Happily, Vermont has Front Porch Forum

WDEV Commentary

By John McClaughry

September 14, 2018


Broadcast on Friday morning's news show, Common Sense Radio, commentator John McClaughry shared the following:

"Micah Sifry, writing in the New Republic, reminds us of a useful alternative to corporate managed FaceBook. It’s Vermont’s own Front Porch Forum, and here’s what he says about it:

All across the state of Vermont, there is an online forum like the one I’ve been watching in Middlesex. They’re run by a local company called Front Porch Forum which was founded in 2006 by a husband and wife duo living in Burlington. A daily stream of posts written by people using their real names have floated by at a pace of roughly five to 15 per day. Of the roughly 260,000 households in the state, 150,000 belong to a forum connected to where they live. A typical one has about a thousand households and people spend about 10 minutes a day engaged with the site. It’s free, but to join you have to verify your home address. An independent survey of 13,000 of its users found that using Front Porch Forum made them more likely to trust and cooperate with their neighbors and more likely to participate in civic life. The top reason people gave for visiting the site regularly, co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis told me, was the opportunity to witness daily small acts of neighborliness.

Sifry argues that people need online forums to hold their social identities and help foster connections between friends, neighbors and the larger society. Happily Vermont has Front Porch Forum. Give it a look. This is John McClaughry, thanks for listening."

FPF's Story

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