Artificial Intelligence has been swiftly transforming the landscape of human interaction and connectivity. Social media and digital platforms have become our primary channels of communication, enabling us to foster meaningful connections and engage with our communities.
As we continue to recover from the global pandemic, there are still many Canadians who are experiencing loneliness, isolation and mental illness – forty-eight percent of Vancouver residents reveal they feel lonely almost three times a week in a new poll.
Acts of kindness, connectivity and the feeling of inclusion have been scientifically proven to strengthen an individual’s resilience to stress and decrease their risk of premature mortality by an astounding 50 percent. That’s why Nextdoor aims to be a platform where neighbours go to give and get help and aspires to bring neighbours together to build kinder communities. Kindness to us means being respectful, welcoming, empathetic, and willing to boldly act and support one another.
An internal study we conducted shows us that feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety have increased since COVID-19, with 76% of Canadian neighbours saying they’re struggling. Small acts such as waving to a neighbour, holding a door for a neighbour or stopping to chat about the weather is a simple, yet effective way to create human connection which could brighten someone’s day. Post-COVID, 71% of neighbours feel more of a connection to their neighbourhood while 81% wish to support local neighbourhood businesses. Astoundingly, one of our other studies discovered that loneliness can be reduced if one knows as few as six neighbours.
We intended the app to be used as a safe space where neighbours can navigate their surroundings and learn more about their new neighbourhood. Neighbours have engaged in acts of kindness by offering household supplies to get new neighbours settled and providing information on local activities such as sports groups for children, where to find the best shops, details on community centre events, how to find a job or side hustle, or sign their children up for school.
To further contribute to neighbours spreading kindness on Nextdoor, the app has generative AI that will not only offer recommendations on how to make posts kinder but also prompt users to reconsider their unfriendly posts. Our generative AI includes the “assistant” feature that helps neighbours make their posts more engaging and interactive.
We want kindness to be the centre of all interactions on the app, and our efforts to cultivate kinder communities are through our different initiatives that foster a culture of celebrating acts of kindness among neighbours. Our #ThankANeighbour feature gives neighbours a direct way to shine a light on those in the community who make a remarkable difference. We’ve seen neighbours share stories such as strangers helping their elderly family member unload groceries, someone on their street waking up early to snow plow everyone’s driveway, and even senior neighbours looking for support hosting dinner parties.
During this challenging time in our world, witnessing communities uniting and performing acts of kindness for one another is truly remarkable. It is heartwarming to see people extending support and compassion, especially when so many are facing financial and emotional burdens. We at Nextdoor recognize the significance of kindness and how a simple expression of gratitude can brighten someone’s day.
The power of kindness cannot be overstated. It’s a potent force that can transform relationships, build bridges, and foster a sense of community. This is precisely what Nextdoor aims to accomplish with the innovations within the app. We have proudly created a platform that promotes neighbourly connections and encourages users to extend kindness and support to one another. By fostering a safe space for such interactions, we can effectively contribute to stronger, more resilient communities across Canada.