I think I have mentioned NextDoor.com in the past, but have not really wanted to recommend it until I actually used it for a bit. If you have not heard of Nextdoor, it is essentially a social media site that is made up of your actual neighbors.
Weird, right? Yes, a way to interact with your actual, geographic, humanoid neighbors.
I have been a member now for almost a year and was initially invited by a friend of a friend who I happened to meet working on a local political campaign. At first, I was a little skeptical because your Nextdoor profile is based on your actual address. And while I know that finding a person's address is not that difficult, I certainly do not want to help anyone find out where my family and I rest our heads at night.
Simply put, I was won over by the verification process. After going through the account activation process which includes a combination of identity checks, I am fairly certain that people are who they say they are and live where they say they live. Of course, there is always a chance that this kind of info can be abused, but after using it for a while, this concern has been alleviated for me.
Neighborhood Garage Sale Day!
So, why am I recommending Nextdoor?
While there have been a few instances of people sharing things that are not quite neighborhood specific, concerns were quickly addressed. In the end, about 90 percent of what is shared and talked about, I actually want to know about:
- Events: This summer our neighborhood used Nextdoor to coordinate a huge garage sale (pictured above). There were about 60 houses that ended up participating and I have no doubt that Nextdoor played a huge part in increasing the number of households. We have also used it for announcements about neighborhood meetings, block parties, service referrals, etc.
- Safety: Every community will have people who are a little too eager to get all up into people's 'bidness,' but when it comes to safety issues and crime, I have found the posts very helpful. I have been alerted to waves of home break-ins, scammers coming to homes, crime locations, etc. I have found them in no way alarmist, but shared as general info to factor in as we live and move in our neighborhood.
- Pets: I know this one seems a little less important to some, but each time I see a "Have you seen my lost X?" post, I watch out a little more. Also, few months ago, we were also alerted to a coyote sighting and an attack on a cat. After this, we were extra careful about leaving our small dog outside.
- Community: Overall, the best thing about Nextdoor has been that I have felt a little more connected to my local community. Meeting folks via Nextdoor and then eventually person has further connected me with the actual people who live right around us.
Of course there are still some questions to be raised as Nextdoor grows:
- How will the info -- referrals, recommendations, etc -- not get watered down?
- How will transitions work when people move?
- How will neighbor conflicts be moderated?
- When trolls get in, what happens?
I will say that in the few threads that I have been a part of, it appears as if the Nextdoor folks are genuinely interested in getting feedback from those who are using it currently. Again, a plus.
So at this point, I am comfortable now recommending this site for your use. Below are some of the links that you may want to check out and use as you get started. Let me know how it goes and enjoying meeting those other humans that live near you called your neighbors.
- My profile: Just see what folks will see.
- Join here: If you use this link to sign up, I move if the "Top Inviters List." Woohoo! There is no gain for me other than social media ego strokes. *smh*
In the end, I have experienced Nextdoor as a catalyst for our neighborhood to begin actually like an actual... neighborhood. If you decide to join, I that you too will find it as useful as I have.