More than 230,000 Vermonters participate on their local Front Porch Forum as of October 1, 2023! And this is in a state with only 270,000 households. More people use FPF in Vermont than Facebook or any other Big Tech form of social media. See what members recently had to say about FPF…
•“I received so many tips for a walker after surgery. Thank you! I love FPF!“ – Bernadette in Randolph
• “Thanks to wonderful neighbors and FPF my stolen items were recovered from some bushes elsewhere in the neighborhood. I’m so very grateful!” – Cheyanne in Burlington
•“I just wanted to let all those who responded to offer homes to our overgrown [houseplant] beauties that they found a new plant parent! It would take too long to email all of you, but thanks for your interest and I’ll post again if we have more available in the future. Another example of how FPF is so great!“ – Anne in Westford
FPF’s mission is to help neighbors connect and build community. To join your local Forum, go to FrontPorchForum.com and register.
What would the internet look like if it weren’t dominated by a few huge corporations? And is such an internet even possible? A few smart folks at the Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure have some really interesting ideas about what a more humane and diverse internet might look like. In a short, highly readable paper called “The Three Legged Stool: A Manifesto for a Smaller, Denser Internet”, they outline a different world and explain how to make it happen.The “three legged stool” refers to the three core principles of a better internet:
A “pluriverse” — as in, plural universe — in which the large platforms are complemented (and challenged) by a diversity of Very Small Online Platforms, or VSOPs. “Just as we do not exclusively gather in shopping malls in the physical world, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are not the right place for every community and conversation online,” they explain.
A “loyal client” that allows people to follow, read, and post as they wish, across multiple platforms. They describe this as analogous to how your email client — whether you use Gmail, or Outlook, or something small like Hey — allows you to email anyone, regardless of what email client they use. And the “loyal” part means you get to both pick a client and adjust its settings to align with your own preferences.
A “friendly neighborhood algorithm store” where VSOPs can pay a reasonable price to access capabilities that, at present, only the big guys can afford: things like recommender systems, spam detection, and anti-abuse tools. Just as small businesses have access to high-powered tools for accounting, payroll, and other core functions, small online platforms should be able to provide high-quality experiences without having to spend billions to develop it all from scratch.
Front Porch Forum is a strong believer in a diverse and people-centric internet. We’re pleased to be working towards that future in the company of smart and committed folks like these. Let’s build a better internet together!