As the world adjusts and adapts to social distancing and self isolation, communities in Vermont are looking to connect with and help their neighbors safely. They’re doing so on FPF.
Listen to Front Porch Forum’s co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, share how the service is being used across the state (and in parts of Upstate NY) during the COVID-19 crisis. He joins Fran Stoddard for an interview, below, on Across the Fence, the country’s longest-running locally produced program.
Learn more about how Front Porch Forum is being used during this time here.
“Talk of the Towns & Topics,” a publication for the Association of Towns of the State of New York, shared news of Front Porch Forum‘s expansion to parts of upstate New York.
FPF has served Vermont towns since 2006, and people use FPF for all sorts of things. This brief daily connection helps neighbors become better informed and more involved in the life of their towns.
“Technology can be used to divide us or bring us together. I really admire the way Front Porch Forum uses the Internet to bring us together. It’s not formulated to keep you in front of your screen. FPF urges you to read the local postings and then get going, and go out and be with your neighbors. That is really important and constructive in terms of building community and building democracy.” • Susan Clark, a Vermont town moderator
“I really love your service and its natural connection to local governments” • Libby with the Assoc. of Towns of the State of New York
Front Porch Forum co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, was recently interviewed on the Vermont Centers for Emerging Technologies (VCET), “Start Here” podcast, which shares the stories of active, aspiring and accidental entrepreneurs.
“Featuring Vermont’s most influential business leaders, Start Here bridges the gap between entertainment and inspiration by presenting the unfiltered stories of today’s top innovators. Everybody starts somewhere – why not Start Here?”
Front Porch Forum is the hyper-local, neighborhood-centric social network that is having a big impact on communities and businesses. Many places are now looking to FPF as a model for community-building that empowers members to become more engaged and invested in their towns.
Mridhula Raghavan, a journalist for Ouishare Magazine, investigated FPF’s role as an alternative to Big Tech networking. Read the full article here.
“It’s not just a smiley face or thumbs up. It’s real engagement.”
Front Porch Forum has made its first significant out-of-state expansion and is now serving parts of New York, where about 1,500 members have joined so far.
“Now the free, hyperlocal social network has 170,000 members around Vermont and is striking into new territory: upstate New York. In June, the company launched its first major expansion outside of the Green Mountain State, into New York’s Washington County, a rural stretch that borders Vermont in the Slate Valley; and Warren County, which contains Glens Falls. ”
Read the full story by Molly Walsh of Seven Days here.
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.
Residents in Warren and Washington counties, NY, will now have access to their own FPF! If you live, work, or know anyone in the greater Glens Falls/Lake George area, across the line from Bennington and Rutland counties — ask them to sign up at FrontPorchForum.com and help spread the word!
FPF‘s mission is to help neighbors connect and build community. Our free community e-newsletters go out daily with postings from neighbors, community organizations, and local businesses about everything from lost dogs to plumber recommendations to upcoming community events. Sign up today, and join the conversation!
Do you speak french? Check out this wonderful piece about Front Porch Forum from our neighbors at Radio Canada. Reporter, Janic Tremblay, shares his experiences speaking to FPF members at a screening of the film “The Story of Vermont’s Quiet Digital Revolution.” Attendees share how FPF has encouraged forming positive relationships with neighbors, neighbors who bring their hyper-local forums to life.
Andrew Liptak, author of the Verge article “How a Vermont social network became a model for online communities,” writes “Vermont’s Front Porch Forum is a good example of how to create a positive, online community – staying local.”
Creator of Ruby on Rails and founder/CTO at Basecamp, David Hanemeier Hanson, saw the article and tweeted on his feed. Then Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter and Square, retweeted it. Clearly the work we’re doing is being recognized! Thanks @dhh, @jack and the many others who have shared this article.
“Front Porch Forum isn’t designed as a virtual replacement for one’s real-world neighborhood — it’s meant to facilitate those everyday, in-person connections that form the basis of a community.”