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Category Archives: Community Building

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.



Bowling alley idea catches fire on Front Porch Forum

A simple FPF post sparked a host of interest and a plan to bring new life to downtown Middlebury.
“Wondering if anyone is interested in opening a bowling alley in Middlebury?!” • Lerin P.

Front Porch Forum neighbors responded with a flood of excited posts echoing this sentiment, ultimately resulting in one business entrepreneur ready to pursue the idea.

“I’ve heard a number of times that folks would like to have a bowling alley, some night-life, something TO DO in Middlebury after the shops close. Well, I have a plan to accomplish all these wishes.”  • Scott G.

Now there are construction plans of a classic, all-ages source of fun – a bowling alley – in the previous home of the Ben Franklin store.

Read more in an article from The Middlebury Campus.

We’re inspired by this story to build community which started with a simple post on FPF.






Vermonters help Federal workers during shutdown

Front Porch Forum members reach out to help their neighbors affected by the Federal shutdown:

“This is a difficult time for some of our neighbors and we are ready to offer assistance. If you are affected, or you know any one affected by the “shut down” remind them, encourage them, tell them that food shelfs around the state are there to support them and they don’t have to worry about the cost of food in lieu of mortgage payments or gas for the car to get to work. We would be honored to help and support them. We are committed to helping our neighbors in need. • Ruthanne in Jeffersonville

“I own a home bakery and would like to offer families affected by the government shutdown free baked goods. I bake cookies, brownies, cakes and cupcakes, banana bread and other items.”  • Alice in Fairfax

“People have offered to help me in making sure that everyone in our community who is suffering due to the govt. shutdown have the basic necessities they need. We are a small community in a small state, and we need to make sure that those in this community who need help with the basic necessities receive the help they need.”   • Andi in Hardwick

“We know it isn’t much, but Green Rabbit wants to offer what we can… If any of you are feeling the financial crunch of missed paychecks due to the government shut down, please reach out to us. We are happy to deliver bread and/or a wholesome supper for your family.” • Suzanne in Waitsfield

“We would like to invite those government families who are currently not receiving wages to the food pantry. A large variety of fresh vegetables/fruit, and frozen and canned goods, staples (cereal, pasta etc.) will be available as well as meat and poultry, bread, eggs and cheese. We welcome the opportunity to be helpful to you as you navigate the government shutdown.”  • Lori, State Representative in Essex