Updated 4th March 2017: Today I discovered Kahuti
I love Kahuti and I would like old Streetlife friends to join Kahuti to make it stronger and better. You may find Kahuti builds the same strong community like Streetlife, and Kahuti has the potential to make it better, and make it work for us.
Updated: 10th February 2017
BBC has another report about the takeover of Streetlife by Nextdoor: Streetlife users in Nextdoor privacy row – BBC News, written by Rory Cellan-Jones.
Updated: 6th February 2017
Goodbye Streetlife: BBC News on 6th Feb 2017: US neighbours’ network Nextdoor buys UK’s Streetlife – BBC News
Why I do not want to join Nextdoor
It’s important I tell my readers that as a supporter of Streetlife for years, I am not joining Nextdoor due to privacy concern. I will also discourage you from joining Nextdoor as I think it is wrong for Nextdoor to publicise your personal details online (even though your address – with or without house numbers – will be revealed to only the neighbours who joined the site. It means tens, or hundreds of neighbours, or even more.)
Nextdoor needs to read Data protection – GOV.UK very carefully.
I love the dynamics of Streetlife, but I find I couldn’t agree with the rules of Nextdoor. The main concern is that Nextdoor displays my address (you could choose to hide your house number if you don’t want to show your full address) to ‘neighbours’ (though only a small neighbourhood). I find this violates my privacy and revealing members’ addresses without their permission is totally wrong.
For this reason, I will not be joining Nextdoor, and I am deeply concerned about the privacy of thousands of users, especially that of vulnerable people. Revealing our personal information (full name and address) on the social media site is dangerous, and is open to identity theft and all sorts of potential risks.
When I received a notice from Streetlife a week ago for the change, I switched over to Nextdoor. Immediately I found out my full address was displayed, and I could also see all addresses of my neighbours in Chandler’s Ford. I immediately deactivated my account. Before the registration, permission was not sought before they published my address. This was totally wrong. Apparently showing your address is the default setting.
The original post below was published in June 2014:
Two days ago I received a letter inviting me to join Streetlife, a British social network for local communities.
Many of you may have also received the invitation. I joined and within minutes, I’m in a thriving community with local residents from Chandler’s Ford, Eastleigh and Southampton.
After two days of experimenting with Streetlife, I like Streetlife enough to recommend the site to you.
My advice on using Streetlife
- Use your real name on Streetlife
- Show your face on Streetlife
- Know what to post and what not to post on Streetlife
- Do not fall out with neighbours on Streetlife
- Why it is important to tell your neighbours who you are on Streetlife
- Search before you ask on Streetlife
- Learn how to send private messages on Streetlife
By February 2015, half a million people in the UK have joined Streetlife in over 2,500 communities.
What is Streetlife?
Streetlife’s aim is simple: to help people make the most of where they live by connecting with their neighbours and sharing practical information, advice and resources.
From the website of Streetlife.
Everybody needs good neighbours.
Streetlife is on a mission to strengthen community spirit. I support this idea. Streetlife resonates with my idea of connectivity with the community. Chandler’s Ford Today is built with the same belief of building a strong, supportive community.
I would like you to join Streetlife, to make Streetlife stronger and better, to build a connected community.
Following a successful pilot in the London Borough of Wandsworth, streetlife.com is now available nationwide. streetlife.com is a privately funded limited company headquartered in Covent Garden.
Streetlife connects local residents, local groups, local authorities, and local businesses. It brings closeness.
Dynamic Streetlife: Chandler’s Ford book club
I’m now aware of immediate topics around Chandler’s Ford (SO53, in the Borough of Eastleigh) such as lost and found cat, overhanging hedges, free photography tutorial, Italian language lesson, toddlers’ group, car wash/plumber/window cleaner……
A few people are also keen to organise a book club in Chandler’s Ford and I’m participating in this book club conversation.
The interaction and positive exchanges of information from our neighbours on Streetlife are dynamic.
Sharing your skills: photography, craft, gardening
The beauty of Streetlife is that you could also offer your skills to share with the neighbours.
