NextDoor highlights Palo Alto’s privilege

When users open the Palo Alto feed on the neighborhood social networking site NextDoor, a multitude of posts pop up. Some seek advice. Some ask about the dining in the area. Some look for the best afterschool program. Aside from these queries, however, there are a surprising number of complaints, many of which are insignificant in regards to the greater good of the community.

While residents have the right to share grievances about their communities, there is a point where the constant negativity in the comments on NextDoor becomes toxic. The comments on the platform represent the bubble of privilege that Palo Alto exists in.

On any given day, posts on NextDoor can include a variety of complaints. People post about the smell from their neighbors using their firepit. Another user shares their annoyance about a dog getting too close to someone’s food at a park. Another post shares a complaint about children playing on the tennis courts. In many cases, these insignificant incidents would be forgiven with a simple exchange. But when people use the platform to voice their frustrations about such small annoyances, problems can be blown out of proportion.

These complaints represent the privilege that Palo Alto residents are accustomed to, as small incidents create more drama than they should. At times, people tend to lose perspective on how big their problems really are because they may not experience larger struggles in their everyday lives.

NextDoor shouldn’t be entirely abandoned as it provides a space for community members to share resources and ideas. However, constant complaining on the platform—often over small things—can create a negative atmosphere that can drown out positive posts. Instead, moderators on NextDoor should filter posts so that more relevant posts aren’t overwhelmed by more mundane complaints. Additionally, people should try to keep trivial rants contained in smaller groups—or just not post them at all—to avoid harmful discourse. NextDoor can still be a good resource when used properly.