, that I truly fell in love with in just over 24 hours.  Thanks.

It’s a little thing… one tiny lost pup… but this kind of event, played out over and over starts to make a real change in a neighborhood… starts to enhance the sense of community, build the lines of communication, show what’s possible.

RSS Adoption at 11%?

Mike Boland blogs about the dismal market penetration of RSS…

State Rep. Uses Front Porch Forum to call for Boycott

Matt Ryan reported for the Burlington Free Press today…

Vermont campaign signs along Vermont 15 in front of the Essex Junction Shopping Center have prompted a departing state legislator to call on citizens to boycott businesses within the center — even though the businesses’ managers said they had nothing to do with the signs.

Rep. Peter Hunt, a Democrat from Essex Junction, wrote in a post on Front Porch Forum on Oct. 17 that he would stop shopping at Aubuchon Hardware, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Sherwin-Williams, Quality Bake Shop or “any of the individual store (sic) who have taken this political stance as long as they have these signs on Pearl Street.”

“I am disappointed that these business (sic) have chosen to a (sic) political stance to support candidates from one party,” Hunt wrote. “This is completely out of line.”

He concluded with, “I hope all of you will also shop in other stores.”

More than a dozen FPF subscribers have responded on our service, none in agreement with Rep. Hunt’s call.

Making good neighborhoods better

Sometimes I wonder if Front Porch Forum’s service is a good fit for a neighborhood that is already tight-knit… if everyone already seems to know one another, why would they need FPF?  So the comment from Becky today regarding her neighborhood in South Burlington, VT, was especially appreciated…

I know I speak for many in our neighborhood when I say that your service has brought us closer as a community. We do have a special place here… and we can now communicate through your great site.

Knight News Challenge 2009!

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is opening up the third round of its News Challenge.

We’re giving away around $5 million in 2009 for the development and distribution of neighborhood and community-focused projects, services, and programs.

If you have a great idea that will improve local online news, deepen community engagement, bring Web 2.0 tools to local neighborhoods, develop publishing platforms and standards to support local conversations or innovate how we visualize, experience or interact with information, we’d like to see it! You have the opportunity to win funding for your project and support within a vibrant community of media, tech, and community-oriented people who want to improve the world.

Knight News Challenge

Deadline Nov. 1, 2008.  The good folks at Knight have a hand in so many great projects that it’s tough to keep track.  We’ll be submitting an application to take Front Porch Forum to the next level… the two paragraphs above describe FPF to a tee.  We were honored previously this year to be involved in a couple Knight initiatives.




Wayward yarn, missing ring and good neighbors

Not a day goes by when we don’t hear a story of some little neighbor-to-neighbor success facilitated through Front Porch Forum.  Here are two from this week.  First, Joel wrote to his nearby neighbors, titled “Unlikely Yarn”…

Folks – about a week ago, a wind must have blown someone’s knitting project into my driveway – some half-finished scarves and a great deal of yarn, some of it dangling from the rooftops. Anyway – I’ve gathered it up into a somewhat tidy pile. Someone must be missing this (or now resentful that I’ve found something he/she tossed to the wind in frustration). -Joel

And today we heard back from him…

My post on a knitting project that ended up in my driveway got a happy ending: a neighbor’s car was broken into and the stuff tossed. She read my note and has it back, tangled but safe.

And in a different neighborhood, Ann posted…

I found a man’s wedding ring at Calahan Park on Wednesday Oct.7 at around 2:00. Please call Ann and describe the ring.

A day later it was reunited with Jess who figured it was lost and gone forever!

Now I see that Joel is at it again with…

Folks – I came across a bundle of keys hanging from a tree near northeast corner of South Union and Beech.  Any ideas?

I hope another match is made!

Homethinking compares neighborhoods across cities

More from Peter Krasilovsky today…

Homethinking, which rolls out a service today that lets users compare neighborhoods in cities. An art gallery lover in Soho, for instance, might find the 7th street corridor in Washington D.C. to be their place. Gramercy Park is considered a match for Nob Hill in San Francisco.

