Will The Facebook for Neighborhoods Be Popular in DC?

by Shilpi Paul

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Would you join a Facebook made up of only your neighbors?

Nextdoor is a closed social network for residents of a given neighborhood. It offers an alternative to the neighborhood listserv, an old technology that can feel cluttered and clunky. The newer Nextdoor, which raised $18.6 million in investment this summer, has a user-friendly interface where neighbors can discuss crime, invite each other to BBQs, sell their furniture and find babysitters. Users must be verified residents, and each neighborhood site is closed to the rest of the world.

The site has been generating some buzz this year; we heard about it on Scott Roberts’ Bloomingdale neighborhood blog yesterday, and a bit of digging around revealed articles in Forbes, Wired and The Washington Post, among others.

The layout is similar to Facebook; neighbors post on a “wall” and commenters can respond. Tabs at the top indicate a marketplace, crime and safety discussion, and recommendations. There is also a map of the area, a statistic on how many of the households have joined, and lists of groups and events.

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A demo page of Nextdoor.

Although we don’t have access to many of the DC neighborhoods, some clicking around revealed a few active sites, including Dupont Circle, 16th Street Heights and Bloomingdale. Other populated neighborhoods, like Adams Morgan and Capitol Hill, don’t yet have members, but residents are prompted to be the first to sign on. You can find a list of DC neighborhoods here.

Readers, what do you think? Is there a need for a slick neighborhood social network or do you like interacting with your neighbors the old fashioned way?

See other articles related to: nextdoor, facebook

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/will_the_facebook_for_neighborhoods_be_popular_in_dc/5906

7 Comments

  1. Jimbo said at 2:41 pm on Tuesday August 14, 2012:

    The people in DC that you’re most interested in will not use this due to security concerns. It will have all the wackos: cat lady, lady who hates cats, guy who can’t stand the crime, guy living in $800k house who thinks crime is caused by economic injustice.

    Complete and utter failure here….

    Not really well thought out.

  1. Brett said at 3:11 pm on Tuesday August 14, 2012:

    Seems like a great website to communicate info to neighbors.  I’m hoping to sign up once I move into the district next spring. 

    @Jimbo - What are you even talking about?

  1. U Street Buzz said at 3:55 pm on Tuesday August 14, 2012:

    I’m all for easy-to-use tools that help neighbors interact, but I wonder what they are pitching as the advantage of their system over simply creating a closed Facebook group? (one that requires permission to join and to view content)

  1. Judy said at 6:47 pm on Tuesday August 14, 2012:

    It is more like a list-serve than Facebook and it predetermines the geographic borders, so it quite awkward in our are (Takoma DC) where the boundaries are not what we who live here think them to be.  So people we might want to chat with are excluded.  Also, its just one more place to have to log-in to see what’s going on.  Much prefer our neighborhood list serve.

  1. kob said at 8:19 pm on Tuesday August 14, 2012:

    The Adams Morgan listserv, my neighborhood, is so ingrained that I can’t imagine it being replaced by Nextdoor, especially as @judy points out, a service that “predetermines the geographic borders.” That’s a non-starter in this neighborhood.

    What is a mystery is whether Nextdoor’s efforts will be complimentary or destructive to the emerging and maturing neighborhood blogs.

    Some of DC’s neighborhood blogs are now running ads and have turned into, I suspect, at least part-time jobs for their owners. It is a wonderful thing to have local, independent voices succeed.

    Nextdoor appears to be more of a classic start-up waiting for its payday. More power to it. Interestingly, it strikes me as an ideal acquisition target for Facebook or Google, which are most interested in local ads. If Nextdoor can prove itself, it may have a big future. 

    I dunno. The independent neighborhood and topical blogs (like real estate!) have managed to thrive despite the various threats out there, and opportunities, IMHO, continue to grow.

    And while there will be ongoing efforts by mega-national-this and mega-national-that to consume the local ad market and tank local bloggers, all while putting on a happy-face-PR-front, it will be hard to replace the individual voices, dedicated people, and spirit of local bloggers. (Love to close with an editorial swish)

  1. Tom A. said at 9:16 am on Wednesday August 15, 2012:

    I live just outside their official borders for the H Street area.  so I used an H street address, but it says it’s the home of a registered sex offender.  so I tried again with a different address, (The Argonaut) and same thing! And again, and again!  Is every address on H street considered the home of a sex offender?  It appears so!

  1. Tom A. said at 9:27 am on Wednesday August 15, 2012:

    I was able to find an address that wasn’t the home of a sex offender, but because I don’t get mail there, I can’t be in the H street group- where I live and spend the majority of my money and free time.  Now THAT’S how to start a business!  I guess the folks in San Francisco should worry about San Francisco.

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