There’s a new platform for groups in town: Nextdoor. It’s like our Forest Knolls Neighborhood Yahoo Group, but unlike that, no one can be anonymous. Nextdoor is a closed group, and you can only join if you live within a specified neighborhood. They verify addresses and everyone uses their real names. Our Forest Knolls Nextdoor group will only launch if we can get at least 4 more members in the next week. We have a sort of pilot going on now. I’ve heard some reports from people in other neighborhoods who like NextDoor.
(Me, I’ve joined both. The Forest_Knolls_Neighborhood Yahoo Group and NextDoor.)
Here’s an FAQ – and if you have more questions, post them to comments and either I’ll answer them or someone from NextDoor will.
1. How is this different from the Forest Knolls Yahoo Group that anyone can join?
Two main differences: First, it’s not anonymous; everyone who joins gives their name and address.
Second, it has more functions – it can have subgroups, like for instance a dog-owners group, or a parents group. Here’s a list:
- A neighborhood directory, which is built on top of real profile pages, making it possible to really get to know your neighbors (as well as having a dynamically updated directory of contact info).
- A neighborhood map.
- The ability to create public or private groups (sub-groups) within the neighborhood or to communicate with people who live near you but outside the neighborhood through the Nearby Neighborhoods feature.
- The ability for users to control their email settings based on the types of messages they want to receive.
- An Urgent Alerts feature, which makes it possible to blast out urgent information (emergency, crime, etc.) by text message as well as email.
- A Recommendations section which archives recommendations by category making it much easier to browse and find information over time.
- Event functionality with RSVPs.
- Classifieds and Free Items categories which makes this kind of exchange easier and more efficient than a purely message based solution.
- A dedicated Crime and Safety section.
2. How do I join?
You need an invitation, and then once you agree to join, your address needs to be verified. (This can be done by credit card – not with a charge, just for address verification – or by postcard.) If you click on this link, I’ll invite you to sign up: https://forestknolls.nextdoor.com/invitation_email/?is=navbar
You can learn more at http://www.nextdoor.com
3. Why should I join?
It’s an easy way to stay in touch with neighbors, and start discussions about things that are important to the neighborhood. For instance, if we want to start a discussion about the new route-plan for the 36-Teresita, we could do so.
4. Can we post photographs and documents?
Yes, you can add one attachment to an original post. (More functionality may be added later on.)
5. How private is it, anyway?
Well, it’s a private forum. Anyone who lives within the community and joins Nextdoor Forest Knolls can read it. If you choose to publish a post to nearby neighborhoods instead of just Forest Knolls, people in nearby neighborhoods can read it as well. There’s nothing to stop anyone from cutting and pasting and sending a message to other people. So you can post things there that you don’t necessarily want to tell the whole world – but I wouldn’t recommend putting anything on that’s *really* private.
6. Does it cost anything?
No, Nextdoor is free. Later on they may add advertisements from local business to support the service. (The company intends to focus on local businesses as much as possible.)