I was invited by a neighbor to join “NextDoor.com”, a social networking site. At first I resisted, as I am already on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and a number of other sites. Why would I need to be on one more? While skeptical, I decided to give it a try, and I’m glad I did!
What is Nextdoor.com?
Nextdoor.com is a social network for individuals living in neighborhoods, HOA’s and Condo associations. It serves as an online forum and discussion board specifically for fellow association members and neighbors. Essentially, it allows you to connect with your neighbors online. Some of the features include: message forums, classified ads, community calendars, document distribution (meeting minutes and bylaws) and local business reviews.
The thing I like most about NextDoor.com is that each member you are connected with is a neighbor and has a vested interest in the same neighborhood and community as you. This is something we all instantly have in common, and makes the community a richer social networking experience.
With this in mind, if you are an association board member or property manager, here are four reasons why you should consider joining NextDoor.com:
- It provides an alternative way to communicate with owners. While formal communications must happen at board meetings, NextDoor may provide an additional outlet to communicate what is said in meetings for those who could not attend. The Meeting Minutes can be posted on the site for owners who are out of town or are unable to regularly attend meetings due to a work schedule. NextDoor.com offers another way to communicate.
- It allows you to get information out to owners quickly when needed - Sometimes it is important to communicate messages in a timely manner. For example, if there have been a series of burglaries, you can use the site to quickly communicate this to owners so that they can take appropriate protective measures and also be on the look out for the burglars.
- To have a finger on the pulse of what is going on in the community - Even if you do not participate in the communications, just signing up and logging in can allow you to see the conversations that are happening within the "community’s water cooler”. This helps the board and management to keep a finger on the pulse of the community and potentially de-escalate certain issues before they blow up.
- It’s fun! - I find most social networks to be fun. You can share funny insights, observations, and just have a good time connecting with people who you otherwise may not have an opportunity to connect with.
Keep in mind that there are alternatives to NextDoor.com that serve the same purpose. Associations and communities may opt to create a Facebook Group or they may choose to include a message board on their public website.
No matter which option you choose, online communications should not replace the formal communication and dialogue that occur during the board meetings, but they may provide an additional outlet for people to communicate with each other. At the very least, boards and managers should know these sites and online forums exist and that people can and will use them to communicate, ask questions, and voice their opinions. Let us know if you have any questions!