Front Porch Forum‘s Co-founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, joined Ethan Zuckerman of Reimagining the Internet for an interview on running a healthy online community. Reimagining the Internet is a podcast that talks to experts in the field about what isn’t working with social media and how it can be improved. Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, was also a recent guest of the podcast.
Front Porch Forum is a place where neighbors can come together to discuss anything from local happenings to lost and found items. As this FPF member shares, don’t be afraid to check with your neighbors if you need help with something!
“…even as organizations, we still often find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place when communicating what we have or what we need with others; sometimes we don’t want to bug other organizations, and sometimes we worry by offering something, we’ll get ourselves in trouble.
One of the most powerful things about FPF is that it offers a comfortable place for folks to cast out requests to the community — I’ve never heard of anyone get ridiculed for casting hope by dropping their two cents — and when they do, it becomes a lot easier for folks like me to try and help. Some of us are good at making masks, some are good at fixing laptops, some are good at organizing shopping trips for our immunocompromised neighbors — but knowing is half the battle.
Please don’t hesitate to cast a coin into our proverbial wishing well! The community is here to hear you out. Whether you need something or whether you know that your organization needs something, it’s never selfish to ask and see what’s available, especially since more aid could be provided through our community if more people hear more specialized requests. (E.g.: I can’t justify gearing up to go unpack trucks at a food bank, but I know if I spend that time working instead on laptops, the community can get more utility out of it — if only I know who needs them.)” • Martin in South Burlington, Vt.
Cast your coin into the proverbial wishing well today on FPF!
Studies are showing loneliness is having a negative impact on individuals’ health. Strong communities and social connectivity help individuals experiencing loneliness to improve their health and wellness.
Reasons to be Cheerful published an article about a clinic in England that started working with lonely patients to find resources and opportunities to connect with others, building up social capital and decreasing health spending. People known as health connectors began to facilitate discussions with lonely patients.
“These health connectors could connect the patients to traditional medical services, but also to social services: discussion groups, a “shed” where men could come together to work on projects, group exercise classes, help with shopping, help joining a community choir, even a befriending service.”
AUGH!! My big snapper snowblower was stolen recently from my LOCKED garage. (Thief broke in through the small side door.) If anyone saw anything, knows anything or hears anything please contact the police. I recently moved to Brattleboro – it’s an unsettling ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ to say the least. Thanks in advance for any help that comes my way…
• Susan, Brattleboro FPF
A HUGE thank you to the neighbor who saw my Front Porch Forum posting over my stolen snowblower, took a walk, saw my snowblower in the woods and called the police. I just got it back this morning! I can’t tell you how grateful I am. The police said they hardly ever see anyone get their property back, so I know how lucky I am. A very heartfelt THANK YOU. I’ll be going out to buy a lottery ticket.
• Susan, Brattleboro FPF
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.
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.”
Bought a chair.
Got a free fridge.
Learned about the town forest.
Gave away baby gear.
Bought a desk.
Got a free music stand.
Bought a suitcase.
Re-homed my houseplants.
Found out about a garage sale.
Got some wicked awesome leaves. (Thank you Dave T!)
Publicized many events for The Coop and Forest School.
Learned about Saturday morning meditation.
Found out a hundred dogs were lost. And found!
Learned about fun stuff to do at the library.
Got a free wool blanket to make a sleeping bag.
Learned about the town plan.
Complained about squirrels.
Was reminded to check for ticks.
Gave away some tools.
Bought some mud boots.
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