The following message was posted on our neighborhood’s Nextdoor web site this past week:
Hi, I am K…, new to the neighborhood. My husband B… and I recently bought a house in the neighborhood and will move in this weekend. Nice to “meet” you all here!
A day later, there was the following response:
Welcome, K… and Bob…! Your name seems to be Maharashtrian! Were you born in the US? Do you speak Marathi? I was born in Maharashtra but am married to a German and we live on…
To which the original poster responded:
Hi S…! Yes, you guessed it right. I am from the burbs of Mumbai (panvel) and speak Marathi! So excited to have a fellow marathi-speaker in the neighborhood! And a German-speaker too (I’ve learnt German, used to be fluent at one point, but not quite forgotten the whole language, yet, haha!). Would love to get together with you both, once we’re settled in Thank you for the message.
My first reaction when I saw this was ‘Wow! That is so cool.’
I can’t imagine how nice it must be for someone to move into a new neighborhood and learn that they have an immediate connection with someone, a connection that originated thousands of miles away.
I also thought that such connections don’t happen just by luck. It took a willingness on the part of the original poster to reach and introduce herself to the neighborhood.
I also realized the exchange above was another example of the power of Nextdoor, which I’ve written about before.
If you are not familiar with Nextdoor.com, it is a hyperlocal Facebook/Craigslist/community bulletin board. With Nextdoor.com, neighbors can ask around for babysitting services, advice on choosing a plumber, making announcement about community meetings, or, as shown above, simply introduce themselves or welcome new neighbors.
It is this bringing together of people that to me shows the real power and promise of the Internet. The variety of connections that people can make are many:
- neighbors can connect through sites like Nextdoor
- friends, family, and fans can connect through sites like Facebook
- people from around the world can interact in real time with each other through sites like Twitter
- business people can find their new job or new employee through sites like Linkedin
These types of web sites are lumped under the category of “social media”, and such a moniker doesn’t really capture the true value of what these sites offer.
The ability for people to connect with each other through such sites could represent the primary, and sometimes only, form of communication that some people have with others.
These sites make a difference in the lives of millions, if not billions, of people.
And sometimes it just starts with a simple ‘Hello’.