Nextdoor, a growing social network designed to connect you to people in your local neighborhood, has just released its first iPhone app.
Nextdoor aims to bring a much more local experience to social media. It’s about local yard sales, lost dogs, free couches on the curb, and neighborhood watches – essentially, a Facebook for your neighborhood to discuss local issues. Anyone can create their own Nextdoor neighborhood, and if your home isn’t in one already, the app will ask you to create and define the boundaries of the neighborhood you live in.
The Nextdoor service is still in its infancy, so unless you’re in San Francisco or New York City, you’ll probably need to do some of the setup work yourself, creating a neighborhood and inviting local residents to it. Once the group grows, you’ll be able to use it to discuss local issues, locate a baby sitter, or plan a local parade or event. You'll also be able to send out emergency messages (about a local fire, for example) to users by text. If it’s local, Nextdoor wants to connect you and keep you informed. Approximately 12,600 neighborhoods currently exist, and the process for creating your own neighborhood is as easy as drawing on a Google map and coming up with a name.
Nextdoor adds an extra layer of security between you and strangers by requiring you verify your address before using the app. There are three ways to do this: Send in a postcard, share your credit card’s billing address, or have Nextdoor contact your mobile phone. If someone doesn’t live in your neighborhood, they won’t be able to join your local group and read your conversations. The security measures may seem a bit inconvenient, but they're all designed to provide a safe social media experience.
For now, Nextdoor seems a bit small to be of serious use to most, but then again, Facebook was small once too. If you’re willing to put in the work and get your neighbors involved, though, Nextdoor is a powerful way to connect in a new way.
Nextdoor is currently available through iTunes for all iOS devices.