NewsSocial Discovery

AI Keeping Nextdoor friendly

Nextdoor, the Social Discovery app aimed at neighbourhoods, is using the power of AI to keep its platform friendly. Using the same openAI as ChatGPT, the app automatically provides alternate suggestions for user messages, prompting the adding of context and steering users away from hostile messages that could cause upset. With over 305,000 neighbourhoods using the app since 2008, there are a lot of messages to add the p’s and q’s to.

The USP of Nextdoor is that it requires you to use a verified real name and address, and then places you in your local communities specific groups. There you can talk to your neighbours, discuss local issues and share news and recommendations about the local area. Founder of the company Sarah Friar in a recent interview said 

“When my idealism is at its maximum for Nextdoor, it’s that feeling [of neighbourliness] – the sense of community and changing the world at a grassroots level.”

The use of real names and addresses is one way that the nextdoor app as a social discovery app is intentionally trying to separate themselves from many social media platforms. It’s less compelling to be horrible on the internet when you’re not anonymous – (not that it stops some people!). Nextdoor and other social discovery apps are striving to be places of positivity, and cut the negative and toxic aspects of online culture. 

The addition of an AI assistant that helps remind users to be more friendly, add context, and empathise in their messages is an interesting approach to differentiate a Social Discovery apps. Whatever the app, they are meant to be places to build each other up, share interest and make connections. There is obviously ample opportunity for friction in local neighbourhoods, so such an addition of AI could be powerful, as long as users accept the suggestions that is. The AI’s edits are just that: suggestions.

AI is going to affect every industry across the planet sooner or later, so no doubt this will not be the last implementation we see of AI technology in attempts to improve Social Discovery apps and platforms. 

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