Q: There was a break in at my neighbor's house last night. If I hadn't seen the cops pull up as I was leaving for work, I wouldn't even had known about it. It made me realize just how few of my neighbors I actually know. Is there was a website or some other way I can get to know my neighbors that doesn't require going door to door and meeting my neighbors in person?
A: It is ironic that with Facebook and Twitter we can know what a random acquaintance from high school had for lunch, but we still might not know the name of three of our neighbors. There is a new social network called Nextdoor that is trying to fix that. Nextdoor is a private social network that only connects you to people who live in your neighborhood. To join, you have to prove where you live. To verify where you live, you can provide a credit or debit card to verify your street address, choose to have Nextdoor sent a postcard in the mail with a security code, or in some areas you can have Nextdoor call your landline telephone. Otherwise, you'll have to be verified by the Founding Member or a Lead Neighbor.
Once you've been verified, you can sign in to find out about all of the yard sales, missing puppies, and fun events in your neighborhood. In my neighborhood, folks are giving stuff away, having garage sales, posting information about church and theatre events, and talking about the car smash and grabs that happened last year. The cities of New York, San Diego, San Jose and Dallas have all adopted Nextdoor to improve communication with their residents. Now, you can even share and talk with folks in nearby neighborhoods, so you won't be limited to just your community. You can choose if you want your information and posts just shared with your neighborhood and/or with nearby neighborhoods. Also, like any self respecting social network, Nextdoor has an iPhone app, and is developing an Android app, so you can post and read others posts on the go.
To sign up for Nextdoor, download the Nextdoor app or point your browser to Nextdoor.com. If your neighborhood is already added to Nextdoor, you'll be able to join it. If it isn't in Nextdoor yet, you can become a founding member and start a community on Nextdoor for your neighborhood. If you click on the link we've created for our readers, http://dmbl.co/nextdoor, and launch a new neighborhood, Nextdoor will give you a $50 Starbucks gift card.
So, if you would like to be social with your neighbors without, you know, being social, check out Nextdoor.