Center’d integrates people, places and plans

Mike Boland posted today about a conversation with Center’d’s CEO who…

positions the company as a deeper dive into events, which breaths more functionality into all of the nuances of planning local outings. With the tag line, people, places, plans, it also brings in some social features and local search functionality.

The value proposition lies in the integration of these otherwise disparate local media categories. The idea is that a group of friends can plan a weekday dinner outing, find the location, read reviews (Yelp integration), invite people, and set up a landing page as a central source for event management. One can argue that this already exists with Google Maps, Yelp, and Evite, but the main point is that it doesn’t exist all in one place.

Center’d formerly was known as FatDoor.

Alleged vandal faces prosecution in wake of community response

Burlington Police Officer Mike Hemond posted an update on Front Porch Forum today about a well-publicized vandalism case (this blog, Seven Days and Burlington Free Press).

Hello everyone, it’s been a pretty steady late summer / fall for me, so I’ve not been able to post on the Forum for a bit. I’d just like to take a minute to get two updates out, if you have a few minutes to spare:

I wanted to let everybody know that in regards to the VENSR graffiti case, the first hurdle in the process has now been cleared. He was charged, as everyone knows, and then the case grew to include acts in 3 different towns, in large part due to the community response. The suspect was arraigned a short time ago, and the judge ‘found probable cause’ and released the suspect on a court order. This means that the case was sent by the police to the State’s Attorney, reviewed and submitted to the Court by the State at arraignment, and then reviewed by the Judge and found to have merit, an arraignment held, and now the case is in the ‘pre-trial’ process. SA Donovan has elected to prosecute this case himself, and considering the workload over there, that’s no small thing.

In other news, information in this case was also rolled into another occurrence of vandalism, so a second, smaller, string of graffiti cases was solved as well. That individual was also cited into criminal court, and I anticipate SA Donovan taking a firm line on that case as well.

So in short, somewhere on the order of 60+ charges were filed in two strings of cases, the first one closed with help from the community, and  the second closed with the aid of information gained in the first. It’s a great example of a neighborhood getting involved, stepping up to the plate and hitting a home run!

Thanks again to all those who helped out, and I’ll see you on the sidewalks.

Pay-per-post comes to Angie’s List?

Peter Krasilovsky reports today

Getting people to submit reviews is hard. We’ve seen incentives such as $5 coffee cards (a lot), $10 gas cards, and direct donations to charity (InsiderPages‘ current model)…

This month, Angie’s List, a paid service founded in 1995 that counts 650,000 members… launches a review campaign with the biggest review incentive we’ve seen yet: a free Flip video camera for 15 submissions. The camera is worth about $120. Reviewers also get entered into a $5,000 sweepstakes.

The twist is that all 15 reviews must be for local services, and three of the submissions must be for Angie’s new medical category. The reports on Angie’s List aren’t likely to be rushed affairs, since each one follows a template with six questions — and your name is on it.

Whether you call them the “Three Ms” – members, messages and moolah – or the “Three Cs” – community, content and cash – one of the three critical elements to any Web 2.0 site is “user generated content.”  Those with the magic attract content, while others pay for it.  Some people get bent out of shape about this kind of thing… see it as a sin against all things webby and wonderful.  Not me.

Angie’s List is an established successful big business.  They charge people to participate and now they pay  people in certain cases to write their reviews.  This seems similar to the business of publishing as we’ve always known it… a publisher pays a writer to write and then sells the writing to readers for a fee.

Front Porch Forum does not charge its members to participate… to read or to write… although we have given away a few donated ball game tickets and gift certificates in raffles among members who posted recently.  Who knows what the future will bring?

I think we’ll see more and more experiments among Web 2.0 sites to capture a greater share of the three Cs.  Or is it the “Three Rs?”  Readers, ‘riters, and revenue.  Gotta have lots of all three!

UPDATE:  Andrew Shotland chimed in too.