Nextdoor: The Rise of a New Social App

After the upteenth tornado-bathroom trip.

Two weeks in deep into Hurricane Harvey, I am one of the VERY lucky to stay dry.  One thing that goes unmentioned, though, and this goes especially for those displaced – is the phenomenal amounts of anxiety one experiences going through a hurricane. The preparation.  Landfall.  The wait.  The recovery.  I can’t imagine evacuation…  I think I spent half of Saturday in a bathtub, until I resigned that all the “tornado warnings” were a lie and walked out to survey my front yard.  That’s when a neighbor told me one just hit a couple miles from me.  Back to the bathtub I went.

My phone never shut-up that weekend.  I heard helicopters non-stop over my area at midnight.  When do you know its close?  Does it mean “me” or ALL of Houston and where does my area fit in that? I don’t live in the loop!  Friends quickly told me the place to go:  Nextdoor.

I’ve known about the Nextdoor app for quite awhile.  They sent out large mailers, I see the advertisements, but I’m not just that keen on knowing my neighbors.  I know one and wave to the rest on my bike.  The old man who likes to do his yard, the Asian garden lady, the guy who likes to classic rock jam in his garage.  I’m probably the girl with lights on her bike that go wrr wrr (yes, I actually heard someone say this).  Our unspoken terms are: when I have a party don’t call the cops and forgive their parking.  When you have one, I’ll do the same.

It’s a good neighborhood.

The Nextdoor app, though, puts names and faces to these waves and friendly smiles.  When you download it asks for your address, it verifies your location and asks for a “real name”  to build trust.  The first three times I downloaded it, I uninstalled on the “real name” part.  The geek in me cringes.

I did eventually download the app and wow!  Neighbors telling me the closest gas stations.  Is H-E-B open?  Is there a line?  Where did the floodline stop?  Did it get to ___ neighborhood? (and they respond with pictures sometimes).  What was that sound?  Did a transformer give out?  The wealth of information was staggering!  I heard of one lady going to her roof and asked her neighbors on the app to please keep requesting 911 for her.  A neighbor responded, “I am unloading my kayak, I am on the way.”

I was witnessing the birth of a great idea really take hold.  It’s advertised as a place for garage sales and recommendations for a plumber, but this is where it really found its niche and SHINED.