Online Social Networks and the Neighborhood Renaissance

A new online social network wants to bring neighborhoods together in ways that may agree with how people want to know their neighbors, i.e. semi-anonymously and at their convenience. 

What's the Latest Development?

A new social network wants you to get to know your neighbors, with hopes of strengthening communities across the country. The site is called Nextdoor and it offers house-by-house maps to which individuals and families can attach their names (or not) as well as "a forum for posting items of general interest; classified listings for buying, selling or giving away things; and a database for neighbor-recommended local services." The service is currently free and carries no advertising, though the company wants to generate support for local businesses by allowing them to post special deals for neighborhood residents. 

What's the Big Idea?

An awkward encounter with a neighbor is nothing new. But the strange feeling of a silent elevator ride or quick hallway run-in is not bad. In fact, the urban sociologist Louis Wirth once said that having 'anonymous' and 'superficial' relationships was essential to city living. Might neighborhood-based social networks be the perfect medium to build community cohesion without obligating strangers to get to know each other on intimate levels? Although we may have forgotten, Facebook's original purpose was to serve a community defined by real-life proximity--the neighborhood, if you will, inside Harvard University.

Photo credit:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

The most culturally chauvinist people in Europe? Greeks, new research suggests

Meanwhile, Spaniards are the least likely to say their culture is superior to others.

Image: Pew Research Center
Strange Maps
  • Survey by Pew Research Center shows great variation in chauvinism across Europe.
  • Eight most chauvinist countries are in the east, and include Russia.
  • British much more likely than French (and slightly more likely than Germans) to say their culture is "superior" to others.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less