Interesting article by Vox today. Some key take-aways…
Can a public sphere worth living in ever be built online? Micah Sifry includes an interview with FPF Co-Founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, in his article appearing in The New Republic, Escape From Facebookistan
“In the same way people need banks to hold their money safely and to help it circulate, creating businesses and jobs, they also need trustworthy online digital forums to hold their social identities and help foster beneficial connections between friends, neighbors, and the larger society.” • Micah Sifry
Alternatives exist! Thanks for recognizing Front Porch Forum in your article!
Varying opinions on a topic or issue can be difficult when not approached in a civic manner. Front Porch Forum members weigh in:
“Should we be discussing controversial issues on FPF? If not here, where? One of the problems with our pop culture these days is that we are constantly talking to those we agree with. Our social media echo chambers are really hurting our democracy. FPF is fundamentally different from Facebook. It is a platform where I can talk to my neighbors and they can talk to me. Facebook seems to be a self selecting group which will frequently share ones own views. How can we find common ground if we do not talk to one another? I think the discussion on guns in FPF has been respectful, diverse and informative.” • Jeff in Richmond
Use Front Porch Forum to have civil discussions on tough topics and connect with your neighbors.
Iran’s “Blogfather,” Hossein Derakhshan, in a recent interview on the NiemanStoryboard…
“The decline of the web in favor of social media entails grim consequences. Hyperlinks were the founding principle of the web; it secured a diversity, nonlinearity, decentralization and interactivity, which made the web so powerful. But social media’s very philosophy and monetization strategy, or the stream, cannot be friendly to hyperlinks, since they do not want their users to leave their space. This new environment, in addition to the currently dominant algorithms, which favors popularity and now-ness rather than diversity and quality, is worse than television in its potential damage to representative democratic societies, where majority is supposed to take informed decisions without jeopardizing minorities. The rise of identity politics and intolerance for diversity is directly linked to the current form of the internet. This is the deepest shock of this transition to me since my release. This shift from what I call books-internet to TV-internet.”
Unlike some other social media platforms, Front Porch Forum doesn’t aim to lure people in and hold their attention 24/7. FPF, for many Vermonters, is a 10-minute-a-day habit that leads to more face-to-face conversations with neighbors… and to friendlier, more informed, and more resilient local communities. Hyperlinks in FPF postings are an important part of that.
“Shoveling for a Cause”, picked up by the Burlington Free Press and in turn by the Weather Channel, began with a FPF neighbor wanting to make a difference.
“I had the Opportunity to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s at both a local and national platform. It took the Orchard Neighborhood to make that happen. Just wanted to say thank you to all involved.. Check out one of two interviews”
• Louis in South Burlington
I couldn’t agree more with former Vermonter, Dan Gillmor’s recent piece…
Dan focuses on Facebook’s growing dominance as a news distributor…
How should we respond? From my perspective, two primary schools of thought have emerged. One is to embrace that dominance, albeit with some unease, and fully participate in Facebook’s ecosystem. Another is to persuade Facebook to take seriously its growing responsibility to help get quality journalism in front of as many people as possible.
Both of those approaches assume that Facebook is too big, too powerful to resist—that we have no alternative but to capitulate to its dominance. But if that is true, the consequences will be disastrous. We will be living in the ecosystem of a company that has repeatedly demonstrated its untrustworthiness, an enterprise that would become the primary newsstand for journalism and would be free to pick the winners via special deals with media people and tweaks of its opaque algorithms. If this is the future, we are truly screwed.
I say: no. Let’s not give up so easily. Instead, let’s resist—and find a way out of this trap… (click to read the full article)
And… to add to Dan’s call… let’s go beyond journalism. Let’s click local for retail, for discussion, for classifieds, for reviews, for sports, for entertainment, for networking and more. Many communities have local efforts underway, and they struggle to capture people’s attention as so many of us habitually scroll through our Facebook feeds, go to Amazon, Yelp, etc. Why not try local efforts? While the internet and mobile devices still hold the promise of decentralization of power, we now know that the digital juggernaut is also acting as a giant concentrator of wealth into a small number of pockets. Thousands of local taxi companies replaced by Uber and Lyft. Thousands of local bookstores replaced by Amazon.
To quote Dan one more time…
I say: no. Let’s not give up so easily. Instead, let’s resist—and find a way out of this trap.
A Burlington business reached out to the community with a survey this month and got more than 500 responses. They used social media, their own popular e-newsletter and Front Porch Forum to get the word out. Here’s where they got their respondents:
45% Front Porch Forum
40% Company’s e-newsletter
Craig Newmark, of craigslist fame, recently released an infographic highlighting the results of a survey about online harassment. Some points from the survey:
Ghost of Midnight is an online journal about fostering community within neighborhoods, with a special focus on Front Porch Forum (FPF). My wife, Valerie, and I founded FPF in 2006... read more