Nextdoor Looking to Expands its Influence on Local Politics

A decade into its history, the hyperlocal social media site Nextdoor is looking for feedback and hoping to expand its reach before the 2018 and 2020 elections.
April 11, 2017, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tom Gowanlock

Carla Marinucci reports on the recent efforts of the San Francisco-based social media company Nextdoor, which is looking to expand its influence in the political arena after a decade of rapid growth and no lack of controversy along the way.

With regard to the company's rapid growth, Marinucci reports these statistics:

Since its founding a decade ago, Nextdoor has achieved penetration in over 70 percent of American neighborhoods — with eye-popping success in some of the country’s biggest cities, including San Francisco, where it’s active in 97 percent of all city neighborhoods, Chicago (85 percent), and Washington DC (81 percent). It recently launched in the United Kingdom, where it has already achieved 60 percent penetration in the country’s neighborhoods, the company says.

As planners and community activists in many of those areas know very well, "Nextdoor neighbor-to-neighbor discussions may — for good or bad — represent a new power to sway public opinion on issues and initiative, a challenge to traditional political campaigns."

Some of those discussions have attracted controversy. The company had to make changes to the platform after an article by Pendarvis Harshaw revealed problems with racial profiling on the site. A little over a year later, the site was reporting a 75 percent reduction in racist posts on the site.

For examples of the already realized positive potential of the site, Marinucci refers to several episodes experienced in the city of San Jose, including mobilization during a flooding event earlier this year, as well as mobilization of volunteers for the Beautify San Jose initiative.

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Published on Monday, April 10, 2017 in Politico
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