Where do you turn when your car is broken into? Or when you need to borrow a stroller, find a reliable mechanic, sell your couch, or track down your AWOL dog? Increasingly in Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties, people turn to their nearby neighbors through Front Porch Forum (FPF).
After just three years of FPF’s service, 16,000 local households are participating. We publish in 140 neighborhoods across 25 towns in northwest Vermont… week in and week out. Local residents have posted 75,000 messages to their neighbors through FPF.
Our small band of committed staff are working day and night to keep this all going. We’re grateful for our local business partners and their support of our community-building mission. Their ads cover many of our expenses, but not all. If you enjoy and value Front Porch Forum, please become a supporting member today. WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW to maintain, improve and expand FPF. Please go to this web link to make your contribution via credit card, PayPal or check:
Considering that the local newspaper costs $15/month and a daily coffee drink can exceed $60/month, what is FPF worth to you? To your community?
It’s our privilege to offer our community-building service — a Vermont original — to so many people. We want to build on the success that you have made of FPF. As we grow, our business model is evolving to include this, our first annual member appeal. We have high hopes that FPF users like you will each contribute $12, $24 or $36 right now — or choose to make an automatic monthly contribution. Any amount is welcome and will make a difference. Please become an FPF supporting member here (credit card, PayPal or check):
Or send a check, payable to:
Front Porch Forum
PO Box 64781
Burlington, VT 05406-4781
(FPF is not a charity and contributions are not tax deductible.)
Your contribution is critical to keeping FPF going strong — and will be enormously appreciated. We look forward to serving you and your neighbors in the coming year.
Your FPF team,
Michael, Nina, Linda and Jamie
We get a version of this question again and again… “Is it allowed to post X on Front Porch Forum?” Well… for just about any “X” the answer is an emphatic and simple YES!
The whole idea behind Front Porch Forum is to give nearby neighbors an easy way to communicate… FPF doesn’t decide the topics, our members do. Here are some random recent sample headlines from across Grand Isle and Chittenden Counties…
I’m looking forward to a new book by two long-time Harvard professors… The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the 21st Century…
In today’s world, it is more acceptable to be depressed than to be lonely-yet loneliness appears to be the inevitable byproduct of our frenetic contemporary lifestyle. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, one out of four Americans talked to no one about something of importance to them during the last six months. Another remarkable fact emerged from the 2000 U.S. Census: more people are living alone today than at any point in the country’s history-fully 25 percent of households consist of one person only. In this crucial look at one of America’s few remaining taboo subjects-loneliness-Drs. Jacqueline Olds and Richard S. Schwartz set out to understand the cultural imperatives, psychological dynamics, and physical mechanisms underlying social isolation.
In The Lonely American, cutting-edge research on the physiological and cognitive effects of social exclusion and emerging work in the neurobiology of attachment uncover startling, sobering ripple effects of loneliness in areas as varied as physical health, children’s emotional problems, substance abuse, and even global warming. Surprising new studies tell a grim truth about social isolation: being disconnected diminishes happiness, health, and longevity; increases aggression; and correlates with increasing rates of violent crime. Loneliness doesn’t apply simply to single people, either-today’s busy parents “cocoon” themselves by devoting most of their non-work hours to children, leaving little time for friends, and other forms of social contact, and unhealthily relying on the marriage to fulfill all social needs.
As a core population of socially isolated individuals and families continues to balloon in size, it is more important than ever to understand the effects of a culture that idealizes busyness and self-reliance. It’s time to bring loneliness-a very real and little-discussed social epidemic with frightening consequences-out into the open, and find a way to navigate the tension between freedom and connection in our lives.
This is one of the central problems that Front Porch Forum addresses… and why we get such strong and emotional responses from folks. Many people simply yearn to connect with their neighbors, and in this day and age that’s not easy to do. Enter FPF.
How do you tell what kind of winter is coming to Vermont? Check your cat’s coat? Read the pattern of fall foliage? Me? I read Front Porch Forum. Postings like this one in Huntington today tell me we’re headed for a long, cold one…
A friend of mine, on Texas Hill Road, had his tank of home heating fuel siphoned and stolen. This happened sometime last Thursday night. The state police were notified of the robbery… The tank was recently filled so there was about 275 gals of fuel, therefore a large truck would have been needed to transport the fuel. The owner heard a sound and the automatic flood lights went on but was unable to see anyone. If anyone has any information about this please contact the Williston State Police. It’s a shame that someone would steal fuel from a long-time neighbor of ours. Especially when the fuel was to keep him warm this winter!!
