Swarms of bees, NervouS neighbors, dealing deals. the hyperlocal social network Is a hilarious world with something for everyone
We hear a lot about people going nuts on social media these days about pretty much everything. Political fights on Twitter. Arguments over schools re-opening on Facebook. Crazed reactions on Instagram, and everywhere else, about Kim Kardashian celebrating her 40th birthday with a few dozen close, personal friends and family members on a private island in Polynesia during the pandemic. You name it, and someone is ready to get online complain about it.
Then there is Nextdoor. You might have heard of Nextdoor, and may even be on it right now. For those not in the know, Nextdoor is a social media channel that, as its name suggests, focuses on those who are literally next door to you. Ostensibly, it’s not a place to blast out memes or get into pissing matches over the issues of the day. It’s intended to be a place for folks to help each other out, and get and give information about what is going on in their immediate neighborhoods.
And boy, do people like to use Nextdoor to share breaking news about what is going on in their immediate neighborhoods. So much so that the content on site often reads like a combination of what you might hear between a group of 8th grade middle school kids and a meeting of conspiracy theorists who think the government’s sinister black helicopters are coming in over the nearby hills.
But some on Nextdoor don’t need to see those black helicopters to jump right into the net of fear. Honestly, just spend a few days reading the headlines in your Nextdoor feed and all the local “Nextdoorers” (If you know a better nickname for Nextdoor users, please feel free to beat me over the head with it) would have you believe that literally anything right outside of their front doors is a gateway to impending doom.
“HEADS UP, PEOPLE. BLACK DENALI W/GUYS WEARING FACE MASKS AND CARRYING A GUN(S).”
“We just had a male come onto our property and was bent over with a flashlight in what looked like attempted theft of a catalytic converter. We yelled and he took off into a waiting getaway car.”
“This car with two people and a big dog turned at the culdesac and stopped at my house taking photos with an iPhone for a few minutes. Anyone recognize who these people are? Could be something bad, maybe it isn’t but better safe than sorry.”
I know it makes sense to keep one’s eyes and ears open around their neighborhood. But, when I go outside, most of the time I am just trying to not spill a bowl of old cantaloupe rinds on my feet as I make my way to the green recycling bin, or I’m hauling a trash bag full of defiled cat litter over to the garbage can before it rips apart and all over the driveway. I’m too caught up in such everyday chores to pay attention to that moving van with no logo on the side and into which some guys are loading the 75-inch flat screen TV from the neighbor’s house across the street. I could be walking across a moat full of alligators and I wouldn’t notice what was going on around my feet.
Speaking of alligators, another one of Nextdoor’s hot daily topics has to do with various types of wildlife that have run amok in our area. You’d think we were living on the African savannah based on how many of our neighbors react to the critters around us.
“Today at 1:08 p.m. two deer ripped through the yard with a MOUNTAIN LION??? in pursuit. It happened really fast, we caught it on camera.”
(For the record, this “mountain lion” ended up being another deer.)
“Anyone missing a turkey? We saw this big turkey in the bike lane of XXXX (between YYYY and ZZZZ) at 8:35 a.m. this morning.”
(I can’t, in all good conscience, give away where this turkey was seen, in the event the viewers actually read this. However, it should be noted that turkeys on the streets of the Oakland hills are as common as our sports teams leaving town.)
”Swarm!? Does anyone know someone who wants a swarm and can safely move it? It’s right in our driveway next to the road in a place people walks dogs and families.”
(Does anyone ever actively seek out a “swarm” of anything? I have wanted a lot of things in life. Money. Women. The biggest TV possible. But, wanting a “swarm” of bees has never, ever crossed my mind even in the most beer-addled of beer-addled moments in college.)
And then there are the grab bag of Nextdoor posts that are really all over the place. These make the site look like a cross between a giant Help Wanted site, a place to look for services based on some kind of frontier-level barter method, and a repository for photos of sunsets.
“These amazing kids have been walking my dogs and the dogs are SO happy to go out with them. Today the kids showed up with delicious home made cookies. I’m pretty sure we are getting the better end of this deal!”
“Curious to know if you refrigerate your bread. I had been doing so, since it takes me up to a couple of weeks to finish a loaf, but I read that it’s not a good idea. I tried leaving a loaf in the cupboard, and saw this white coloration on the last few slices. Can anyone say whether this is likely to be mold or not?”
“I need to drive two cats in a Subaru Forrester for 9 hours. Looking for advice. Do people who have made a long trip like this keep your pet in a carrying case or crate?”
I could go on and on. “Stolen roller skates”. “Family takeout options”. “Poisoning underground rodents.” “Goats have arrived in the Hills!” “Seeking plumber to fix shower that does not drain.” You name it, and someone is on Nextdoor either offering it, looking for it, complaining about it or praising it.
There really is something for everyone. Including those of us wondering about a sophisticated PayPal scam involving an altercation with a bike rider during a red flag day when we need a recommendation for a plumber who might have an answer about just what kind of bird this is that’s in the middle of the sidewalk repairs that are way long overdue.