Confessions of a Leading NextDoor Neighbor Poster

My Neighborhood in the Early Evening

John Fraim



“Absolutely amazing! So good to see a post on this sight with people not angry, not political, not rude, insensitive or ignorant. Thank you!” Message to the author from NextDoor Neighbor.

Thanks to one of my NextDoor Neighbor messages above. It’s for these short little sentiments that I post for in so many ways. On my site on NextDoor, I have a record of all the posts and the responses to them. The postings to NextDoor Neighbor started a little after I started my Midnight Oil Studios Blog at Starting in 2016, there are over 600 posts by me incorporating video, music and images and words. Most of the posts are duplicated on my FaceBook page, LinkedIn profile and Twitter site. 

An important additional site I’ve been posting many of my posts to is my town’s super local social site called NextDoor Neighbor. Sometimes, it works the other way and things are first posted to NextDoor and then to Midnight Oil more developed. Lately, I have increasingly been posting the latest post from Midnight Oil to NextDoor Neighbor. 

I’ve been awarded two awards from NextDoor: the “Convo Starter” award for starting conversations. (The award award somehow defines an important aspect of my whole personality. I am always much more interested in starting than ending conversations in my life with others). The other award is the “Visual Artist” award for the images I’ve posted to NextDoor. Many are my own photographs. Many are from others. I think the modern artist might be more of an assembler than creator. There are so many things on the Internet and my own sound and image library to be placed into new pieces of a new “assembled” rather than “created” as the act of today and tomorrow’s artists out there. In all media and forms.

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In many ways, my postings to Midnight Oil and NextDoor Neighbor are really my own personal journal of our times. Most are made from news of the day or things on my mind at the time. I think that many blogs out there today are personal journals made public by the Internet. I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and saw their huge Journal Section of the store. Everyone is journaling these days. Or at least encouraged to by the forces that be.

Many reflect the issues and concerns of my community. Things are incredibly booming in my neighborhood with the addition of the new Intel plant only a few miles east. Our community is becoming the center of a new tech hub in America with Google, Amazon, FaceBook and the new Intel plant, the largest chip plant in the world, starting up in a few years. 

It has been an interesting time to hear what the community truly has to say on town issues. Of course, the big city paper doesn’t care much about our community. With local media not supplying news of our area it has fallen on local citizens to create their own communication of news. 

There has been news that NextDoor Neighbor is having financial problems and is laying off 20% of their workforce. Something is not working. Perhaps they are not able to monetize their business model? They might not be around much longer. And this will be sad to me. Not for what they necessarily are today, but for what they might become. A new era of locality tied together by a website. A few friends and me were involved in the Connected Community Group sponsored by Sonoma County California in the late 90s and early 20s. It was one of the first attempts to create a community connected by that new system called the Internet. 

On the Southern Bike Route through my Neighborhood

And now, two decades after my involvement in the Connected Community, here I end up in a true connected community. Or at least a community that would greatly benefit by expanding and refining the ideas and technology of NextDoor into a local internet site. But the site would have to serve somewhat like a ListServe where messages and responses are posted in real time as they are on NextDoor. 

For the past few years, I posted things to NextDoor and left any politics out of my posts. This often limited me to just images, so I did a lot of these. I saw greater and greater reponses to my posts and the made me happy. But also, curious. As to why I was successful on NextDoor in putting out this somewhat personal journal for a few years to the site. 

Lately, there has been a lot of new things in NextDoor. People have been angry at each other, and arguments have developed to the point where it’s becoming a defining trend in our “neighborhood” on the NE section of the midwestern mega-city Columbus, Ohio. My community is one of the most interesting I’ve ever lived in. And, I grew up in Los Angeles.

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With the future of NextDoor seemingly in question it seems the best time to ask the question whether it’s ideas should be carried on in a community connected website. As our community has done in the past, building it into one of the most successful communities in the nation. Receiving the award for Best Town in America from Business Insider Magazine in 2021. The fifth highest demographic neighborhood in Ohio. Far away, though from California’s Atherton or Sausalito zip codes. Or that zip code on Long Island that’s number one in the nation. But still, our neighborhood is full of the business elite of Columbus. Not bragging here just saying how things are.

I think it’s time our community considers seriously a local Intranet service much like NextDoor has had for our community. I think that whoever might step up and take a leadership role in making a local website/intranet happen. All of this has been talked about and actually done for a long time now. There was The Well in Marin in the 80s that really started off local networks for discussion. So many since then. 

It makes so much sense, though, that my neighborhood is the best situated to deal with the question of creating a new local internet network like no one has ever seen before. After all, what less should be expected of our little town in Ohio that has Intel building the greatest chip plant within it? 

A New Communication System? Sonoma County, August 2022.

More than at anytime, it seems that our town needs the most sophisticated local communication system even created for the Internet. Using AI also perhaps. After all, the future home of a new tech hub of America needs some media for local communication. The new engineers coming to Ohio from the West.

I think that that there is the idea of ownership in a failing NextDoor or the idea of creating something our own. Certainly, using our experience and ideas garnered while using NextDoor. Taking best ideas of NextDoor and getting rid of the worst. An idea for a business plan to be presented to town officials. Created from the views of the NextDoor community perhaps? 

Will be posting this to NextDoor Neighbor. 

To the general NextDoor readership.

Certainly this post is directed at my own neighborhood.

But I’m thinking that it might relate to others out there.

For the past few years, it seems to me that NextDoor Neighbor has been fulfilling the role of a modern telephone party line. Like the old days. A funny mixing of communication needs. 

From the party line type of communication to modern real time Internet communication. Two similar forms of communication demanding mass posting to a real time “party line.”  

To me, the real basis of the NextDoor site over the years. They’ve tried to add a lot of features but it hasn’t interested me. I have thought through the years that there is so much more that could be added to NextDoor site for our community. I wished someone in Headquarters would have asked me. I wished I could have communicated with them in some way. 

In the end it’s not something to rattle me. 

There is such a better method and form for operating a local “neighborhood” site. NextDoor was a pathfinder in doing this. What can be learned from their experience in creating the leading local community “neighborhood” site in the nation? The greatest modern connected community. 


NextDoor Friends

My NextDoor friends (thanks so much for being out there!) who want to add anything to this project/business plan or whatever it is I’m developing simply email me at Follow us on Midnight Oil Studios. There is no way that any one person can write the history of any community. The same certainly applies when writing anything about by own neighborhood. History on the NextDoor site is the mixture of all of us who have participated in this pioneering site.

Many are upset that the site doesn’t live up to its potential for connecting/creating a modern community. Perhaps this is the way they will be created? Via the ideas and techniques of NextDoor Neighbor? I’ve been a member of the site for at least five years. Learned much. Of course I learned much with Connected Communities twenty years before.

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