I hope they find the bums! Bundle up.
Front Porch Forum is available to anyone who lives in one of these Vermont towns [list UPDATED 02/23/2011]…
Contact us if you want to sponsor FPF’s launch in your town. Join our growing list of launch sponsors: Grand Isle County sponsors, Orton Family Foundation, e-Vermont, Town of Johnson, Johnson State College, Comcast, Lake Champlain Islands Chamber, Franklin County Caring Communities, Franklin Central Supervisory Union, City of St. Albans, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, Revitalizing Waterbury, Town of Duxbury, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, and others
Andy Schroepfer at Rackspace wrote recently about the future of email vs. social media, texting, etc. Some, like today’s nutty Wall Street Journal article, declare the demise and coming death of email. Oh, puh-lease. And we all have paper-less offices, and radio disappeared the day after TV arrived, and the U.S. Postal Service is closing up shop tomorrow. We definitely have a rapidly evolving communication and media landscape, but seldom do the stalwarts just disappear.
In fact, email dominates the field over the likes of Twitter, FaceBook, texting, RSS, etc. Email is the default. That’s why Front Porch Forum uses it as a primary distribution path… we’re trying to reach EVERYONE in a local community, not just one clique or another. Anyway… here’s an interesting bit of data from Forrester Research…
I had the pleasure of introducing David Gershon’s work to Portland, Oregon more than a dozen years ago. So Mike Lindberg’s quote about David’s new book caught my eye…
“Social Change 2.0 exhilarates. David Gershon has not just laid out a compelling and coherent blueprint for social change, but the vividly written stories he shares make us realize that what we thought was impossible can actually be achieved. Having been a political leader in Portland for twenty years, where I worked closely with David, I saw firsthand the power of his work to change the lives of thousands of people. He may well be the number one expert on social change in our country.”
– Mike Lindberg, former Commissioner of Public Utilities and city council member, City of Portland, Oregon
What a pleasure to announce this… Starting immediately, the good people of Alburgh, Grand Isle, Isle La Motte, North Hero and South Hero, Vermont may subscribe to Front Porch Forum! If you live (or summer) there, please sign up today! And please tell your friends and contacts on the Islands to join FPF too.
A core group of organizers, led by Ruth Wallman of the local Chamber, Frank Driscoll, and Darcy Coates, have labored long to line up sponsors to support FPF’s launch in Grand Isle County. This is exciting stuff! So thanks to them, and to the these great launch sponsors (below). In fact, please take a moment to thank them and send some business their way!
If you’re new to Front Porch Forum and live (full or part-time) on the Islands, please sign up… it’s easy, free and won’t clog your inbox. Then go ahead and post a message to your neighbors. Want to know more? Take a tour or read what the local and national media have to say about FPF.
My family and I were happily surprised by the good folks at Burlington’s East Village Cohousing with their Award for National Neighborhood Day. The certificate reads in part…
for their creation of the Centennial Front Porch Forum, which has brought us together to lead creative and more peaceful lives with our neighbors [Centennial is the broader neighborhood in which East Village Cohousing resides)…
How flattering to be recognized by a group of thoughtful people already living in intentional community! Thanks to the cohousing folks!
P.S. I believe they have a couple of units open at this time for anyone looking for an incredible housing/community opportunity in Burlington. Details… click here.
Inman News columnist Gahlord Dewald posted a piece today aimed at real estate professionals about how they might make the most of social media tools. This clip caught my eye…
… If you expand beyond the “Big Three” social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you might find very specific platforms that align with your goals. For example, in Burlington, Vt., we have an awesome forum system called Front Porch Forum. This platform is highly targeted by neighborhood and operates via (wait for it …) e-mail.
Not what you might think of when you think super-new-cool technology. But FPF is a highly valued resource in our town. About 40 percent of the local population are members (and this is a college town). The neighbors talk about the neighborhood. Pretty relevant for a real estate professional.
Spending the time to locate active social media platforms that are topic-focused — to round out your me-focused Facebook-LinkedIn-Twitter participation — is a good idea…