The Global Power of Local

Written by Sarah Friar

Sarah Friar is the new CEO of Nextdoor, the world’s largest neighbourhood network that enables truly local conversations online. On Nextdoor, neighbours create private online communities that help them build stronger and safer places to call home. Building connections in the real world is a universal human need. That truth, and the reality that neighbourhoods are one of the most important and useful communities in our lives, has been a source of inspiration and a guiding principle for Nextdoor since it was founded in 2011. Today, neighbours rely on Nextdoor in more than 220,000 neighbourhoods around the world in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Australia, and many more to come!

Happy 2019! Looking out on a brand new year, complete with that wonderful clean slate feel, I wanted to say hello and re-welcome everyone to the neighbourhood. Growing up in Northern Ireland, I was very aware of the importance of strong communities that crossed many divides, including religion. I’ve also lived in countries as far as Ghana, South Africa, and now the United States. What I’ve learned is that everyone cares about the community they live in, and stronger communities have significant bearing on health, wealth, and ultimately happiness.

Today, technology has connected billions of people, enabling quick and easy access to astonishing amounts of information. Despite these global connections, division and discord feels at a fever pitch with long-standing assumptions about our social fabric, universal values, and even the nature of truth and trust becoming frayed. Why?

In so many ways, these connections and this broad access are helpful. But, it naturally forces people to curate and organize the information they consume, in many cases reinforcing assumptions. This tends to spill over in our online and real world networks, and often groups us with increasingly like-minded people to create our own personal echo chamber. The less we prioritize the intentional building of relationships with people whose worldview is different than our own, the more we seem to experience tension and a lack of empathy towards the world around us.

As part of the Nextdoor team, I am privileged to have a front row seat to a different movement. Across the world, there is a universal yearning for the connectedness of proximity. Neighbours everywhere still love and care about belonging to a tangible, real place. In fact, neighbour is defined as “one’s fellow human being” or “a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans,” underscoring that proximity transcends just finding like-minded people. While neighbourhoods of today often look different in terms of their racial, cultural, and socioeconomic makeup, neighbours still clearly understand what makes a block, a street, a village… a good place to live.

Nextdoor has become a place where neighbours can naturally come together to help make their local communities better. The relationships sparked on Nextdoor connect millions of people back to the original social network – their neighbourhood.

What makes Nextdoor unique?

You could say Nextdoor “shrinks the internet,” making it truly local. Most of what we do online every day connects us to things in spite of distance. Nextdoor is gloriously swimming upstream, obsessed with being local. Relevant local conversations, organizations, and businesses catalyze neighbours to engage in real world interactions, and build stronger trusted communities together.

The data all around us is overwhelming. Countless studies show that wellbeing is higher among people who have regular contact with their neighbours. We need no convincing that this is a reality. We see it all the time on Nextdoor.

As we start out on our 2019 journey, we want to re-emphasize that we are here to serve you. As our membership surges to include millions and millions more neighbours across the world, we maintain our commitment to empowering local interactions for our members. Our product features and offerings must evolve and appeal to an increasingly diverse array of members, partners, and businesses, and immediately provide tangible value in connecting all of these stakeholders with their community. We’ll always have more work to do, and of course we’ll get it wrong sometimes – bear with us and help us improve.

Local. Local. Local. This is what makes Nextdoor useful, makes us unique, and represents our shared opportunity with all of you. Let’s make 2019 a year to discover what we have in common with neighbours, so that we might see past our differences. Start small, commit to connecting with one neighbour today. It’s these connections that make us collectively powerful, building stronger and safer communities.

Sarah Friar and the Nextdoor Team

Throughout the year, we’ll continue to share inspiring examples of community leadership, what’s new on the platform, and our learnings on the Nextdoor blog and via Twitter and LinkedIn.


  • Hi Sarah. I would like to advertise my business in a way of offering tours to great Ocean road and Phillip island so that the people of these communities can go and enjoy the surroundings of these areas.

  • Hi Sarah,
    Love your ethos and the purpose of Nextdoor. Wishing you and the team a wonderful 2019.

  • Hi,there are a lot of single people who lost there wives or husbands and a monthly get together would be appreciated as questions could be asked and answers or ideas how to fix the problem would bring the group together as a helpful family.What do you think about a try and see if it works

  • An excellent, an encouraging beginning to the New Year, Sarah. I agree, that we should be able to encompass a close, an safer neighbourhood n which to live. Wishing the Nextdoor Team, and all Members, a safe and happy 2019.

