More than a year ago, members of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association discussed the book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In this book, author Robert D. Putnam wrote about “how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures – and how we may reconnect.” GNA Board members asked what they could do to foster a greater sense of community among residents of an area as large as the Griffin School District. One of the projects undertaken because of this discussion was to create a unique logo for the Steamboat Neighborhood logo and to distribute that logo on free stickers now seen on cars around the peninsula (these stickers are often available at the Island Market, on its post office counter). Nextdoor, too, was created in part to address the challenges presented in Putnam’s book. The folks who created Nextdoor found that although 65% of all online adults use a social networking site such as Facebook, only 28% know their neighbors by name and only 26% speak to their neighbors. However, 79% of people who use an online neighborhood forum talk with neighbors in-person.
How does Nextdoor differ from other social networking sites? One important way is how Nextdoor “verifies” its members are actually residents in the area. In addition, members have to use their real names and they cannot join as a couple. Folks who join Nextdoor can invite their own neighbors, either by word of mouth, by email, or even by requesting that a postcard invitation be mailed to the neighbor.
Neighbors use Nextdoor to share recommendations, post classifieds, and discuss suspicious activities. They can create groups and organize local events. Mobile apps are available for Apple and Android devices and alerts can be sent by SMS, if needed and your profile includes a cell phone number.
The boundaries for our Nextdoor neighborhood run up Madrona Beach Road and from roughly Summit Lake north to Steamboat Island, more or less along the boundaries of the Griffin School District. The size of this area exceeds what Nextdoor normally allows for a single neighborhood. The area was originally broken in two, to complete what Nextdoor calls the “pilot” stage for the neighborhood network. This is when networks are allowed to prove there is support in the community sufficient to draw enough members to the network. Our two networks quickly acquired enough members to leave the pilot. Organizers appealed to have the two networks merged into one and Nextdoor agreed to do so. We’re now in one, big, long network covering the whole peninsula.
Are you interested in Nextdoor, but want to learn more, first? Click here for their About Us page, which links to lots of frequently asked questions.