There is a new social networking website gaining popularity in Cazenovia, with hopes of uniting village residents and serving as a virtual bulletin board.
Nextdoor.com, which boasts similarities to Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter, is a private community network for area residents. Members can join only after being invited, but once registered, they have access to online resources and forums for issues ranging from upcoming garage sales to babysitter recommendations and from scenic walking trails to dangerous local intersections.
“This is purely for the benefit of village residents. It’s meant to be a place to virtually congregate and discuss local issues,” said Xan Karn, who started the Nextdoor Cazenovia Village site in early July. “People are free to participate at whatever level they are comfortable with. You can’t be anonymous. Users do have to provide their names and verify their residence in the village … but there are robust privacy settings.”
Currently run by about 30 employees, Nextdoor was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif. The site is funded by Benchmark Capital Shasta Ventures, but requires no monetary commitment from any of its users.
Through the social networking site, registered users can virtually connect with their fellow community members, upload photographs and documents, post event notices and items for sale, ask questions, inform neighbors and even recommend their favorite dish at local eateries.
As of July 23, 11 users were registered on Nextdoor Cazenovia Village.
Karn decided to found the local Nextdoor site after moving into the village of Cazenovia from nearby Hamilton. An assistant professor of history at Colgate University, he was an active member of the Nextdoor Hamilton Village network — which has garnered upward of 600 registered users.
Karn recently bought a house on Green Street with his wife, Jen, in hopes of raising their 1- and 3-year-old daughters in the Cazenovia Central School District. After settling in, he decided to try and create the same resource for his new residence that was available to them while in Hamilton.
“Our daughters are the principle reasons we moved to Cazenovia. With the strength of the schools and lovely green spaces that seem to be everywhere, we thought it would be a great place to raise our children,” Karn said. “It hasn’t been in my nature to reach out to neighbors and involve myself in a community-based venture, but I’ve come to a point in my life where I can see down the road and imagine my family staying here for a long time. I thought this would be one of the things I could contribute to the community.”
Anyone with a village address is encouraged to join, but they must first be invited. In order to keep the network private, invites can be sent from current users to anyone with a village address via email, as a postcard in the mail or through a code given out on a flyer. Karn said the town of Cazenovia will be able to start its own network once the village site gains more popularity, but for now, he would just like to see Nextdoor Cazenovia Village continue to grow in usage and applications.
Nextdoor Cazenovia Village can be accessed at cazenovia.nextdoor.com. Karn is interested in inviting new members, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.