There’s a relatively new Social Network that is gaining popularity. It’s called Nextdoor and it is a private network that allows neighbors to post things and share information. The site’s mission statement says it is trying to “use the power of technology to build stronger safer neighborhoods.” Though it was founded in 2010 in California, it has only really proliferated here in the greater Knoxville, TN area in the past couple of years. Neighborhoods are beginning to replace group emails with this new communication system. Like everything, there are good and bad points to Nextdoor.
When you sign up for Nextdoor, you have to read and agree to a pretty well thought out set of “everyone should respect one another “ - sort of rules for posting. There are also some safety steps that help keep the groups secure. Once you enter your address, you must verify it and then you are accepted into the group. For the most part, your information is secure and secluded to only verified neighbors within your actual neighborhood. You are allowed the option to share posts to other geographically close neighborhoods but this is an extra specification you’d have to choose for any specific post. There is a great FAQs section on the website that you can explore to learn all of the actual rules, techniques, and specifics. I want to talk a little about the good and the bad points of having Nextdoor.
Without question it is a terrific way to communicate with the neighborhood at large even if you don’t know every neighbor personally and don’t have an email group list…. or at least not an up-to-date one. I mean seriously, people never remember to notify the HOA communications representative that they have changed their email address. Anyway. Some really good examples would be if a pet gets out of the house and you want neighbors to call with sightings. This can quickly eliminate someone wondering if the animal belongs to anyone and can help reunite you with your furry family asap. Another great use is when planning a neighborhood event. Think about the annual HOA picnic or block party. How about the neighborhood garage sale? Not simply asking people to participate but also reminding those who don’t want to sell things that there will be extra traffic in the neighborhood and to watch the kids playing outside. This time of year is one of the most useful applications of this network. It allows people to indicate if they will be participating in Trick or Treat. Then, when Halloween comes, parents can simply look at the map of their neighborhood and know exactly which homes will welcome seeing their little ghosts and princesses and zombies and whatever else will be the costumes de 2015. This adds another dimension to turning the front porch light on or off. All of these are very benign and altruistic uses for Nextdoor, but there are also some drawbacks to consider.
People are far braver online than they would ever be in person or at a meeting. There is the potential for this service to turn into an online gripe-fest. It’s amazing how there is a correlation between level of work it will take to report or complain about something and tolerance levels. For example, if you would have to go to the HOA meeting to lodge a complaint about a neighbors’ shrubs which you think go against the restrictions or are over grown, you may not find it annoying enough to do so. However, if you simply have to log on to a website any time you are bored or can’t sleep to let off some steam about something that irritates you about your neighbors….. well, it will probably increase your activity to be sure. One of the selling points for joining Nextdoor is safety. Easy, fast way to let neighbors know about break-ins or suspicious behavior is without question a positive. However, there is the tendency for some people to get over zealous about ANYONE unfamiliar that happens to drive through the neighborhood. It can be a slippery slope leading to hostility if reports of suspicious characters are suddenly more like a list of racial and socioeconomic profiling. Another potential negative is that some users think the ease of the forum removes the need for common courtesy. If a neighbor is doing something you have reason to believe they shouldn’t be doing, the first step should still always be to have a private conversation and see if they are even aware that it bothers you or violates a rule. Most things can be resolved quickly and with little drama. However, when someone chooses to call someone out online in front of the whole neighborhood, it can really create ill will. Another disadvantage is simply the truly “nosey neighbor” who will try to use the group to find out about anything or anyone to which they aren’t in the know.
In all, if people use restraint and don’t take advantage of the easy communication forum, the positives can certainly lead to a more well informed and community-centric neighborhood. If you’d like to learn more about this online social media network, click here to visit the homepage. I would also humbly submit that initially your realtor can be a great source of information about a neighborhood. If you are looking to move into the Knoxville, TN area, please let us be your guide. The Blake Rickels Group, Keller Williams Realty in Knoxville TN - www.blakerickels.com - 865-966-5005 - Each Office is Independently Owned & Operated