Nextdoor: A Social Network for Your Neighborhood

How many of us are connected to Facebook and Twitter 24/7, but couldn’t pick our next door neighbors out of a lineup? Well there’s a new service that aims to bridge this gap: Nextdoor. Yes, it’s another social network, but this time, it’s one designed to help you get to know the people that really live around you in your own neighborhood.

Nextdoor was launched in October 2011 and has over 4,500 neighborhoods signed up in 48 states. You can use it it to get recommendations for babysitters, see recent crime activity, and invite neighbors to your upcoming Halloween party. Instead of posting fliers on your neighbors’ doors, post to Nextdoor when you want to throw a party or get a recommendation for a lawn service.

Or at least that’s the idea. Let’s see just how easy it is to create an online neighborhood and get your neighbors to join and participate.

Defining Your Neighborhood

If your neighborhood isn’t part of Nextdoor already, you will first need to define your boundaries to get started. I live in an apartment complex with approximately 200 units. After drawing my boundaries, Nextdoor said that I needed to expand my neighborhood because it thought my complex was comprised of only four households. I contacted support and they manually updated my location so I could register my complex as a neighborhood.

Whoops! Nextdoor thinks my apartment complex is too small.

Whoops! Nextdoor thinks my apartment complex is too small.

Joining an Existing Community

If your neighborhood already has a community website with Nextdoor, simply sign up to join the community. Each neighbor must verify their home address to make sure they actually do live in the neighborhood. Verification methods include: 1) mailed postcard; 2) phone call to landline; 3) credit card billing address; or 4) invitation from verified neighbor.

Once you are established as a resident, you can see the status of your neighborhood. Below you can see which households have joined and which ones haven’t.

Your Neighborhood Map on Nextdoor.

Your neighborhood map on Nextdoor.

Neighborhood News Feed

Your neighborhood dashboard shows you a news feed that is similar to Facebook with status updates and announcements. You can view and share posts, ask for tips and advice, exchange recipes and communicate easily with your neighbors.

Your Nextdoor Neighborhood News Feed

View and share updates with your neighbors.

Add an attachment, like a photo or newsletter with your post. You can also choose a category for your post: Buy/Sell/Free, Recommendations, or Crime and Safety.

Profiles & Neighbor Directory

Each neighbor has a profile with basic information, including email addresses, phone numbers, spouse and children and a basic bio. You can choose to restrict your contact information if you want to preserve your privacy.

View your neighbor's profile.

View your neighbor’s profile.

Recommendations

One of the best features that Nextdoor offers that a Facebook group wouldn’t is Recommendations. If you’re looking for a trustworthy mechanic, you can simply check the list and see how many people give a thumb’s up to the guy down the street. You can also share bad experiences and tips with the group, as well as choose between posting in the daily digest or telling your neighbors right now.

Recommend services and companies to your neighbors

Recommend services and companies to your neighbors

Your Own Personal Classifieds

Nextdoor comes with a personal classifieds section to post items to sell or give away, or ask for something you need. This section can also be used for borrowing or bartering items, or advertising a garage sale you’re holding, or informing your neighbors about that great sale at Macy’s.

Crime & Safety

This section of Nextdoor gives you and your neighbors the opportunity to alert one another about suspicious activity or announce any break-ins. Give your neighbors a head’s up when a door-to-door salesman is roaming the streets or give an update on the latest Neighborhood Watch activity.

Neighborhood Events

View current and past events or create your own. RSVP to neighborhood events and add photos. This feature makes it easy to socialize with your neighbors. No more  forgetting to invite people because they haven’t joined Facebook yet.

Create an event and upload photos for your pool party.

Create an event and upload photos for your pool party.

Groups & More

Nextdoor allows you to create groups so you don’t overwhelm the main news feed with information that only pertains to certain people. Start a group for your street, for the runners in the neighborhood, or just for parents. You can make groups open to everyone or invite-only. When posting an update, you can choose to publish only to that specific group.

View and share photos with your neighbors. Any photo that is uploaded to an event will show under the Photos section for reminiscing later. You can also view and share resources, such as CPR training or DIY tutorials.

Getting Your Neighbors to Join

The hardest part of creating a community with Nextdoor is getting your neighbors to participate. Nextdoor makes it easier to invite neighbors, even if you don’t have their email addresses. You can print invitation fliers and postcards through the website, and you can invite via Facebook.

Invite your neighbors via email, or print fliers and postcards

Invite your neighbors via email, or print fliers and postcards

In the beginning, I was able to get about ten people to sign up, but I’m struggling with the remaining 190 apartments in my complex. Depending on your neighborhood, this might be an easy or difficult task.

Final Thoughts

Nextdoor brings your neighborhood communication to the 21st century by connecting via social networking. While it might be difficult at first to get all of your neighbors to join, it’s worth it because Nextdoor is free and makes it easy. The interface is simple and intuitive so anyone can join. And because Nextdoor verifies your address, you know you’re only sharing with people in your neighborhood. If that sounds inviting, it’s the latest social network you should check out.


Summary

Nextdoor is a free web app that creates a private social network for your neighborhood.

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  • http://blog.qoyyuum.me Abdul Qoyyuum

    Its sad that this won’t really work in Brunei (my country). Our map and address system is really screwed up.

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