We all use Facebook to keep track of all those people we don’t actually talk to in real life, but what about interacting with the people you see every day? No, not your family or your work colleagues, but your neighbours. This week the BBC reported on the launch of the Nextdoor app in the UK, something that’s been described as a ‘Facebook for neighbours’. But what’s is it all about and what are its chances of success?
Everybody Needs Good Neighbours
But how often do your actually speak to yours? Nextdoor is aiming to jump over a few socially awkward hurdles by connecting you with those people who live right on your doorstep once you sign up and put in your address. It’s already a success in the US and the Netherlands and has been trialled in 500 neighbourhoods in the UK, but will it catch on? Once you’ve been put in touch with said neighbours, you can view their updates and public posts as well as write your own, with the idea being that people will become more aware of any criminal or suspicious activity in their local areas.
Nextdoor’s CEO Nirav Tolia says, “Every neighbour, in every neighbourhood, would benefit from a platform that makes it easier to connect and communicate with the people who live right next door.” He also alludes to the fact that Nextdoor could even bring people together in the current heated political climate and help ‘weather the storm’.
But Will It Be a Success?
Not every social network catches on, and even those that prove popular initially can fall victim to changes in trends over time (MySpace and Bebo, we’re looking at you). One of the obstacles Nextdoor might experience is the fact that the very people who could benefit from interacting with their neighbours are the group least likely to use social networks – the older generation. The app may well be a success in those neighbourhoods and local areas that already have a strong community network, but it remains to be seen whether it will work effectively in the areas that would benefit the most from it.
Other Ways to Help
Until Nextdoor does catch on, it feels fitting go over a few ways you can offer a helping hand to your neighbours right now, especially in the current heatwave we’re experiencing. If you know of any elderly people living nearby, or someone who struggles to leave the house, it’s always worth checking in on them when we’re all experiencing extreme weather conditions. If you’re going to the shops, ask if they need anything or if there are any other errands you can help with, and if you do hear of anything crime-related occurring in the local area, see if there’s a community organisation already up and running that can help spread the word. And of course, use Nextdoor to see if there’s anyone signed up to help communicate any pressing issues.
We may sometimes mock them, but social networks do play a vital role for those who want to keep in touch with loved ones and acquaintances spread far and wide, or need closer to home in the case of Nextdoor. We’ll have to wait and see whether it catches on, but until then, you can upgrade your devices with our EE Mobile voucher codes and Carphone Warehouse promo codes, or if you want to invest in a new laptop for those communication purposes, try out the latest offers available with AO.com discount vouchers.
By Anna Scott, 15th September 2016