The Facebook for Neighborhoods

Meet Nextdoor, the social network based on proximity, inspired by the conclusion of Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone that neighborhood social networks make crime go down and test scores go up.
Anita Hart / Flickr

Nancy Scola introduces a relative newcomer to the constellation of social media sites on the Internet: Nextdoor, a neighborhood focused platform. Scola says the idea behind the site is simple: “We’ve become acclimated to using Facebook to connect with friends and family. LinkedIn for work. Twitter for our interests. Yet in 2014 there is no go-to online social network for the people we live among. ‘And that,’ [Nextdoor founder Sarah] Leary says while sitting in Nextdoor’s suite of offices, ‘is kind of crazy.’”

“Since launching its first network 30 miles southeast of San Francisco in Menlo Park in 2011, Nextdoor has grown to 31,000 neighborhoods across the country where people talk about everything from break-ins to favorite eateries to plans for a new dog park.”

The Nextdoor platform isn’t, as Leary says, an “amuse me app,” nor does it aspire to be a neighborhood watch tool.” In fact, a plurality of its conversations consists of recommendations for amenities and facilities.

Scola’s coverage of Nextdoor addresses a lot more of the nuances and implications of the new take on social networking technology, such as issues of privacy and the question of whether, “in a world of affinity networks, can a proximity network scale?”

Full Story: Building the Facebook of Neighborhoods

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