A central Vermont FPF member emailed several of her local municipal officials urging greater use of their FPF to reach and engage citizens about a host of topics. The Town Clerk just replied with this:
“… the Clerk’s office makes quite a bit of use of Front Porch Forum. I get quite a bit of feedback on it, particularly around election related deadlines and events. I’m pretty sure the Senior Center (and probably others) does too, so I know the utility has been spreading. I love FPF for clerk stuff, actually. It’s a perfect fit. If it wasn’t there, we’d have to invent it.”
Lisa posted the following on the Front Porch Forum in West Windsor, Vermont, a few days ago…
I came home this morning to grab my 4 winter tires (Nokian studded snows) and they were GONE! I paid $650 for those tires just last year so I could live here, so I could get to work, make a life.
That was taken from me. I have no money to replace those tires and don’t know how I will be able to keep my job.
The police can’t help.
If anyone hears any rumors about someone selling used Nokian studded snows or knows of anyone who may have some information, please contact me…
I guess this is a reminder to watch for ourselves and our neighbors. Maybe it’s a good time to introduce ourselves to our neighbors BEFORE something bad happens. Maybe together, as a community, we can have safe homes/neighborhoods to live in.
Thieves are obviously in the area 🙁
Although she has yet to recover her tires, the FPF posting did net something else for her and her neighbors…
I want to thank the people in our community for the kind responses I received, after posting on Front Porch Forum.
It was heartwarming to come home to several e-mails, offering kind words and even offers of tires! Unfortunately, none fit but the kind offers meant so much more than any set of tires.
Tires can be replaced. The kindness of others is priceless.
Carl Etnier interviewed Michael Wood-Lewis, Front Porch Forum co-founder, today on WGDR’s Relocalizing Vermont show. They discussed stories about how the popular online community-building business was founded – and fielded questions from callers.
If you try to build a community for a group of people (especially within an existing boundary i.e. employees), they tend to react the same way.
First, they’re skeptical.
They don’t know you. They don’t have time for the community. They’re worried that the community will change a status quo that benefits them… You must remain enthusiastic and keep pushing. You must work with the rare believers in your vision, not those against it.
Second, they’re incredulous.
They can’t believe it’s succeeding. Why are people going along with this? Are they crazy? They set an increasingly angry tone. You must not react/respond to them… Be open to any questions they have. Don’t let them provoke a negative reaction that will undermine your efforts.
Third, they accept it.
They’re members. This is quite sudden. Once they realize they’re in danger of being left behind, they become members.
As we’ve opened up online Front Porch Forum communities for every locale in Vermont, we find many who welcome us gladly, some who are indifferent, and a few who follow Alinsky’s pattern above. But those few make a lot of noise and demand our attention. We remain open to input, concerns and fresh ideas… but we’ve also come to realize that the initial skepticism and incredulity will most likely be replaced with acceptance in a few weeks… and even blossom into vigorous use and championing of their local FPF to neighbors.