Posted on Sunday, February 7, 2010 by Michael
Update: Just heard from Knight… guess our proposal is back in the running. More later.
Original post: Regrettably, the Knight News Challenge judges weren’t swayed by Front Porch Forum‘s proposal enough to take us beyond the second round of judging this year. We’re glad that we made it into the top 10% of thousands of project ideas from around the globe, but it’s tough to take “no” nonetheless.
1, 2, 3… deep breath… okay, enough of that… onward and upward. Lots of other irons in the fire, not to mention the our daily work of meeting the needs of our 17,000 subscribers back home (which include nearly half of our dear state’s largest city!). These are exciting times for FPF… more good news to come soon.
And… the comments coming in on the Knight News Challenge website pack their own punch. Here’s a sample…
- twitter, twotter, facebook, oh bother… I think most of social media is a grand waste of time (and, yes, I’ve read what the fanboys say). this proposal above, though, sounds genuine… gets my vote
- It IS genuine – I’m a loyal user and it’s changed my neighborhood and our quality of life!
- Front Porch Forum has fundamentally changed my ability to be in touch with my town, its happenings, and its institutions. It could easily do the same for other communities.
- The comment I hear most often about FPF in my community is, “I love it!” FPF has greatly invigorated the spirit of connectedness in my town.
- I know this service from its pilot in Vermont and it’s more impressive than they let on. This would be a better country if every neighborhood and small town had access to a Front Porch Forum.
- I actually feel more secure knowing that this communications tool exists. It’s another crucial element of balance in this expanding, globalizing society, akin to the localvore/regional food system movement – it’s about bringing it home, discovering and recognizing the deep, rich resources we have right in our own neighborhoods. I am so grateful to Michael and his team!
- I live in a suburban area where Front Porch Forum has increased the connection between neighbors who seldom see one another during a normal work week. I also work in a very rural area – the Champlain Islands – where communication between neighbors is often difficult. The arrival of Front Porch Forum was greeted with excitement and its use is increasing daily. FPF is a tremendous asset to both kinds of communities.
- FPF dos let us know about what is going on in the neighboring blocks. It is an added security tool, and great for finding lost bikes and dogs, and where to borrow equipment.
- The ice is ready on Gillette Pond!! We’re organizing materials to go to Haiti! I lost my dog…need to borrow a rototiller/posthole digger/buy and share a lawnmower…come to a potluck/interested in doing yoga together? carpool needed ..I LOVE FPF…especially in these hectic (and here in VT,in the winter, frigid) times it’s often difficult to connect with our neighbors-it’s been an amazing resource. We have no local daily paper and houses can be far apart. FPF builds and reinforces comunity.
- In these times of relative isolation, even in our own neighborhoods, Front Porch Forum provides an easy convenient way to connect in many ways.
- Front Porch Forum is an awesome grass roots tool. It helps to get information that you may not see in the usual places out to people in an expedited manner. It also allows people to make connections and ask questions they may not be able to address in other ways.
- The forum has changed the small town that I live in by allowing us to connect to one another, spread the word about local government and school issues, save money, recyle, and inform the community about upcoming events, all while being free and easy to use. PLEASE consider providing one of your grants to this amazing project so that it can spread to even more rural Vermont!!
- I was lucky enough to hear a personal proposal from Michael. His product deals directly with a issue that communities are facing, closed doors and no interaction with neighbors. When I was growing up the neighborhood helped raise the kids. Neighbors watched out for neighbors and if someone’s child was doing wrong the parents knew about it before the child got home. We live in a “sue crazy” society where people are afraid to interact with other people for fear of repercussion. This helps bridge a communication gap between neighbors and leads to handshakes on the property lines and beyond.
- Those of us in the Rural Communities of Vermont wait patiently for access to Front Porch Forum. We are faced we the emergent need to build social capital and cultivate resilient neighborhoods…FPF has proven to do exactly this, time and time agian. Help us spread the :I’m working with my community on a downtown revitalization project, and Front Porch Forum is helping us reach a significant number of people who care about what is happening close to home and want to get involved. The momentum we are creating is magnified in significant ways by FPF….as an added bonus, FPF helped me find my cat.
- FPF is just the very best thing that happened in my neighborhood. I work at home and FPF has allowed me to know more people in my neighborhood, and to find help I need for work, as well as services for my personal life. I would be lost without it.
