Tag: Social media

New Social Media app ‘Nextdoor’ arrives in Beeston Rylands

Greetings Beestonites, I hope you are all managing to pack in a few last minute events before the end of summer! I for one have been preparing for some down time before the autumn events rush.

Needless to say, just because I wasn’t socialising outwardly, didn’t mean that there hasn’t been some worthwhile social activity going on. I decided to mingle in cyberspace and i found online social network called Nextdoor. The site originated in the USA and to date Nextdoor is available in 50% of the neighbourhoods within the UK. Beeston happens to be one of them.

It is clear this social media platform is gaining momentum. Its mission statement to connect people in real-time, that live nearby, is a massive plus point.

I, like many other young professionals, have had to live in the land of fixed term contracts and as such, have been granted a new address almost every other year. Facebook is loaded with friends (BIG emphasis on the inverted comma’s there) from various locations and life chapters from far and wide. It is a nice platform to say hi to distant acquaintances but I realised that since moving back to the Rylands two years ago, I didn’t actually know that many people in the area anymore. I was feeling physically and psychologically exhausted with travelling around to different cities to visit people all the time. I decided to give this media platform a go in the hope that I would be able to connect to more people nearby and get to know my local area a bit better. I know I want to become more integrated into my local area and I don’t think I am alone.

Frequent relocations are the type of social situation that leads to the fragmentation of communities. As people become more transient, they become more isolated and stressed. I know myself it is hard to feel integrated, and the exhaustion that sets in from frequent moves is also a factor that limits initiation of meaningful social contact.  Research conducted at the University of Birmingham and other reputable establishments have demonstrated the importance of community factors within the neighbourhood. Recently the NHS has recognised loneliness as a legitimate public health problem, and it’s on the increase. The Issue of loneliness was perceived to be limited to elder populations, however published statistics demonstrate that increasing numbers of younger people are feeling isolated.

After registering with the site, you are then connected with people living within your area. This is just like any other social media platform, except it works on a local level, within your specific neighbourhood. You can do anything from; gifting free stuff (good for gardeners as a lot of plants have been exchanged), buying and selling, asking for advice or recommendations on local tradespeople, places to do/ source things, promoting local events, finding out who the local Avon lady is, and seeking advice on practical home matters.

Nextdoor2

One of the main differences between this and other social media sites is that this site is more about getting things done, as opposed to random acts of self-expression. Moderators are on hand to remove any post that is defamatory or inappropriate, rendering this a safe and supportive space to operate online. Unlike other apps, if you sign up to something new, your contact list isn’t imported and automatically available. If you know someone that lives nearby you need to invite them to join (if they aren’t already on the website). You can invite people by a direct invitation online, or you can have a postcard sent to them via the post, free of charge. The low-fi method of expanding the network is straight forwards and quite charming.

You can manage your privacy settings so that you can have a presence on the site without personal info such as; full address, phone number etc. being available for all to see. You can also choose to put a picture up if you fancy but this isn’t mandatory. All the other features of a regular social media site are available. There are; noticeboards for various areas of interest, a private message function, a notifications function and a categories tab in which communications can be assigned based on their topic.

Nextdoor3

I found that using this site, did actually lead to some productive real-life interactions. I met a gentleman that was gifting some free plants, and I went to meet him and his wife. I was expecting a quick pop in, pop out type scenario but instead I spent a good portion of the afternoon in their back-yard amassing as much gardening advice as I could. I have also used the site to shift some free stuff that I had to offer and also posted requests for advice on tradespeople.

One upcoming campaign is the “Share a Cuppa” campaign. This is aimed at encouraging neighbours and members of the local community to take the first step and go for a cup of tea with their neighbours. I for one will be taking part in this campaign once it is launched. I may even write about my experience here. Watch this space people!!!

The Nextdoor social media app is free of charge to use and is available at www.nextdoor.co.uk .There is also an app based version of the platform for Android and iPhone users which can be downloaded from the ‘Play Store’.

