About a year ago I joined my local Nextdoor community. For those who aren’t aware of Nextdoor, it’s a “private social network for your neighborhood.” Nextdoor is currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
As a locally focused network, Nextdoor won’t have messages about national politics. The following are the kinds of messages I usually see:
- Lost and found pets: dogs, cats, and chickens
- Other lost and found items, including keys, phones, and jewelry
- Items for sale (or items being given away for free)
- Items people are looking for (usually free or inexpensive)
- Requests for a good painter, plumber, handyperson, house cleaner, etc.
- Notices about local events
- Notices about local road closures
As with any such network, taking time to use it effectively will pay off. If you’re using Nextdoor (or considering such use in the future), please keep the following suggestions in mind.
Choose your notification options carefully
Nextdoor lets you choose to get emails about every post from your neighborhood (and top posts from nearby neighborhoods), no emails at all, or something in between. You can also choose to get a daily digest, and the contents of that digest can be customized a bit. You can also select which “nearby neighborhoods” you want to see messages from, whether that’s via email or on the Nextdoor website or mobile app.
You can also choose to get mobile alerts about urgent items: missing children, natural disasters, etc.
You may not be sure which messages you want to get at first, so just make your best guess and then adjust as necessary after you’ve been in the network for a while.
Use good subject lines
Just as with email, you will make everyone’s life a bit easier if the subject line makes it obvious what your message is about. I get a lot of Nextdoor emails every day, and I want to be able to quickly scan to see which ones may be of interest.
I saw a message this week with the subject line “Hi all” — which wound up being someone who was looking for a vacuum cleaner. A subject line saying “Wanted: vacuum cleaner” or “Need a vacuum cleaner” would have been a whole lot better.
Similarly, a lost and found message entitled “Lost bracelet at or around Farmers Market” is much better than one that just says “bracelet.”
Include good photos when relevant
Just as you would with Craigslist, be sure to include good photos if you’re offering something for sale (or even for free). Even if it’s something where the looks don’t matter (such as tickets to an event) or something pretty standard (like a Kindle), a photo can help because the message will look better in the online listings.
This is one area where I want to commend my neighbors, who have generally done a good job of this. One person even included a picture of the “free clean dirt” being offered — which got taken pretty quickly!
Also consider photos when posting about lost or found items or pets.
I haven’t yet used Nextdoor to give things away, since my local freecycle group usually works fine for that. But I have some china to get rid of, and I just might try selling it on Nextdoor.