There’s an app we use in our neighborhood called Nextdoor. It’s a private social network to keep those in your immediate community informed about things like lost pets, babysitting recommendations, or even form a neighborhood watch.
When I first heard about it on Facebook, I was slightly hesitant. Where I grew up in the north you kept to yourself. A wave hello to your neighbors, maybe exchange a few friendly words to see how the kids were, and maybe…just maybe, get together for a BBQ every now and again. But for the most my parents dragged us into the house so we “didn’t end up chatting with the Johnson’s for forty-five minutes.” It was up to us kids to socialize with each other. Not the adults.
Then my hubby’s career took us to the southern half of the United States and boy was I in for a culture shock. Neighbors actually knocked on my door and brought me cake and cookies to welcome me into the community. I even got a gift basket from the local stores. What? My neighbors remained friendly. Although we moved out of state almost ten years ago, some still send us baked goods for the holidays. Hello Southern Hospitality!
With that warmth in mind, I joined Nextdoor. I’ve been a member for a couple of years but for the most part, I remain quiet on the site. I click the “welcome” button. Donate things from time to time, but usually stay to myself.
I’ve seen many good things on the site. Mostly rescued pets. Lots and lots of rescued pets. My how they tend to wander away from their owners! I’ve also seen my local officials, police, and community outreach members become a part of it too. That’s awesome to witness.
I’ve seen some not so good stuff too. Although it’s rare and if it happens, it’s removed quickly. I’m thinking Nextdoor has moderators 24/7 to ensure rumors or solicitors aren’t present.
Recently, I watched an outstanding event unfold. Our neighborhood banded together. One of our neighbors, an elderly gentleman, hadn’t been seen riding his bike lately. His yard, normally well groomed, had become overgrown. No one had seen him outside tending his rose bushes or greeting people as they passed by. Someone inquired if they knew anything about him because many of us knew about his history of blackouts and that he had no family in the immediate area.
After many responses, we came together and as a whole, were able to find out that our friend and neighbor was doing okay. His health had taken a bit of a turn, but because of the outpouring of concern, a welfare check was done, his yard was cut, a neighbor has a key to his home, and phone numbers were exchanged in case of emergency.
It really made my heart smile to know that this site, the one that made me feel like a nosey neighbor at first, ended up helping an elderly man in need. In fact, it led to a night out in the park this weekend for the neighborhood kids to play corn hole while parents connect and they are re-forming a neighborhood watch too. Pretty cool, huh?
Do you have something like Nextdoor? If not, would you consider joining it?