Nextdoor, a social media platform for neighborhoods, hasn’t changed much in the past few years, but that might be starting to change.
On Tuesday, the company unveiled new features, including the ability for users to send connection requests with neighbors so that posts, comments and reactions from their connections are highlighted in the newsfeed of the app. Nextdoor users will also be able to mention neighbors they connect with in their comments and posts. The app will recommend neighbors you may know.
Nextdoor users can welcome new neighbors with reactions and virtual gifts such as cookies and flower emojis. A redesigned profile will encourage users to add a short biography, chosen pronouns and a photo of themselves.
The company is also redesigning the layout of the platform so that the app is easier to find and repetitive and outdated links are removed. The revamped layout and a more relevant feed are currently being tested and will be rolling out globally in the coming months.
Nextdoor product manager Kiran Prasad said in an interview that the updates are part of the company’s new product strategy to help neighbors and organizations create a community where they exchange information, valuable goods and services. The creation of what Nextdoor calls an “active, value-added community” underscores how differently the social network views itself from apps such as Facebook, Twitter and the short-form video app TikTok. Apps like Facebook, Prasad said, are platforms where people come to be entertained while Nextdoor is a place where users complete tasks such as finding a local electrician or a lost pet.
Yet the release of the latest Nextdoor updates also shows that the social network has been slower to experiment with more dramatic changes compared to its competitors. Facebook, which rebranded itself as Meta, focused on short-form video and building virtual worlds where people can work, play and socialize. Facebook first rolled out a tool that showed people you might know in 2008 recommendations that some users find frightening. In May, Facebook began testing a new tool calledaimed at helping people get to know their neighbors and local communities better, by taking on Nextdoor. Social media apps like Twitter have released ways to share live audio and even showcase digital assets known as non-fungible tokens.
Prasad said when the company creates new products, Nextdoor considers whether a tool aligns with the platform’s goal “to cultivate a kinder world where everyone has a neighborhood they can rely on.” If a new feature does this, the company is open to exploring the idea. Nextdoor users, for example, like to chat about cooking so a video product can help people share a recipe, but neighbors may also want to get together to do the activity in person, he said.
On Nextdoor, users post on a variety of topics, including freebies, stolen packages, and coyote sightings. People used Nextdoor during the coronavirus pandemic andoffer help to their neighbours. Like other social networks, however, the company has also dealt with racist posts, shaming and coronavirus misinformation on its platform. Prasad said that while Nextdoor wants people to talk about what’s happening in the world, the social network also wants the conversation to remain civil. In April, the company rolled out an anti-racism notification that encourages users to edit comments or posts containing certain phrases such as “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.” Nextdoor also reminds users to be nice if they are about to post a potentially offensive or hurtful remark.
Founded in 2008, Nextdoor is used in 285,000 neighborhoods and 11 countries. Around 33 million people log in to the platform every week.