- I save comments from time to time. Even find out that there are neighbors available for work such as electricians,plumbers and yes the fundraisers are very important. I enjoy being kept abreast of community functions from all venues. I am retired now and expect to participate even more in FPF. I know many people all over our small state and would find this an excellent tool for keeping contacts active. As it turns out our statewide newspaper does not do a very good job at the local level..
- Our neighborhood is much more connected since joining FPF. A wonderful way to interact, post requests, respond to others, keep aware of relevant events & issues.
- FPF is an incredible community-building tool – especially in the depths of Vermont’s winter! And what’s surprised me is how effective it has been at using technology to develop in-person relationships… invariably conversations that start on the forum continue on our real front porches.
- Hi – Vermont is a very rural state and everything that we can do to foster a better sense of Community is vital. FPF helps to fill that gap for both folks that are in their communities all tha time and also for folks who work full time and don’t always hear the latest news right away. It’s a way to stay conencted and cultivates a feeling of belonging that everyone needs to stay psotitve and healthy! I would just love to see FPF receive the funds to get the upgrades they need!
- Front Porch Forum has done so much to help me get to know my small community.
- I find Front Porch Forum a great way to reach people who otherwise tend to avoid traditional media outlets. I work for public library and reach many of our community members by posting to the Forum. I’ve also found it a great help personally — I found my cat sitter, located an owner for a lost pet, and helped a friend get rid of her piano through the Forum.
- There’s no question that FPF has increased civic participation and interest in our region. Our city councilors can let us know about important government meetings affecting our neighborhood; neighbors can describe concerns with development proposals; people announce house meetings to meet candidates. But there are also just neighborly interactions, too — like finding out that a higher schooler down the block is selling taking orders for poinsettias for a fund-raiser, or that someone is willing to pick up unused canning jars. There’s nothing like FPF anywhere. But there should be!!
- I live in a very small town, but am often surprised at happenings, events and information I miss out on because I hadn’t read or heard about it in time. Neighbors and friends I’ve shown the website to agree…this would be a huge asset to our community, and I look forward to the day FPF heads South to my neck of the woods…
- I’ve lived in the same corner of Vermont for 40 years. Although I used to know everyone on the road, the area has gone through rapid change. I’ve met many new neighbors through FPF, first electronically and then in person. I’d like to see its capabilities expanded so it could be used for coordinating rides from outlying towns into Burlington.
- As an elected official, FPF helps me connect with constituents to get out important info and to learn what’s important in each neighborhood in my town. It has the power to revolutionize local gov’t. Now, if only I could figure out how to rate this project the “5” it deserves. My computer isn’t able to click on the stars, which I presume is how one does so. Please post instructions for using your rating system. Thank you!
- FPF is “hyper-local” done right. Its model of connecting neighbors is both effective and scaleable. This service brings people together face to face more than any online community or social network can. It is the builder of neighborhood block parties, the coordinator of PTA meeetings. In an era where many of us are losing touch with our local government, FPF is rebuilding those bridges in ways they never existed before.
- FPF has fostered a sense of pride in our neighborhood, helped us support our neighbors, and has resolved issues such as traffic, pets off of leashes, etc. It really makes our neighborhood a much happier, safer, and friendlier place to live.
- Hearing the things I have about FPF – and I’ve heard glowing reviews from more than one source – makes me wish that FPF would expand into our area (Washington DC). While our neighbors all seem to be friendly and get along well, it is difficult to make real connections. I think FPF could help with that.
- FPF has the potential to connect people in a way that the virtual Front Porch Forum becomes an actual front porch gathering of neighbors. The value this adds to the community is immeasurable.
- I am a Front Porch Forum user. I would urge the Proposal to more clearly explain just why it has become so popular, attracting a remarkably high percentage of residents to use it. It’s ease of use should be stressed. I’ve found it much easier to use than listservs or email groups. The variety of ways it is being used is amazing. It’s really being driven by the interests of people who live in the various neighborhoods that Front Porch Forum serves. You’ll find discussions/debates about political issues; you’ll find neighborhood alerts (e.g., neighbors notifying each other recent thefts, lost cats, misplaced keys); you’ll find requests for recommendations (e.g., for electricians, carpenters); and much more. But, I need to come back to how easy it is to use. It is well-organized and doesn’t overwhelm users with lots of separate email messages. This is one reason so many residents are using it. Again, make this clearer in your proposal.
Posted in: Civic Engagement, Community Building, Democracy, Front Porch Forum, Knight Foundation, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Neighborhood, Newspapers, social capital, Social Networking, Stories, Vermont