For example, professional photographer Matt Burfield from Chandler’s Ford is offering his photography tuition on DSLR (“So you have a DSLR and you want to get out of Auto and release its full potential?”). You could even do a photowalk with Matt.
I made a ‘mistake’ by sharing my origami hobby – now it looks like I may end up working with a Beaver group in Chandler’s Ford soon.
I can see the potential of Streetlife transforming many lives. We’ll get to know our neighbours more easily and someone may lend you a helping hand.
You may not feel that isolated or helpless anymore.
You may think: there are so many forms of Social Media out there, such as Facebook, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter. Do I need another one?
Yes, because Streetlife is effective, useful, and powerful. It’s also an elegant communication tool.
Streetlife keep neighbours informed of what’s around them
Streetlife keeps you up to date with what’s happening around you.
If you’re looking for a missing cat, your neighbours across the street are more likely to help you find Billy than your auntie who reads your Facebook posting from Australia.
You may feel like going out this evening – and there happens to be a local amateur performance just down the road. Thanks to one Streetlife neighbour, you have an enjoyable evening, and you also get to know this amateur theatre group.
How is Streetlife different from other social networks?
Streetlife puts you in touch with people you don’t know, who live close by.
The nature of the content posted on Streetlife is therefore quite different, with conversations often covering quite weighty topics and continuing over a period of days or weeks, rather than fleeting status updates.
We believe that the neighbourhood is one of the most important and useful communities in our daily lives. By pooling their local knowledge, neighbours can create a powerful and supportive resource, and build a stronger sense of belonging.
From the website of Streetlife.
My advice on using Streetlife – update January 2015
Since search engines have sent thousands of visitors to this post about my Streetlife review, I thought I would give you an update, to share with you my experiences after using Streetlife since late June 2014.
How to build trust on Streetlife
First, to build trust, I think users should all use their real names. I prefer engaging with Streetlife users who use their full names.
The default setting of Streetlife is that users use their first name, with the initial of their surname. It means that there will be more than one John A, Mary B, Claire C in the neighbourhood. It makes communication difficult.
Use your real name
In other social media platforms, nicknames or other forms of online identities are commonly used, which is not a problem to other users.
However, Streetlife is about our neighbours, who may live in the same street with you, who may want to swap skills and items with you, and who may want to help you cut your grass, so it is important that you show your real name from the very beginning.
Read my short post on Streetlife: Would you consider giving yourself a more easily recognised name?
Show your face
Second, to build trust, show your face.
Streetlife has a collection of stock images for you to choose as your profile image. Don’t use them. Show your face by using a picture of yourself. Show your true self.
The reason? Because we like to ‘know’ the neighbour to whom we are speaking. We like to see a person’s face.
We want to make a connection. It is in our nature that we want to know whether we could trust the person.
By showing your face, you make a true connection. You make it easy for other users to trust you.
The other reason is that Streetlife’s stock images are limited, therefore many users use the same image. What happens when John A and Mary B both choose a rose as their image, and both are communicating with you in the same thread?
You would get confused, wouldn’t you?
Read my advice on Streetlife: Why not create a strong identity for yourself on Streetlife?
I want to encourage Streetlife users to connect better.
Know what to post and what not to post
It is important to know what to post, and what not to.
Streetlife has set out its own rules – which are practically common sense, but it’s still worth you spending a few minutes reading, so that you have an idea of how Streetlife actually works.
(My favourite rules are: Don’t be creepy, and don’t write gibberish!)
Read Streetlife’s rule here: What are the rules for posting on Streetlife? – Support
Do not fall out with Streetlife neighbours
Some people have fallen out with their neighbours on Streetlife.
The public falling-out is possibly due to a clash of personalities of the Streetlife users. It could possibly be a lack of tolerance on each other’s viewpoints.
Or perhaps, it is simply because people do not observe the rules on posting, causing misunderstanding and having a falling-out amongst neighbours.
