My friend Sean Tubbs, a reporter for Charlottesville Tomorrow, is, like me, always interested in emerging forms of media. Sean mentioned a new application he was trying out in his neighborhood, Nextdoor. Sean and I are not neighbors, but I was very curious about whether the platform could be useful in bringing my own little neighborhood together and to help keep us better informed and acquainted.
I’m really delighted with the way Nextdoor has worked so far. The first challenge was to get enough of my neighbors to join the group — there were only a handful for which I had email addresses or who were friends with me on Facebook. I also had the application send invitation postcards to the addresses within the physical boundaries of my neighborhood. A few days in, 29 neighbors have joined (out of more than 300 households) and the group seems to be taking off. To get the site launched, we had to have a handful say “yes,” — if you have fewer than eight neighbors you might have to consider a larger community.
My neighborhood, and our HOA have been embroiled in some controversy and a neighbor was recently arrested for embezzling from the association. It’s good for us, the neighbors, to have a robust platform to stay connected and communicating during this difficult time. In cheerier news, it’s a great place for us to share references for lawn mowers, babysitters, walking buddies and the like.
If you’re an iPhone user, and several of my neighbors are, the app on the phone is really good, and a great way to get to know those around you. I’m not being paid to endorse it, but I do! Try out a Nextdoor network in your neighborhood and let me know what you think.