Tuesday Buzz: When the Gated Online Community Works

Nextdoor, a social network for neighborhoods, succeeds despite being tough to join. Also: how one popular Twitter-based chat has slowly gained relevance.

This is the story of a social network that has a high barrier to entry, and it’s all the better for it.

Nextdoor, a site designed to connect people in local neighborhoods, has quietly built a massive nationwide membership base—40,000 communities, or one in four neighborhoods nationwide. You can’t share posts, nor would you want to—the focus is on directly connecting neighbors with one another, a model that goes against traditional logic about social networks.

And if you want to sign up, you’d better be prepared to jump through some hoops: The network won’t let you connect unless you can prove you are who you say you are and live at the address you say you do, whether by billing info or postcard.

But the benefit is that the relationships are more intimate than you can get on, say, Facebook.

“The rise of social networks means many people have hundreds or even thousands of digital connections to old friends, coworkers, and acquaintances,” The Verge‘s Ben Popper writes. “But increasingly that wealth of online companionship corresponds with a loss of close relationships to the real-life human beings in our neighborhoods.”

NextDoor, he says, helps rekindle some of that closeness.

The success of this kind of private social network—which, by the way, has yet to raise any revenue despite its size—is a reminder that the Facebooks of the world aren’t everything and that privacy drives intimacy.

Relevance Rules the Day

Aptify marketing guru Kiki L’Italien has been hosting #assnchat for years now, and in that time, she’s spotted an interesting trend—the topics being discussed are moving away from more general issues of the day.

“As time has progressed—it’s been around for five years now—people are more and more wanting to get into the relevancy for associations,” she says in an interview with Digitec’s Jack McGrath, shown above. “What makes us relevant while people are finding more and more connections online using social media?”

Be sure to check out the rest of the interview, where L’Italien talks about other relevancy issues, as well as up-and-coming technologies such as massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Other good reads

Apple’s good at a lot of things, but one place where it’s fallen behind is social media. That might change, thanks to a big digital strategy hire, CMSWire reports.

Tough night? Didn’t get much sleep? New York magazine feels ya. Check out its recent post on how to survive a sleep-deprived day.

You may be more like Michael Scott than you realize. AudienceBoom’s Jayson DeMers, writing at, discusses the signs that you may have an office full of employees who dislike you.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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