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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Strawberrypocalypse

Gardeners make great use out of FPF.  Are you?

“I would like to thank the residents of Stowe for the, um, overwhelming response to my posting about strawberry plants. I have never gotten quite so many emails and texts all at once. We had more people stop by in the space of an hour then we’ve seen in the past six months. 

My takeaways from this experience are: 
1. People read Front Porch Forum with a tremendous sense of urgency. 
2. The next time the town wants to get us to vote on something or a nonprofit wants us to come to an event, clearly they need to add a note about free strawberry plants.

Those of you who did get plants, when you need to thin them next year, I know how you can get rid of the extras…”   • Emily in Stowe


Kindness among strangers

Even when the world feels chaotic and life gets tough, goodness can be found in kindness among strangers. One Front Porch Forum member recently shared a story about finding help and reassurance in an unexpected way.

A Vermont resident of only one year was on her way to her last cleaning account of the day. The MapQuest directions suggested a route across a narrow and chopped-up road. When rocks hit the undercarriage of the car and fears of a gas leak forced her to pull over, the distress added up. A truck driver stopped to assist and made sure the car was not leaking gas.

“You offered to call AAA for me as well. But since the car seemed fine, you went on your way. I made it to my clients house, then dropped my car off at my mechanic just in case, and made it home safely tonight. Now that my fears have settled a bit, I find myself feeling so thankful that you were there whoever you are. I wish I could say thank you to you personally. I was so caught up in my distress and tears that I didn’t thank you while you were there but I am feeling so grateful because you were an angel to me. I hope this reaches you. Thank you for your kindness and light heartedness. It made a world of difference.” • Ro F., Montpelier, Vt.


CCTV in-depth look at FPF, now airing

CCTV Executive Director, Lauren-Glenn Davitian, is joined by Front Porch Forum co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis in a new interview that takes a closer look at FPF. Find out more about the business’s mission, behind-the-scenes insights, expansion into upstate New York, and more!

You can watch this program on Channel 17/ Town Meeting Television, on Comcast Cable and Burlington Telecom at the following times:

1 Tuesday July 16, 6:30 PM
2 Wednesday July 17, 6:00 AM
3 Wednesday July 17, 12:00 PM
4 Monday July 22, 2:30 PM

You can also watch the program here:


Neighbors Helping Neighbors

There are countless examples of neighbors helping neighbors on Front Porch Forum! See some recent examples of FPF members in need of specific items, resulting in a huge helping response from their neighbors!

July 11, 2019: Hey Forum Fam!!!! Need a twin size or full size matress please!!! Just found a room to move into but looking for a bed. Low on cash since most my money will be toward the room. Let me know if y’all have any leads. Thanks!!! 

July 13, 2019: The response to the mattress situation was astronomically great!!! I think the Forum is the best thing I’ve come across as far as people helping their community!!!” • David H., Montpelier, Vt.

 

“A few weeks ago, I posted an announcement about a baby boy who belongs to a young homeless couple that are “tenting” in Stowe. I asked for donations of baby items. The response was nothing short of amazing. This little boy who was born on May 3rd, he received so much love from members of our community. Diapers, formula, clothing, a stroller and so much more. Stowe Barber Shop is where he often hangs out. A rocking chair even made its way here and people waiting for haircuts will rock him and hold him. I just want everyone who contributed to know what a BLESSING you ARE!” • Regina C., Stowe, Vt.

Need some help finding an item or working on a project? In the spirit of sharing? Keep up with your local FPF!


Vermont Country Stores Reach Customers via Front Porch Forum

From Anne Wallace Allen in VTDigger yesterday…

Jack Garvin, longtime manager of the Warren Store in the Mad River Valley, which sells gifts, housewares, craft beer and other items, said that like every store, his has a group of regulars who meet every morning for coffee. Apart from participating in a huge range of events, Garvin finds it helpful to advertise on Front Porch Forum (FPF), the online bulletin board.

“Regardless of how loyal your customers are — and they love the idea of having a country store in their town — when it comes to bottom line and looking at your wallet and looking at your disposable income, they’ll by and large go to the better deals,” Garvin said. But he added he can see through FPF analytics that his ads reach people outside the Mad River Valley.

“We don’t know how that translates into people walking in the door, but people are paying attention,” he said.


Fighting Online Bullying

From Micah Sifry in Civicist 1st Post today

Katy Steinmetz reports for Time magazine on how Instagram is trying to use AI to reduce how much the platform is used for cyberbullying, but as she notes, “it’s much easier to recognize when someone in a photo is not wearing pants than it is to recognize the broad array of behavior that might be considered bullying.” Oh, and the person in charge of this whole effort, Adam Mosseri, previously was in charge of the development of Facebook NewsFeed, so this should inspire confidence. (How does your AI read sarcasm, he asked.)

One problem with Steinmetz’s article is that she accepts the frame of all the blitzscaled platforms, which is that connecting the entire world online requires massively open platforms, unfortunately creating massive toxic effects. But cyberbullying isn’t, as Steinmetz writes, “a problem that crops up anywhere the people congregate online.” It’s a problem that crops up wherever a platform has been optimized for engagement over any other value, and where there is limited to no human moderation. For example, a user of Front Porch Forum in Vermont, where each instance is centered on a neighborhood of roughly 1000 households and a paid part-time moderator helps keep the conversation civil, does not experience cyberbullying, as a recent study found.