DB

The Yorkshireman Speaks

This month our Yorkshireman takes aim at our rampant phone use…

Not Engaged

As I write this article I am sat on a sun lounger in a Turkish holiday resort, where I am performing comedy to holiday makers (I know, it’s a nightmare isn’t it) and I’m doing one of my favourite things, people watching (being nosey). During my stay, I have been alarmed by the amount of people who won’t leave their screens alone. Bronzed faces fixated on tablets and phones, only breaking their trance every so often to lift up the red-hot device to prevent third degree burns to their genitals.

This week I’ve seen a real contrast in behaviour at meal times between the families of the locals and the brits abroad. In the case of the locals the air was alive with chatter and excitement. Some of the British families had the same routines every night, children were sat down, babies plonked in a high chair, the food was put in front of them followed by an iPad placed so closely, that their nose was almost brushing against the screen, some of them even had to lift the fork over the edge just to get the food into their mouths. Meals were eaten mainly in silence, before finally mum and dad joined in with their own phones.

The phone is now our priority, it’s an appendage, look how we can’t separate it from our lives anymore. Go to a live concert, people are on the phones, overtake a car on the M6, he’s on his phone, go out for a drink with a friend you haven’t seen in years and the phones sit there on the table, always in the eye-line, always tempting you, “go on, you haven’t touched me in a few minutes, I might have something you want”. It’s like being in a relationship with a rampant nymphomaniac who won’t leave you alone.

I know it sounds like I’m being deliberately over the top here, but I really think we will look back in years to come and recognise that the invention of the smart phone was the death knell for many things we used to take for granted. The art of conversation, creative thinking, day dreaming, the ability to relax and more crucially our ability to feel.

We are all constantly scrolling through that endless slew of information and not giving a second thought to how it affects us.

Social media is intertwined with your life, your family, and it always demands your attention. All these applications, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are fuelled by likes, validation of your content, it taps into our love of being praised. Look at the terminology used, “followers” “favourites”. It’s a desire for approval that started ever since your mother put that first picture on the fridge. I suppose one of the main differences is that you never feel the urge to use a smartphone in the toilet. My dad always took a newspaper into the loo, it was useful as it was a barometer for how long he would be in there for. If he took in just the motoring section then you could hang about on the landing, but if he disappeared with the Sunday papers you’d have to hold until school on Monday.

Recently my eldest daughter uploaded her very first YouTube video. She’s obsessed with the game Minecraft and regularly will watch videos of other gamers playing and giving a running commentary. I don’t get it, as far as I can see it was like when you used to go around to your mate’s house to play his new video game and he wouldn’t give you the controller. As soon as the video went live she was beaming with pride, which was swiftly followed by a feeling of continual anxiety as she refreshed the page to see how many “likes” she was getting. This generation is utterly defined by how others think of them, the “like” has become the currency of validation, it’s the monster that started with the selfie and it will only end in tears.

We are a world of voyeurs now; the next generation’s emotions are all boiled down to a basic simplification. “Like”, “angry”, “funny” all represented by an emoticon. It’s only a matter of time before it creeps into a wedding speech, “I knew she was the one for me when she was the first to like my status” or even worse a funeral, “we will really miss you Nanna, *sad face* *tear emoticon* #nannagone #noflowersplease”

It’s no wonder we are so de-sensitized. One minute its some photos from a wedding, the next a corpse from a recent terrorist attack all finished off with an album of Kevin’s brand-new summerhouse. We are all constantly scrolling through that endless slew of information and not giving a second thought to how it affects us. I know it can’t be stopped, it’s too late now. The smart phone is like the Terminator, “It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with and it won’t stop, even when you are dead”

Maybe we will wake up from this. Perhaps one day in the near future when the first baby is born with a screen for a face we might have a word with our selves. Either that or just take its picture and hope it goes viral.

Find the Scott Bennett Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes.

SB

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