Judging our neighborhood overseers

I’ve been enjoying my time away from Facebook, with the biggest benefit being more time to do things that really matter. I’ve hung out with more actual friends, gotten more work done on the house, and read more actual news and a lot less opinions.

I am still on MeWe and Nextdoor, and Nextdoor supplies me with any additional drama I may need. A few days ago, this gem popped into my feed

Overseer? Rid of crime? Whoa…what’s going on here!

So, for starters, this person lives in a crappy part of town. Nextdoor lists your neighborhoods, so I looked it up…and that neighborhood sucks. It’s not Chicago level, but its not a nice place. On a scale of “let my kids play in front yard” to “requires military escort to visit 7-11,” I’d give it a “keep a knife in your car for protection” level of safety. Basically, the person posting it isn’t off the mark about safety.

Now, when you read the word “overseer,” most people reading this blog probably sucked in their breath. I know I did. But I kept reading.

  • “Rid of crime?” I personally think that’s why we have police officers, but I don’t disagree with the sentiment
  • Streets are clean. Not disagreeing here.
  • Helping people repair homes. Sounds like charity work. I’ve helped my neighbors clean up, and they’ve helped me.
  • Make sure everyone is safe. Define “safe.” If its a neighborhood watch sort of thing…ok.
  • Make sure everyone has food. I donate to the local food pantry, so again, not opposed.

The more I read it, the more I realized I’m not in total opposition to this person. As you can see from the comments, plenty of people paused on the “overseer” word. Given that there are plenty of grammatical errors in the post, I would say this person doesn’t have a great grasp of English. Is it possible that this person made a poor word choice? I think so.

Even better, what if I made some tweaks. Let’s say the post looked like this:

OK, so I had some fun at the end with Karen and CNN. But if someone posted about starting a militia, most of the readers here (including me) would be OK with it. And if we also helped our actual neighbors, again, most would be fine. If we did a food drive, or a repair homes drive, or walked the streets at night to provide presence and deter criminals, again, most people reading this are probably OK with that.

I don’t blame people for jumping on the word “overseer,” but anymore social media has made people so quick to judge others that we’re missing opportunities to connect with real people. If you want to jump on every comment from Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi, I don’t blame you, because they don’t have good intentions. But your local neighbor is not Nancy Pelosi (hopefully not anyway). Maybe, just maybe, instead of instantly lashing out against the person, asking for some clarification might be in order.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Social Media Exodus: Nextdoor review

Nextdoor’s icon. Kind of like a Monopoly piece

After getting tired of the Facebook, and now YouTube, censorship of anything remotely conservative, I decided to plot my social media exodus. If you read anything online, anyone contemplating leaving Facebook is an idiot, but since I don’t trust the media anyway, I wanted to try it myself. Over the next few Saturdays, I’m going to outline alternatives to Facebook, YouTube and Google, give each the pluses and minuses, and give you a guide on how to transition successfully.

My view of Twitter, even before the election

But I won’t help you with Twitter. Twitter has always been hot garbage. You’re on your own there.

The first platform that you should try is Nextdoor. I found this gem on a list of alternative social media sites, and it does not disappoint. Nextdoor connects you with your neighbors. When you register, you put in your address, which then places you in a pre-defined neighborhood. You then get dropped right into a well-designed home page that shows you posts from your neighbors plus nearby neighborhoods.

The first big difference from Facebook is that there isn’t a friends list to maintain. Nextdoor lets you see only the people in your neighborhood. When you go to post something, you can only post in a number of categories: for sale, safety, general, lost and found and recommendations. When you look at the general feed, its not at all like Facebook. There aren’t annoying Vox articles linked by your liberal friends, or anti-vax memes from that crazy mom down the street. Nope, its just local news.

Which is not a bad thing. I found a city council meeting I had missed, so I got updates on nearby construction projects. I also found out our water metering people were hacked by ransomware, which is why they haven’t sent us a bill. I never saw any of that on Facebook, and those things actually affect me a lot more than most of the things I read on Facebook.

For your interest areas, there are local groups, although not nearly as many as Facebook. It didn’t take long to find a conservative group that was working to support local people running for office. I also quickly found a gardening group and pawpaw (the fruit) group. I had to start a group for dads, but there were a million mom groups already. Although it doesn’t have the number of groups of Facebook, the fact that I can make a group with people in the area only is kind of nice.

The other great feature is the “for sale” section. One of the big benefits of Facebook is the Marketplace section, where you can find a ton of items for sale, or sell your items quickly. I’ve made a killing selling firewood through Marketplace, and that was something I didn’t want to lose. Nextdoor has similar functionality. Even better, I’m not wasting my time looking at items that are hundreds of miles away but offer “free shipping.”

Overall, Nextdoor has about 75% of what I want in social media. I get local things that matter to me, local groups that I care about, and can sell to my neighbors. I miss out on out of area relatives and friends, which is why Nextdoor can’t replicate Facebook. To be fair, they don’t claim to do that, and if you live near most of your family, maybe you won’t mind.

I now find myself checking Nextdoor a lot more than Facebook, and certainly enjoying it more. Maybe you will too, I’d recommend giving it a try.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.