Why “Nextdoor” Will Never Work To Build Community
Soho Strut is on a mission to build a grassroots online to offline (and vice-versa) community in SoHo. We get to talk about our mission frequently, and after chatting with people at the lululemon “Live Your Best Life” event last week, we learned about “Nextdoor“, a start-up that is a “social networking service for neighborhoods”.
The premise is that it allows users to connect with people who live in their neighborhood.
Since we had never heard of it, we decided to research and learned Nextdoor has been around since 2011 and has raised $100.2 Million in 3 Rounds from 14 Investors.
Oh what we could do with $100 Million Dollars…!
Nextdoor hopes to facilitate the exchange of goods and services in a manner similar to Craigslist and has been characterized by The Washington Post as part of a “wave” of community focus in the United States. They also hope to capitalize on what they perceive to be a widespread longing for local community at a time when online social networks are widely used.
It was touted to us as the solution to building communities online in NYC neighborhoods. After registering for an account, there is one main screen that shows your home page: an inbox, “stream” of recent new neighboors, posts by category, etc.
Another screen shows a map of the specific neigborhood. Red means there are no residents that are on the network, green means there are residents on the network.
There are 53 neighbors in SoHo. Knowing personally that there are over 13,000 residents, this 53 is pretty unimpressive, especially for a start-up that has been around since 2011!
While the premise of building an online network makes sense, this model will not work long-term because there needs to be a point person responsible in each neighborhood to engage local residents and creating offline (in-person) events.
There is no incentive for people to post anything other than craigslist type items to sell/purchase.