MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In this fast-paced world there seems to be little time to really get to know your neighbors. In fact, a Pew Research survey shows only 19 percent of Americans know all of their neighbors.

A new social networking site called Nextdoor is hoping to change that.

There was a time when meeting your neighbors was as simple as walking down the block, but now that initial greeting isn’t so easy.

“Unfortunately, in today’s society, that’s not always received well,” said John Gibbons, a Nextdoor member.

That’s why Gibbons turned to his laptop to get to know those living around him. His neighborhood in St. Louis Park is a member of Nextdoor.

It’s a site that allows residents to build a private social network for their street, block, or housing development. The goal is to get to know your neighbors.

“It’s through the website, I think it brought us closer and helped us meet some of the folks we never had a chance to meet on the street,” said Gibbons.

Once you’re signed in, Nextdoor works as discussion board. Neighbors can post everything from babysitter recommendations to planning the next neighborhood function. It’s a one-stop shop to get the word out to everyone.

Anna Brausch started her Nextdoor network three weeks ago. More than 50 people have already signed up.

“A trickle every day, but it keeps growing and growing,” said Braasch, whose community of Brookview Heights is using the site to work together to update a sign leading into their community. “Someone posted the idea so now people are starting to talk about that. It would have been hard to do that before.”

It is a high-tech version of the old neighborhood watch mentality, connecting a community without leaving the home.

To join a Nextdoor community you do have to prove you actually live in the neighborhood.

Comments (7)
  1. steve says:


    1. Darren says:

      Totally agree. Do it the right way. someone moves in to the neighborhood, go and invite them for a cup of coffee or bring them something to snack on. Introduce yourself and say welcome to the neighborhood. How hard can that possiby be.

  2. TomK says:

    I thnk there is something to be said for what this ‘fast paced lifestyle’ has done to what we knew as our neighborhood. Two income families(almost a requirement now), interests that carry us ‘up north’, etc etc. My wife and I moved into Jordan in 08. We ‘know’ our next door neighbor, but not well. Is this our fault? Some of it, yes. But by and large no one extended a hand or a word from the day we moved in. True, we spend 4 months a year outside the US. But it almost seems as though we as Americans are so leary of our neighbors that we insulate and isolate from anything ‘new’. Our society used to be a very inclusive thing. Those days I think are gone.

  3. not quite says:

    Please ‘organize’ our community.

  4. MB says:

    Both ways are excellent ways to connect neighborhoods. An initial face-to-face greeting is certainly ideal, but after that, staying in touch via the internet is a much more reasonable way to quickly share information and resources.

    We have a block club network in South Minneapolis that is WONDERFUL, which initially started through a neighborhood interest in National Night Out. The way it works: a person offers to be a block leader (which can actually cover more than one block) and is listed with the police department as the block contact person. That person compiles an email list of those in the neighborhood who want to be connected via the internet, and supplies them with the names, addresses and emails of their neighbors. Anyone on the list can do a “group send”, to let others know about things happening, share recommendations and free stuff they have. It has been a huge success, and built a strong community of people. “Nextdoor” is just another way to do that, if you don’t have a block club network in place.

  5. dsgfg says:

    Looks like edemocracy might be falling behind. Better revamp your site Steve Clift!

  6. Steven Clift says:

    If you want to join one of 30+ online Neighbors Forum across the Twin Cities check out: BeNeighbors.org

    There are lots of sites where people are creating -private- electronic block clubs using tools like Facebook Groups or even good old Yahoo Groups.

    If you want to connect -openly- with a wider community (not just in a private gated network) there are many local options.

    To get a sense of what almost 1,000 people in one Minneapolis neighborhood are doing, check out: http://e-democracy.org/se

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