This is a local business for local people; we'll have no trouble here...


I found a letter on my doormat last week inviting me to join Streetlife.com, a social network based around you and your neighbours. Unlike Facebook where you choose who you interact with, Streetlife links you with all and sundry in your immediate area. You can choose whether you reach out to your immediate locale or to a wider area which is useful for a business like mine.

local


By opening an account you can engage with those around you on everything from lost cats, recipies, tradespeople recommendations, clubs, items for sale and anything else that would be at home on a community noticeboard.


It's a good idea, but it really depends on how many people sign up and, thereafter, regularly sign in. You also have to be mindful of other people's opinions as we've all seen what happens when someone thinks they're making a joke on social media only to find themselves fired from their job and condemned by the press for offending others.


If you're of a mind to connect to those around you, take a look at streetlife.com. My own Streetlife page can be found here: https://www.streetlife.com/page/david-savery-electrical-services-ltd/


Update 26/02/17

Sadly, Streetlife is no more after they sold themselves out to America's Nextdoor who do a similar thing, but much less effectively.

As I said when this aricle was originally written two years ago, this kind of enterprise lives or dies by how many people it can attract. Streetlife got it right by treating Warwick, Leamington and the surrounding areas as one entity with over 700 members from Bishops Tachbrook to Cubbington, Hatton to Chesterton.

streetlifereach


And quite right too, after all we're a close-knit semi-rural community, but Nextdoor doesn't understand that and slices us up into zones as though we're districts of a large city.

nextdoorEven my tiny suburb of Whitnash is divided into north and south regions with separate memberships!


From a reach of over 700 people, any potential audience is now reduced to a couple of hundred. Anything north of Old Town or west of Warwick Gates is now off-limits to me, whereas under Streetlife I had a business page covering all of Warwick, Leamington and the outlying areas.

businesspage


Added to the problem of the reduced audience is the fact that Nextdoor has no business pages. Apparently they're coming, but there's nowhere for me to migrate my Streetlife presence to immediately. This is annoying because I'd built up a good reputation on Streetlife and had done work for people all over the area. A lot of people found me on Streetlife and I had paid for sponsored posts in the past.


With no business page facility and a reduction in audience, I won't be paying Nextdoor for anything. The audience who can see any post is now reduced to about what I'd get if I simply shouted out of my window. Restricting communications to little more than your immediate neighbours makes it useful for reporting missing cats, but little else.


The people who run Nextdoor, and who have applied a large city model to a rural community, must be bafflingly stupid if they don't understand that any social platform lives or dies by the number of poeple it reaches out to. By narrowing down the audience and active participants, traffic will die down to a point where people just don't bother with it.


Of course, Nextdoor won't change and it won't die either. They're a big, international player and it's no skin off their nose if they provide a poorer service to a couple of English market towns compared to what Streetlife provided before. It's just a damn shame that we had something that worked, and now we've got this thing which doesn't.

 
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