Given that I moved to California from London, I was wondering how comfortable I would be in my new surroundings. What would my neighbors be like? As it turned out, I needn’t have worried at all. My street has several families in it with young toddlers and children, so we all talk regularly and make sure we look out for each others’ kids when they’re running around the front yards.
As anyone will tell you, having friendly and caring neighbors makes all the difference. Not only do you feel safer in your home, but you feel a sense a pride in the area in which you live. So it should come as no surprise that last October, Nextdoor.com was launched in an attempt to bring neighbors together so that they could share details of their favorite handyman, let others know immediately about a burglary, or simply discuss having a community garage sale.
Here is a snippet of Nextdoor’s manifesto:
We are for neighbors.
For neighborhood barbecues. For multi-family garage sales. For trick-or-treating.
We’re for slowing down, children at play.
We’re for sharing a common hedge and an awesome babysitter.
We’re for neighborhood watch. Emergency response. And for just keeping an eye
out for a lost cat.
We believe waving hello to the new neighbor says, “Welcome” better than any doormat.
We believe technology is a powerful tool for making neighborhoods stronger, safer places to call home.
This all sounded great, but I wasn’t too sure if I trusted an online service to meet people. But as I read more about Nextdoor, I learned the following about its privacy:
Fences are sometimes necessary. But online privacy is always necessary. Nextdoor makes it safe to share online the kinds of things you’d be okay sharing with your neighbors in person.
- Only you and your neighbors can see what’s shared.
- Every neighbor has to verify their address.
- Every neighbor signs in with their real name. Just like in person.
- Your website is protected by password and encrypted by HTTPS.
- We never share your info with advertisers.
The site is secure and everyone has to sign in with their real name and real address. And how can this help us as parents? In plenty of ways. Not only can you get to share great babysitter information, but you could share playdates, party details, lost pet information and organize bake sales, lemonade stands or garage sales. Members can choose to get posts via email immediately or as a daily digest, and even to get urgent alerts via text message. An example of an urgent alert- A mother in one of the communities found Nextdoor to be a potentially life saving tool when she was able to urgently alert parents that her son had comedown with a highly contagious, potentially deadly case of meningitis. Parents whose children had come in contact with her son were required to have them checked immediately. This urgent information is something that any parent would want texted to them rather than waiting to login to the site days later.
Back in July, Nextdoor said it had about 3,700 neighborhoods on board in 48 states with a median of 600 to 700 members in each network. That’s a whole lot of neighbors, and it’s continuing to grow!
So to learn more about this service, visit www.nextdoor.com and connect with the real people in your neighborhood.