Vermont is one of America's most rural states, contributing to a high “social capital” within its mostly small-town communities. But as modern life and technology transform the way we live and work, the community-oriented lifestyle in many Vermont towns is under stress.
In response, Michael Wood-Lewis created a new social media network within and exclusively for residents of Vermont called Front Porch Forum that focused on “hyper-local” communication. Although largely unknown outside of Vermonts borders, within them a quiet digital revolution is underway. Entire towns have signed up, sometimes exceeding even the number of households.
Front Porch Forum is now a part of the daily routine of thousands of residents across Vermont. But how does a platform of this scale manage to avoid the seemingly inevitable pitfalls of other platforms that are now commonly associated with controversy, misinformation, and privacy concerns?
“But how does a platform of this scale manage to avoid the seemingly inevitable pitfalls of other platforms”
This is the story of three people from different walks of life in Vermont who each rally between traditionalism and progressivism, each of their lives caught in the middle of the digital economy that is transforming communities across America and the world. The ways these people live, their values and their online habits inform a larger community who is wondering if, perhaps, there is a different way to do things.
How Front Porch Forum grew from humble Burlington beginnings to a critical statewide service.