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Social Media is the New Air Conditioning

- April 29, 2014 - 2 Comments

Decades ago it was common place for people to sit outside on the front porch and chat while they cooled down from the heat of the day. Once air conditioning came along, neighborhood dynamics changed as people moved indoors.  Now social media is transforming the way we communicate with our neighbors. This time the change is allowing us to make new connections in a way that was never possible before.

Everyone I know in my San Jose, Calif. neighborhood keeps up to date with happenings thanks to Nextdoor, a neighborhood social networking app. People post information about the latest development in the area, festivals, safety alerts and crime. I’ve seen surveillance video of burglars and pictures of missing pets, and thankfully happy posts with stories of success springing out of those reports. All of these posts bring my neighborhood of thousands down to a human level. I know people online that I’ve never met in person.

Perhaps one of the coolest things to come out of the Nextdoor site in my corner of the world, is an old school library. It’s a tiny wood and glass structure on one of my neighbor’s lawns. It’s called the Santa Teresa Foothills Little Free Library and even has its own Facebook page.

The Santa Teresa Foothills Little Free Library

The Santa Teresa Foothills Little Free Library in San Jose, Calif.

Stephanie Brown, gathered support from the community on the Nextdoor site, and publicized a Kickstarter campaign to fund the library. She now has children visiting daily to pick up and drop off books, and a Girl Scout troop that has pledged its sponsorship. In Brown’s words, “Anything that puts a book into the hands of a child is a good thing.”

Stephanie Brown used social media to fundraise for the free library in San Jose, Calif.

Stephanie Brown used social media to fundraise for the free library.

It’s not only the Nextdoor site bringing communities together. This week on The Network we feature two brothers from the Bronx who seized the power of social media to shine a spotlight on their community.

Anthony and Paul Ramirez use social media to shine a light on the Bronx.

Anthony and Paul Ramirez use social media to shine a light on the Bronx.

They are using social connections to showcase all the Bronx has to offer. Check out the story and let us know how you are using social media to make new connections and innovate in your life.





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  1. Nice Article...u wrote what i feel exactly..and ur ideas are clear and true

  2. Social Media has been key to me to stay in contact with old friends that I would have forgotten about otherwise. It's amazing to be able to see what people are doing even though you're far away. Without them, this would not be possible. Thanks for sharing that story!