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Social Network by Neighborhood - Scott Adams' Blog

Social Network by Neighborhood

A few years ago I moved into a neighborhood that has a tradition of annual block parties. Someone clever took the opportunity to collect the names and email addresses of all the neighbors and put them in a master list available to all. It’s a great tool for organizing holiday events, warning of minor crimes and suspicious activity, looking for lost pets, getting group discounts on window washing, and that sort of thing. And it makes everyone feel more connected. It also makes me wonder how awesome it would be to have a more robust social application designed just for neighborhoods.

A typical family is often in need of babysitters, pet watchers, and various odd jobs, both paid and unpaid. It would be terrifically convenient for teens and retired people to post their availability for different types of tasks. Let’s assume the neighborhood social application gives you the option of hiding a job listing from the creepy loner down the street, just to be safe.

You could imagine a borrowing section on the site, for tall ladders, special tools, pickup trucks, and that sort of thing. The borrowing would be managed through the application so there’s always a record of who has what. After an agreed borrowing period, the borrower would get repeated and automatic email nudges from the system, with a cc to the lender, asking for the item back. That takes the awkwardness out of it. And of course one need not offer to lend anything in the first place. It’s all optional.

I would also think ride sharing works best when organized among neighbors. That reduces the need to drive to the pickup area.

I think you’d see neighbors organizing golf outings, movie nights, potlucks, and even vacations. And the kids would always know which neighborhood kids are done with homework and available for a pickup game of driveway hoops.

Neighbors could organize discounts for various services, from gutter cleaning, to window washing, to pool and lawn care, to house cleaning. I think most service providers would agree to a 10% discount in return for doing several consecutive jobs in the same neighborhood without any downtime for travel.

I can imagine a neighborhood social application making it easy to organize shared cooking nights. One family might make the lasagna while another makes the side dish and a third does a salad. If you want to keep the expense contributions similar over time, the system can track how much each family contributes using a simplified cost scale, with salad = 1, side dish =2, chicken = 3, and so on.

Another benefit is job networking. Most jobs are found through personal contacts. The neighborhood application would let everyone know which neighbors are looking for what sort of work. When you’re looking for a job, the more people you know, the better.

For some types of jobs, your neighbors are your natural customers. And when you’re looking for a real estate agent, or a mortgage banker, it would be nice to know your neighbor is in that business.

That’s my idea for today. I hope you tell me the application already exists.