Show me a neighborhood where residents never talk and I’ll show you a community ripe for crime and problems. While there is no replacement for actually talking to neighbors in person, these days it’s so easy to be connected online, which can be a huge benefit for a neighborhood to communicate more effectively and solve issues.
Here are three platforms to consider for connecting with neighbors:
- Yahoo Groups: I’ve used the Yahoo Groups platform in my neighborhood for over four years now and it’s been a great tool to build relationships and solve community problems. If you are not familiar with the “Groups” format, it’s basically a place to share messages and communicate quickly with a large number of people. You can share files, pictures, keep a community calendar and more. In my neighborhood it’s common to hear things like, “there is a small brown dog running around” or “there have been some break-ins” or “let’s plan a BBQ next week.” The forum can be private or public, you have the power to moderate, and you can invite outsiders to join the conversation too. It can be helpful to get a group of neighbors on board and also invite council members and police officers to be a part of the forum. The strong benefit is that Yahoo Groups is very easy to use for all ages and you can post by email. The real downfall is that it’s not easy to go back and find old messages and the platform overall is fairly basic. Visit Yahoo Groups.
- Google Groups: This is Google’s version of Yahoo Groups. I have not used this platform personally, but it seems to have all the same features as Yahoo Groups and it is likely just as easy to use. However, Google does appear to have better mobile posting features and my hunch is their platform probably has a smoother design and some nifty tech too. Visit Google Groups.
- Nextdoor: There is a new startup called Nextdoor that touts itself as “social networking for neighbors.” Their site seems very user-friendly so far and has a “Facebook-ish” feel. Only residents in a tightly defined neighborhood can join the Nextdoor site for their community. Nextdoor has a verification process for members, which takes work off of residents figuring out if someone lives in the neighborhood or not. Their system seems to make it very easy to create events, share pictures and have conversation all in one place. The downfall is that you cannot post via email (they say they’re working on that), outsiders cannot join as members (City Hall can join to post messages, but cannot see resident messages), and ultimately Nextdoor is a start-up. We don’t know whether they’ll be successful or not in years to come, though they appear to have big financial backing. Visit Nextdoor.com. I have joined Nextdoor and a few neighbors have done so also. We are testing it out right now and I’ll have more to say about it in coming weeks and months.
What else is out there for connecting? What would you recommend to friends or clients? If you are in real estate, what tools do you suggest to new homeowners when you hand over the keys?
If you have any questions, or real estate appraisal or property tax appeal needs in the Greater Sacramento Region, contact Lundquist Appraisal by phone 916-595-3735, email, Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to posts by email.