Local Neighborhood List Serv vs NextDoor

I wrote the following post in 2009 and truthfully nothing much has changed. Yes, we now have Next Door, complete with mobile app, but I still get my best responses, my best information, and my best opportunities on the local neighborhood list servs.

I don’t know if it’s just Northern Virginia or not, but here neighborhood listservs are to the 21st century what party lines were to our grandparents. Everybody “listens in” and everybody has an opinion!

Essentially, a listserv is an electronic mailing list that a person can use to send one message to multiple addresses. Prior to 1986 these lists were generated and maintained by a human administrator. Novel concept, right?

But then, in 1986, the software that eventually became Listserv was invented by a college student (who else?) and allowed members to join or leave the list without a human administrator. Listservs are usually established on something like Yahoo and have a “moderator” and some established rules – like no political or business advertisements, no foul language, etc.etc., but beyond that it is an open forum.

The neighborhoods of Del Ray, Rosemont and Beverley Hills have listservs that are particularly active in this area and between the three number well over 1000 members. One of the things I enjoy the most is the vibrancy of shared information. Need a plumber, neurologist, painter, cake maker, or a certain variety of Halloween costume? Just put a request out and voila – within minutes you will have multiple suggestions.

And on the reverse side, if a vendor, craftsman or small business owner overcharges, is rude or does not deliver as promised – the listserv is equally quick to spread the word.

In Del Ray, “moms” have developed a strong bond and their own specific list serv, sharing information about feeding, play dates, day care, moms night out and even planning meals for new families.

Generosity is another hallmark of neighborhood listservs. Need to borrow a pair of hedge clippers, a tent or maybe a folding table? Just put it out there and someone will respond. Want to get rid of left over paint, an old kitchen cabinet or that wrong size microwave? Just list a “curb alert” and it will be gone before nightfall.

Personally I tell all my new-to-Alexandria clients to join a neighborhood listserv as soon as they can. It’s the best, the fastest, and the friendliest way to learn your way around.

Need more information about how to find a listserv – or a house?!?  –  in one of these great neighborhoods? Call me at 703.859.6362 or email at [email protected]

See you soon –

Virginia