Why it is important to tell your neighbours who you are
I think of Streetlife as a street party. Everybody can attend, have a bit of fun, and get to know each other.
I think it is incredible important that we tell people a little bit about who we really are, so that we can form meaningful conversations.
When you first create an account on Streetlife, there is a section called About, in which you could introduce yourself.
When you want to find out a little bit about a person on Streetlife, you click on their name, and their Public Profile will be shown. The details people see in your Public Profile come from that About section that you’ve filled in.
If you haven’t introduced yourself yet, now you could click on ‘Edit Profile’ to do so.
Before I leave a comment to someone, I tend to read his or her Public Profile, to find out who this person is, or to see if we share common ground.
Is the person I’m communicating with a gardener, a teacher, a housewife, a grandmother, a young mother, a retired person, a disabled person who needs help, or a politician? Is he or she fundraising for a charity? Is this person a foreign student?
However, I’ve found that 90% users do not create a Public Profile on Streetlife.
On my own Public Profile, I tell people that I work in education and my hobby is paper craft (origami). I also provide a few links.
If you a a trader, it is wise to make use of your Public Profile to tell people who you are and what you do. You could add your business contact details on your Public Profile.
Make it easy for other users to know who you are, and how to find you if they need your services (gardening, plumbing, sewing, computer repairs, car washing……).
Search before you ask
If you are new to Streetlife, it is useful that you know where the ‘search’ field is located.
‘Search’ is at the very top of the Streetlife page.
If your question is “Could someone recommend a dentist / plumber / builder / gardener?”, enter the word “dentist” (or plumber, builder, or gardener), you may find other people may have discussed the same topic before.
From the old threads, you may find the answer you need. If not, you could continue with the conversation there.
Or start a new thread if your question does not match any result.
By using an old thread with the same topic, it avoids repetition, and adds values to the old thread for other users in the future.
The importance of sending private messages on Streetlife
I’ve been shocked to see that many Streetlife users compromised their online security.
Many people have given out their mobile phone number, home address, and email address to the public on Streetlife. Are they aware that hundreds, or thousands, of Streetlife users could all see the personal details that they share?
So it is important for you to make use of the Private Message feature on Streetlife.
To send a private message to someone, click on the envelope icon on the top of your Streetlife page.
Then click New Private Message. Enter the recipient’s Streetlife ID name (or multiiple recipients’ names), and write your text, and send.
Only the recipients whom you have written to will receive your private message.
For example, if you are looking for a pet-sitter, when someone who can help you has replied to you, please do not give out your personal details (such as full address, email address, phone number) to the public to all Streetlife users.
Be smart – do not share private personal details
Instead, be smart, click on the envelope symbol, and send the particular person a private message instead.
It may sound like common sense, but unfortunately, many people have forgotten that every word they write on Streetlife publicly can be viewed by all Streetlife users.
In our community in Chandler’s Ford and Eastleigh, there are more than 2,200 users at the moment. They don’t need to know your phone number, full address, and email address. Only your pet-sitter alone needs to know where you live.
Streetlife brings out the best in our neighbours
I hope my suggestions above help.
Since using Streetlife in June 2014, I have made a few wonderful friends. I have given my origami papers and books and a few things away to share with my neighbours. I have also been helped and given technical advice.
Last Christmas, I reunited an important Christmas card with its recipient, through the help of Streetlife neighbours.
— Streetlife (@streetlife_uk) June 16, 2015
Streetlife, if you use it well, it is a warm and friendly platform.
I believe that Streetlife brings out the best in our neighbours in our neighbourhood.
Let’s help each other to connect better, to make Streetlife work best for you and me.
Note: This post is my review about the services provided by Streetlife. I like Streetlife (and Stephen Fry, whose voice is used in the Streetlife advert), and my review encourages you to network better through connecting with your local community on Streetlife. However I do not run Streetlife. I have no business link with Streetlife. I cannot deal with your issues with Streetlife when they accur. For any enquiry about the functions of Streetlife, please contact Streetlife directly. Streetlife’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.