Do you remember when neighbors knew each other and a neighborhood was a tight-woven community? Well, I do and I miss that. So today I'll tell you about a new, high-tech way to get to know your neighbors.
We don’t know our neighbors like we did when I was a kid. We stay inside our air conditioned homes and keep to ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can use technology to bring us back to those by-gone days when neighbors joined to form a close-knit community. This can be easily done with a new web service called Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com). Nextdoor lets neighbors get in touch with each other again. It is a free and private social network for neighborhoods.
The first member from the neighborhood is called the Founding Member. To use this website, he or she defines the neighborhood boundaries and gives the neighborhood a name, both of which can be edited in the future, if necessary. The Founding Member can then start inviting neighbors to join. Each member must verify their address. A neighbor who is a verified member of that specific Nextdoor neighborhood can vouch for, and invite another neighbor to join. Accepting such an invitation will allow them to join Nextdoor as a verified member. Each neighbor uses their real name and must verify their address in order to join. Not only is your private information never shared, but it is not accessible by search engines.
Nextdoor launched in 2011 and now has over 12,000 neighborhood groups represented. They have communities in all 50 states. According to its co-founder and CEO, Nirav Tolia, they add about 40 or so neighborhoods each day.
Nextdoor lets you share useful stuff with the folks in your immediate vicinity. You can use it for stopping burglars and for spreading crime warnings for the area. You can use it to learn about illnesses, deaths, and other times when a neighbor might need a meal, a ride, or just some moral support.
You can also use Nextdoor for advice about contractors and baby-sitters. You can use it as a mini-Craigs list where you can sell or buy things without dealing with strangers. You can use it to plan a block party or to invite neighbors to an impromptu get together. If your area were to ever encounter a weather-related disaster like a tornado, Nextdoor could be an invaluable asset.
Why don’t you try it in your neighborhood?
By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS