When we most of us think of the term “social media,” we usually think of special Internet websites  or apps that promote social get-togethers or gatherings. However, some companies like Nextdoor have come up with ways to actually help people meet one another and try to improve their physical communities in America.                                                                                                      

Not only can NextDoor help you meet others living near you, you can also choose to sell personal goods to each other or attempt to make positive changes in your neighborhood.  Far greater possibilities exist when large numbers of people sign up in your city. This website’s offerings are featured in a September 2014 Entrepreneur article entitled, “Welcome to the ‘Hood,”                                            

Here’s some additional information that may convince you to personally check out if this website’s offerings might be useful to you or your company.

Special Opportunities to Enhance Personal Safety and Quality of High-Tech Communications

  • Some community members have used their Nextdoor connections to create an online program roughly equivalent to a type of Neighborhood Watch program. So, if a crime is connected, people in your neighborhood who have joined this website can immediately report it – possibly helping the police learn of the crime sooner – while helping other neighbors know that a crime of a specific type has just been committed in their area. It’s believed that since people have had to allow their addresses to be verified prior to joining the website, there will be a much lower incidence of false crime reports.  In fact, according to an article entitled, “Welcome to the ‘Hood,” published in the September 2014 issue of Entrepreneur, “More than 170 [American] communities have partnered with local police to broadcast crime alerts – arrangements in which the virtual neighborhood is helping keep the physical one safe;”
  • Members of “real,” physical/social neighborhoods are choosing to meet in person and not just online. Many psychologists and sociologists have written articles lamenting the isolation that often evolves when people just interact with others via the Internet. Nextdoor is different in that members are now choosing to create local traditions like periodic block parties where “real” people get together in their area with their actual neighbors – as opposed to “virtual friends” who quite often aren’t who they say they are and may have truly negative intentions due to their online anonymity as to real name and location;
  • Helpful way to coordinate the buying and selling of personal goods and property. As noted in this article’s introduction, Nextdoor makes it very simple for members to sell unwanted personal items, many often of true value, to each other, instead of having to go to the trouble of listing the same goods on eBay, craigslist or some other online website. Both the potential buyers and seller can know they are actually interacting with someone who lives nearby – making the transfer of cash funds and the goods far simpler.                              

While other highly useful ways to use Nextdoor are probably already being pursued, just the ones named above should be enough to motivate the majority of us to give serious thought to joining. Furthermore, given the many unique types of dangers that have become so common in America during the past two decades, it would be great to have a rather instant way to communicate with many of one’s neighbors should a serious weather, criminal event or other occurrence rapidly start to unfold where being in touch with others who have additional information could prove critical to each person’s safety.

During the past six months, 10,000 new users have signed up with NextDoor. These individuals have apparently learned that the company does not sell any of its user information to search engines or advertisers. In addition, the site currently hosts approximately 37,000 neighborhoods across the country. It may just be time to consider joining for many of us. Venture capitalists (VCs) see this website’s potential – “the platform’s continued growth has attracted more than $100 million in VC funding since 2012.”

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