"Target = Blank: A Critique of Nextdoor.com" - by Willi Paul / Planetshifter.com
"Target = Blank: A Critique of Nextdoor.com" - by Willi Paul / Planetshifter.com

"Nextdoor is the best way to stay in the know about what's going on in your neighborhood-whether it's finding a last-minute babysitter, learning about an upcoming block party, or hearing about a rash of car break-ins. There are so many ways our neighbors can help us. We just need an easier way to connect with them." -- Nextdoor web site

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Recently, I supported several issues in the Burlingame / San Mateo Nextdoor neighborhood including the re-design of the Broadway Business District, our dangerous drivers in the crosswalks and a poll about impeaching the President. My experience was frustrated by a laissez faire vibe that seems to only champion the status quo, more restaurant critiques and an endless search to give away or find free stuff, including recommendations for cheap help. Going with a longstanding pro-community bulletin board like Craigslist.org instead of Nextdoor.com seems to be more efficient and inclusive for these tasks. What is your experience?

Nextdoor is a bunch of online residents who happen to be parsed by geo-political boundaries. It is catering to consumers with the intent to sponsored ads and make money. It's an individual-focused web site and not really a community-focused affair. What are the issues that folks can address and fix here? What is taboo? And what about accountability inside and outside the space? How do Nextdoor members hold Nextdoor employees and their local businesses and govts accountable if the norm is "me first?" Big mystery here.

Chaos rules in many of the discussions. What about activism or changing problems in the neighborhoods? And what about identifying and promoting common issues across Nextdoor neighborhoods to bolster campaigns and change? Nextdoor seems to promote short-term clashes between residents that often only relate to one or a few individuals. Ganging up on dissenters happens and is very bad for community.

What community values do Nextdoor stand-for? None you say - that this isn't their place!? Isn't there is enough mindlessness, consumption-driven, "value-avoidance" in today's cities? Do neighbors need values to plan actions and strategies for change? Safe streets, homelessness, graft in government, etc. all need our combined efforts based on common values. Nextdoor.com can do much more to help us better our lives.

From my experience, some members lack grounding in many of complaints raised online daily. There is a "quick to judge and ban mentality" here and the speed of posts can generate misunderstandings and bias. Unequal training and experience with computers and smart phones can cause confusion and unequal technical skills can cause delays in conversations.

Most importantly, Nextdoor is failing to provide education and public support (on and offline) to help members and their neighborhoods. Their space is plagued with multiple, short-term scripts within a veiled community stage. There is no diversity training or 100% community participation mandate. Are the poor marginalized or forgotten here?

Questions: Is Nextdoor a disposable community? Or is Nextdoor a sustainable community?

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Suggestions for Improving NextDoor.com -

+ Seek action not talk

+ Get out of virtual neighborhood and into real life

+ Promote neighborhood projects and inclusive movements that promote Permaculture and Transition values

+ Facilitate inter-neighborhood food production and sharing

+ Support citizen training and build political capacity building

+ Partner with civic groups and non-profits for valued education and life experiences

+ Promote alternative economic opportunities like food sharing, backyard gardening and clothing drives

Also from Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com -

"Mark Zuckerberg: Let's build a new community mythology at Facebook!"