  • Thank you Sarah for your welcoming message and a happy 2019 to you and the Nextdoor team!
    It is so exciting to be part of a local network and to be able to learn and grow with your community, interacting, helping and supporting your fellow neighbors.
    Make our neighbourhood a better place, one step at a time!

  • We are here because we agree and support the ideal of Nextdoor.
    I know tat I for one love the idea of getting to know my local community more.most of us as adept at communicating with the wider community via the internet, whilst sadly losing contact with our local comunities and the vulnerable.
    I applaud your ethos & will strive to do better, especially locally.
    I spend a lot of time alone, at home- not lonely, as I have many interests. I am guilty of not reaching out enough, often needing a ROUND TUIT to do so. You have given me a nudge, thankyou.
    That said, I prefer to shop local & definitely within 50 kn if I can. I am happy to use the internet if I can’t, as that keeps small businesses alive & my Postie in a job

  • Good article, truly building strong communities when all is done, is helping others achieve their dreams and to survive in this world. The strong helping the weak and destitute. So many people commit suicide or at least contemplate it.

    To survive is this beautiful and equally nasty world, we need soild relationships, as we all know ‘gossip’ and slander destroys a persons character, difficult to be redeemed. Humans need love, care and understanding, because we all are unique and walk in different shoes!

    When I see society truly helping others purely for a persons benefit – then I’ll have reason to celebrate, cause it brings me joy and comfort when others are helped and cared for, especially those who need are in need.


  • No-one argues with the concept of stronger community… It’s an absolute given. However, I’d like to see more innovation in this site, Nabo gave diverse information and I for one miss things like notification of what’s on in the area. As I live close to the city I received information about eg. recital centre performances.
    Thanks for your hard work and I hope you can broaden your scope.

  • Hi
    My name is Denise
    I have lived here for almost 20 years
    I love living near the river and believe that we need to share local groups events to enable us to become a close nit group
    Together we can all look after this beautiful community
    I would love to be part of this group
    We need to share our information to learn what events are happening from walking to dancing singing bowls all things active
    Also it’s about caring .. with less people becoming isolated … to help or assist our elderly or those struck down with illness or disability…
    I believe in doing all things kind… to lend a hand .. to give of your time…
    This is what builds a close network and a great community

  • I think if anyone can learn to process anything these days then that is wonderful. But when people learn that their neighbours can be their best friends – regardless of their stations or un-stations in life – then people learn that fascism and communism are not realities in our world, rather, human understanding and interaction is our way forward. Let’s learn to day “Hi, how’s your day going”?

  • Great article Sarah!
    Thank you and yes a connected community
    is essential for most of us and should be fostered by all.

  • I’m sick of the bus trips ads. Surely this site isn’t for business advertising. Otherwise, love it!!

  • What a lovely message to start the new year. I love the spirit of your message Sarah. Happy New Year to you and all my neighbours. I look forward to meeting some of you this year.

  • Hello, What a great idea I joined just this year, I’m not a local resident anymore but I’ve had my business in Hornsby for over 30rys grew up in Normanhurst and lived in the area when I had my bub. Since 2009 have been in the city.
    I’m a local Hornsby business and I had an invitation sent to me , I felt it was necessary to say that as this is clearly a community hub.
    You can email me in regards to all this.

    Regards Deborah

  • Hello Sarah
    Thank-you for your wise words. I wish you the Next-door team & members A happy & safe New year
    Great to be part of such a worthwhile community.

  • Wonderful article, Sarah and so true. Thank you so much and looking forward to the growing of our ‘connecting’ with each other throughout 2019 and beyond.
    Maureen Steininger.

  • What an inspiring message from Sarah, so true and welcoming. Love living in Kensington

  • Brilliantly written, Sarah!
    We recently had our first street party in 20 years; the first of many to come… It was excellent with connections made between young kids of the same age-group, chatting to people we’ve lived near or next-door to for years. The atmosphere in the street has improved immeasurably from just that one catch-up with kids visiting one another after school, everyone waving when driving past.
    Nextdoor is a great initiative. Roll on 2019 with more social connections!

  • It is a wonderful site except i dont believe it should be used as free advertisement for trade people.I am recieving up to seven messages a day from Kylie Baker advertising bus trips andvam sick of deleating them.

  • Hi my name is Dennis Porter.

    I was very keen to join Nextdoor and made application.

    I think it is a great idea and personally, I feel that with my life’s experience thus far I could make a valuable contribution.

