Being productive with Nextdoor, for uncluttering and more

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.

4 Comments for “Being productive with Nextdoor, for uncluttering and more”

  1. posted by Harry Metzger on

    Have been a lead for our neighborhood for nearly 2 years. Excellent outlet for getting to know and celebrate your neighbors.

  2. posted by Martin on

    Longtime appreciative reader here. Thank you for the heads-up about Nextdoor. I went to the site and wanted to see if my nabe is active enough that I’d want to sign up. It appeared that I couldn’t do that without first submitting my exact address and my email address. I don’t want to spread that info around unnecessarily, for reasons everyone understands. Do you know if there’s a benign way by which I can check out Nextdoor? Thanks.

  3. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    Martin, there’s no way to look at your neighborhood info without signing up (and getting approved), so as to protect the privacy of those people who are already members. Once you ARE a member, you can hide your address (but not your street) from others. More information here:

  4. posted by Sarah on

    Martin, I’d advise you to be careful about signing up with Nextdoor; I have read a lot of reviews of them online and it seems very hit-or-miss in terms of quality.

    BUT no matter the quality, you ARE divulging very personal information to an organization that is not very transparent. Based on what I have read, I would not use Nextdoor; just my opinion.

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