Remember the days of Mr. Rogers? Remember the song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Well, those were nice days. Days when neighbors knew each other, helped each other, and weren’t afraid to ask for neighborly favors. Those days, sadly, are mostly gone now. Instead of knowing our neighbors, most of us would rather not know our neighbors. Why has this happened?
Why have we become so disconnected? I’m not sure about the answer to those questions, but there’s a new website out there that wants to change the way you communicate (or don’t) with your neighbors. The site is called Nextdoor, and it aims to connect neighbors with one another. How? By using the Nextdoor site, of course! Alright, that wasn’t very helpful, so here are some more, useful, details.
Nextdoor: How It All Works
The first and most important thing that I want to point out is the sign up process. After you enter your neighborhood information (your name, address, and other details), you will get a postcard – that’s right, a real postcard – from Nextdoor. The folks over at Nextdoor have put the snail mail process in place with the hopes that this type of confirmation will prevent people who don’t actually live in your neighborhood from signing up. What’s the purpose? Security. Why?
Nextdoor creates small mini-sites for each neighborhood, as soon as someone from a neighborhood signs up and receives that confirming postcard. So, say you live in a particular NYC borough, and you want to use Nextdoor. When you sign up and confirm that you have received that postcard, Nextdoor will then add you to a mini site that’s just accessible to your neighbors who have gone through the same security measures.
Using the Site and Site Purpose
After a bunch of people have signed up from your neighborhood, you can then use the site to ask your neighbors questions, borrow stuff, give stuff away, alert the neighborhood, and pretty much anything else that you want to let your neighbors know about. Nextdoor is, for all intensive purposes, a type of social network for your neighborhood.
If you visit the Nextdoor site, you will find a great video that explains why and how to use the site. This video includes examples of things that you might want or may need from a neighbor. You’ll also see how the site works when viewing the video, but keep in mind that you won’t actually be able to use the site until the postman drops off your postcard. Nextdoor really wants people to reach out to each other and form familiar, Pleasantville-type, neighborhoods once again. Will it work? Only time will tell, but I’m betting that a lot of people will enjoy the familiarity of Nextdoor.
Currently, Nextdoor is only available to those people who live in the U.S. There’s no word yet as to whether or not site developers plan to expand Nextdoor to countries outside of the U.S. If you live in the United States, give Nextdoor a try – at the very least, you will get mail for the first time in years!