Leading academics say ‘social capital’ is being built by the platform across the UK
London, 3rd August, 2017 – At a time of rising concern about the negative effects of social media on mental health and wellbeing, Nextdoor, the free and private social network for neighbourhoods, today publishes the first ever formal evaluation of the platform’s impact in the UK. The study, conducted by leading academics and experts in social capital and community cohesion, concludes that Nextdoor is helping people to feel safer after dark, more able to rely on neighbours in times of need, more trusting of one another, and more satisfied with both their neighbourhood and their life in general.
The research comes just weeks after the Royal Society for Public Health found that four of the most-used social networking sites made feelings of anxiety worse the more people used them. But the new study, authored by Eddie Kane, a Professor of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham, with a foreword by Dame Louise Casey, concludes that Nextdoor is helping to build ‘social capital’, with neighbourhoods becoming stronger, safer and happier places to live. Nextdoor has grown rapidly since launching in the UK last September, and now operates in over 11,500 neighbourhoods – over 45% of all UK neighbourhoods.
In response to the findings, Nextdoor today issued a call to action in conjunction with Neighbourhood Watch and The Challenge, two of the UK’s largest and most important social integration charities. The three organisations are calling on everyone in Britain to take the Nexdoor Neighbour Pledge to #shareacuppa – a promise to share a cup of tea with one neighbour during the month of August (sign up at go.nextdoor.com/pledge). The organisations also called on the Government to create an official National ‘Good Neighbours Day’ in 2018, building on the work of Brendan Cox in developing this year’s Great Get Together.
The research – whose methodology was designed in consultation with David Halpern, one of the world’s leading experts on social capital, and his colleagues at the Behavioural Insights Team – concludes that Nextdoor “can improve the levels of social capital found in our neighbourhoods and, as a result, can bring people closer together, create new networks of community engagement and provide practical and positive benefits to people’s everyday lives.” The research also identifies a “broader and striking trend” – that these effects hold true even in deprived areas where social capital might be expected to be much lower.
Other key findings include:
- While only 17% of the general public stop and talk to their neighbours everyday, 28% of UK Nextdoor neighbors do so
- While only 38% of the general public borrow things or exchange favours with their neighbours at least once a month, 65% of Nextdoor neighbors do so
- While only 47% of the general public report high levels of life satisfaction, 73% of Nextdoor neighbors do so
- While only 60% of the general public generally trust the people in their neighbourhood, 82% of Nextdoor neighbors do so
- While only 33% of the general public feel “very safe” when walking in their neighbourhood after dark, 44% of Nextdoor neighbors do so
The academic authors conclude that the high levels of social capital found in Nextdoor neighbors is directly related to their use of the platform.
Professor Eddie Kane, the lead author of the report, said:
“This report shows that those using Nextdoor report significantly higher levels of engagement with neighbours, involvement with the local community and higher levels of life satisfaction. We hear a lot today about the negative effects of social media, but Nextdoor shows the potential for this technology to be the friend of real-life interactions rather than their enemy.”
Dame Louise Casey, the Government’s chief adviser on community cohesion, said:
“The recent tragic events this country has suffered, from terrorist attacks to the Grenfell Tower disaster, have shown just how powerful the public can be when we pull together, united in the common good to protect and care for each other.
We have been trying to fix the issues of community cohesion and social capital for a long time. Government and public services will always have a role in this but it is the public – residents and families – first and foremost who are in the best position to knit that social fabric together.”
Nick Lisher, UK Country Manager for Nextdoor, said:
‘We’ve always believed that Nextdoor can be the social network that is good for you – helping to make neighbourhoods stronger and safer, as well as improving wellbeing and reducing social isolation. We’re delighted that the impact we hear about every day from our members has been borne out by the experts and the data, and we’re looking forward to more neighbours breaking the ice this summer.”
About Nextdoor.com, Inc.
Nextdoor (nextdoor.co.uk) is the private social network for neighbourhoods. Using Nextdoor’s platform, available on the Web and on mobile devices, neighbours create private online communities where they get to know one another, ask questions, exchange advice and recommendations, and address crime and safety concerns. More than 149,000 neighbourhoods across the United States are using Nextdoor to build stronger and safer places to call home, and Nextdoor is now active in over 11,500 neighbourhoods in the UK – over 45% of all neighbourhoods in the UK.
The full report can be accessed here. The research was carried out by independent data analytics and research company Crest Advisory. The authors surveyed 2,800 Nextdoor neighbors in 400 randomly selected neighbourhoods across the UK and commissioned a representative poll of 2,000 members of the public, using pre-validated and tested measures for social capital. The methodology was designed in consultation with David Halpern, one of the world’s leading experts in social capital, and his colleagues at the Behavioural Insights Team.