New Social Network Aims Smaller, More Local

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Forget about your friends for a second, and start getting more community-minded; a new social network is much more interested in where you live, and who your neighbors are.

Nextdoor is a new social networking site launching to the public today, with a twist. Because, as founder Nirav Tolia told All Things D, “your neighbors and friends are different people,” Nextdoor is a site where you and the people you live beside can talk about local issues, whether it’s block parties, safety or maintenance issues, or anything else that you’d otherwise have to set up mailing lists, private emails or—gasp—actually leave the internet and go outside to deal with.

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The site currently has 176 active “neighborhoods” across the U.S., but users can set up their own neighborhood themselves, selecting a geographical location (boundaries for said location are set by the user) and then convincing neighbors to join. If 10 users sign up from a particular location within 15 days, that neighborhood becomes active. All content posted to the site will remain private to its neighborhood, inaccessible to outsiders.

The focus on local community will, Tolia hopes, differentiate Nextdoor from other social networks. It’ll also provide a hook for future advertisers, with the potential there for hyper-targeted local advertising, as well as the chance for smaller businesses to reach audiences that they otherwise may not have been able to afford.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.