The neighborhood social network Nextdoor is gearing up for the 2018 primaries and beyond, partnering with public agencies and local governments, and encouraging civil political discourse in an increasingly partisan America.
When Hala Hijazi wanted her friends to meet London Breed, then a candidate for mayor of San Francisco, she invited the whole neighborhood.
Hijazi, a community organizer and consultant, lives in the city’s Marina District and is a member of Nextdoor, the neighborhood social-media site.
She planned the meet-and-greet on the Marina’s bustling Chestnut Street and posted it on Nextdoor. One neighbor said he wouldn’t vote for Breed. She said another called the candidate “the worst.” Still others decided to vote for Breed after meeting her in person.
“Nextdoor is organic and, sometimes, it is going to be raw,” Hijazi said.
Breed won the mayoral election in June.
“People feel like only wealthy donors get access to politicians,” Hijazi said, adding, “I am doing this as a service to my community.”
Nextdoor has a reputation for being a home for cranky neighbors, people trying to find a reliable plumber, and frantic pet owners looking for their lost dogs.
But, as the saying goes, all politics is local. And with political engagement at an all-time high, Nextdoor is gearing up for the 2018 political primaries and beyond, partnering with public agencies and local governments, and encouraging civil political discourse in an increasingly partisan America.
Fights between supporters of President Donald Trump and their nonsupporting neighbors have driven some Nextdoor users away. To address those concerns, the San Francisco-based company is creating separate forums for neighbors who want to discuss national politics. Some cities, too, are frustrated with the service, saying there is no mechanism for local politicians to have a dialogue with constituents on the site.