Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Connecting with constituents using social media #BTV #VT

Posted on Sunday, July 3, 2011 by 5 comments

Tyler Machado covered the local Social Media Day for Seven Days recently.  Congratulations to the many professional communicators recognized for their use of social media.  In part…

The day’s schedule included a fun panel discussion about how politicians use social media, with two politico Tweeters Burlington City Councilor Ed Adrian and State Rep./possible-mayoral-hopeful Jason Lorber and blogger-turned-State Senator Philip Baruth. Although Adrian’s a frequent Twitter user he’s been known to spar with fellow Tweeting city councilor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak at the same time they’re presumably debating in real life at council meetings he said that the social network that he finds most useful to connect with his constituents is actually neighborhood email service Front Porch Forum.

Councilor Adrian is not alone.  About 400 local public officials across 60 Vermont towns use FPF to connect with their constituents.  Unlike some social media, FPF reaches far beyond the usual suspects.  E.g., more than half of Burlington households participate in their FPF neighborhood forums, so elected leaders can reach a broad swath of the tax payers.

UPDATE:  Terri Hallenbeck weighed in too on her vt.Buzz blog.

Posted in: Burlington, Citizen Journalism, Front Porch Forum, Good Government, Knight Foundation, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Media, Neighborhood, Social Media, Stories, Vermont


  1. Lara says:

    “Unlike some social media, FPF reaches far beyond the usual suspects.” FPF certainly has value for individual neighborhoods but it is not a social media network. ListServ, message board, etc yes, but its too exclusive to be considered ‘social’. FPF is something else entirely.

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks for your note, Lara. You should try posting on FPF! I realize that FPF is not as vibrant in Colchester as in many other Vermont towns, but that’s starting to change.

    Call it what you will, 27,000 Vermont households participate… and they’ve shared more than 100,000 postings with neighbors. Check out the testimonials to get a sense of how people use it…

  3. Lara says:

    That’s the thing Michael, I no longer live in Colchester, and tried using FPF to find out about Burlington neighborhoods to no avail. I was locked out of anything other than my little microcosm of a neighborhood. Couldn’t get past the archaic email notices, either. FPF is enough for many, I’m sure, but not for this usual suspect. Carry on.

  4. Michael says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Lara. I’ll close your Colchester acct then. Please feel free to sign up again if you’d like to connect with neighbors in your new location.

    And I’m sorry if my “usual suspects” remark rankled… not my intent. I was trying to refer to heavy social media users vs. the general public. These two pairings often are considered one and the same, but I think there’s a difference.

  5. […] officials use Front PorchForum because they get good results.  It’s where a growing number of local leaders turn to connect with their constituents. […]

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