In our current age of technology, it’s easy to conclude that we have become more isolated. We spend more time indoors, and it is more and more difficult to get to know our neighbors. When I was a kid, we knew everyone on our street. But in the age of the internet, this is less common.
However, the internet can also bring us together. It can be a great way to connect with people with shared interests, like finding a group of theater enthusiasts in your home town, or finding other transracially adopted families. Another way the internet has helped me connect is by getting to know my neighbors.
We lived in our previous neighborhood for almost 15 years. We moved into the neighborhood because we already had several friends living on that street. It was easy to connect because we already knew so many people, and because we lived there long enough to establish relationships. However, when I heard about Nextdoor, a website to help connect neighbors, I joined because I figured it would still be helpful. And it was. It was a great way to find out the scoop if there was a power outage. It was the perfect place to post that we had found a lost dog. It was a great resource for finding babysitters or music teachers.
We moved into a new home and a new neighborhood about six months ago, and changing my neighborhood profile on Nextdoor was one of the first things I did. I knew that it would be more challenging to feel a sense of community as a newbie in the neighborhood, and I knew that Nextdoor could get me connected quickly. It was really helpful in our adjustment. We were able to post when we had boxes available for other neighbors who were moving. We were able to find new babysitters closer to our proximity. And when a transformer blew and created what sounded like a sonic boom in the middle of the night, several neighbors were online getting to the bottom of the noise. It’s nice to have that touchpoint.
Of course, we have also made efforts to get to know our neighbors in person, and we are feeling more and more like there is a sense of community where we live. But Nexdoor has been a great intro, and a nice icebreaker for when I run into people I have already met online. And for an introvert like me, it’s a perfect way to reconnect with someone I met in person.
Another fun way Nextdoor is getting neighbors connected is with their holiday cheer map. This allows neighbors to give recommendations on where other neighbors can find donation spots, stellar Christmas lights, and other holiday fun.
Nextdoor is a free service, and there are community boards for neighborhoods in every state. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! You can sign up here.