Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nextdoor: A social network for your neighborhood

One Saturday morning we were packing to leave for a weekend away when my wife heard cries for help. When I went to look around, I found an elderly neighbor we barely knew had tripped and fell in his kitchen on a wet braided rug. He was clearly in pain, so I stood him up and settled him on a chair. He insisted he didn't need medical attention and that his daughter would be home soon. As I left, I felt saddened to realize that apart from a few smiles in the past two years we had been neighbors, we hadn't really connected. He didn't know my name and I didn't know his. 

With so many of us depending on social media for interaction, we often neglect to get to know those who live nearby. If you're looking to connect with your neighbors, Nextdoor makes it easy for you to do so. It's like a virtual bulletin board connecting people in the same vicinity. Unlike existing social networks, however, Nextdoor isn't about sharing stuff like what new movie you had just downloaded, or what type of pasta you had for dinner. It's more of a utility site where people can sign up and share their experiences, problems, and advice with those within the community. 

Nextdoor helps residents communicate with one another on everything from finding a babysitter to helping each other after calamities. Users have also convened on the site to report theft, muggings or suspicious activity in their area. In The New York Times, Jennifer Jolly writes:
"I've been on Nextdoor since it first started four years ago, and it's helped me feel far more connected with my community. Whenever I need help with anything around my house, it's a fast, convenient way to reach out to my neighbors. All 1,096 of them. It has helped me track down my missing cat, find a new home for my old couch and even connect with an oral surgeon for an emergency root canal on a Saturday." 
Nextdoor is now being used in more than 78,000 neighborhoods across the United States. It's free and anyone can join. All you need is to verify your address to prove you live in the community you are joining. The service is not yet available here in the Philippines, but it's gearing up for a push into international expansion.

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