The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

July 11, 2014

Connecting with neighbors | Nextdoor.com keeps folks aware of surroundings

JOHNSTOWN — How do folks living “next door” to each other get together in today’s world?

On social media, of course, and the technology is proving to be an effective means for driving positive change.

Several Johnstown neighborhoods have adopted the social media site Nextdoor.com as a vehicle for connecting and cooperating for shared benefit.

Nextdoor.com and similar sites can help keep folks aware of the good (events, services) and bad (crime, missing pets) in the areas where they live and play.  

About 40 residents of the Roxbury section of the city have connected through Nextdoor, an organizer said.

The social media site is also gaining traction in Moxham and among residents of Luxor Gardens Apartments.

Terry McIntosh, who founded the Nextdoor chapter in Roxbury, told reporter Dave Sutor the goal is “connecting people with their neighbors.”

“I think, in my block, I might know six neighbors,” McIntosh said. “You just don’t get out and talk, whether people are working more, both mother and father working more, nobody’s home, you’re

not hanging out in your yard. You’re on your computer.”

Nextdoor boasts more than 37,000 registered neighborhoods.

“We have a lack of communication,” McIntosh said. “You don’t know your neighbors like you did

50 years ago.”

He added: “Technology has kind of driven people into their homes. Maybe this can drive people back out in a different way.”

It may seem old-fashioned, but we would love to see more people actually meeting and interacting face to face – across the backyard hedge, at the playground or along the sidewalks in their neighborhoods.

But we also realize that people today have less free time and are more technology focused than their predecessors. Cultural and behavioral shifts have separated us from people who might reside just a few yards away.

The residents of these communities have found one means to connect and communicate.

We urge them to use their newfound social media relationships for good – and then to make time to actually say hello in person.

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