    As I was going through the application process, I discovered that a sign up requirement was to allow the scheme access to my personal “contacts” list. I am not comfortable in doing this and feel it would be disrespectful to my personal contacts.

    I fail to see the relevance of my contacts list with respect to me joining in with my neighbors.

    I am disappointed.

  • What a wonderful idea, which it had been around when I was younger, mind you I am glad it is
    around now! Thank you.

    I have a friend also from my suburb who would like to join Nextdoor. Could you please let me
    know how she can join?

  • I have a Samsung galaxy tablet a to give away I would like to give it to a child for school

  • Thanks for your informative introduction. As I’m an internet novice, I’m not sure how to go about informing about my concerns with the brick pavers on the footpaths around the Kent Town, St. Peters and Norwood suburban areas. I have had several serious falls (ending in a visit to hospital) due to the tree roots undermining the pavers and making it dangerous to walk on the footpaths. Where possible I walk on the road to avoid this eventuality! We need the trees, but there must be some way to avoid this dilemma, as I am in my 70’s and am trying to keep fit by walking regularly.I have reported this twice to the Council, with no reply. A friend with whom I play table tennis had also had a visit to hospital, after a fall at Norwood. Where for I go from here?

  • Wonderful words Sarah & I for one am very glad that your beliefs in the community are the same as mine.
    Look forward to a great 2019 with our neighbors in the community.

  • Good message Sarah good luck as new CEO.
    There is a significant importance about enjoying good relations with neighbours and the strong network of locals that look out for each other. Be aware of people being away, put their bins out and take them in, even mow their lawn so it looks lived in, clear the mail and local papers (if you get them).
    We have tried to exchange phone numbers in order to let them know if anything is out of place, The other day our opposite neighbour messaged me to ask if she had closed the garage door, well yes she had but it saved her some angst by being able to get confirmation. A good neighbourhood is where random acts of kindness take place and a nod and wave are a sign we belong.
    Chris, Spring Farm NSW Australia

  • Everybody seems interested in meeting each other but nobody knows what to do to take the first move. Why don’t a place be discussed where neighbors can at least meet each other for the first time? This place is about where ‘Warringah Mall, Brookvale’ is situated. Share your ideas in how neighbors groups can begin. Do not hide the information nor just keep it to yourself!

  • Hi Sarah,
    I live in Melbourne, 5 years ago I went to New York by myself and I organised to meet someone from a group called the apple greeters who spent a day with me voluntarily showing me around, showing me some sights and using the underground. It was fantastic and built my confidence. I am heading to New Orleans on April and then Nashville. I was wondering if there is some type of meet and that exists in these cities to help familiarize visitors and show them some sights.

    Thanks Pauline

  • All the best Sarah. Love your thinking and ideals. Living in large cites like Sydney Australia makes Nextdoor so important.

  • Bravo Sarah on the message which resonates the fact we are Global Citizens all within neighborhoods of people who share one commonality – humanity. We may not align with their religion, food choices, cultural values, pets, house paint colour, or a myriad of other differences, her it’s wirhin that caleidescope of differences we weave a colorful fabric in our own community. We live in two communities; one in Sub Sahara Africa and another in Yandina Creek; Queensland – as difference in so many ways – yet we still wave at the old man as he walks every morning down our dirt street in Africa past our house; and wave to the old man who walks past our house in Yandina.
    Your message Sarah is such a reminder, care, be caring and those moments you’ll know tremendous connectivity.
    Thanks for the well thought words
    Jan & Mike
    Yandina Creek

  • Could someone send me a code to get into Nextdoor site .They keep sending it to the wrong email address

  • Hi Janet,
    We are sorry to hear about the injuries form your falls due to footpaths in your town. This is the perfect kind of question for your neighbours on Nextdoor as it is local residents who will have the best advice for what to do about the dangerous footpaths in your area.

    I would recommend adding it to the ‘Crime and Safety’ section of your neighbourhood on Nextdoor.

    If you have any trouble doing so, please contact us –
    Luke – Community Manager

  • Hi Dennis,
    Thanks for Sharing your experience with us.I can confirm it is not a requirement to give us access to your contacts list at all. This is an option only to invite your friends to join you on Nextdoor, and you can skip the page entirely by pressing ‘skip’ in the top right corner of the page. Nextdoor will never share or sell your private information to anyone.

    I hope you still feel confident enough to join your neighbourhood and if you have any further questions please contact us –

    You can also read more about our approach to safety and privacy here

    Luke – Community Manager

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