Spike Feresten, the creator of Seinfeld’s iconic “Soup Nazi” episode, enjoys the drama of the mundane. While he has large social media followings on Twitter and Instagram, he has recently been interested in the neighbourhood network Nextdoor. “I discovered that a number of my neighbours possessed tortoises, and these slow-moving creatures were escaping,” Feresten explains.
Nextdoor is the often-overlooked stepchild of applications like TikTok and Instagram, according to Hollywood insiders. Joining a local social network that purposefully limits who may view a post based on physical geography may appear to be a more worthy endeavour than chasing clout on big worldwide networks. On the app, which has witnessed increased usage during the epidemic, celebrities are tracking and commenting on the exploits of runaway pets, locating a dependable handyman, and learning that their favourite local deli is shutting. (Nearly one-third of American homes now utilise Nextdoor, up from one-fifth in early 2020.)
Bruce Vilanch, a comedy writer, joined Nextdoor to locate local tradesmen, but immediately found he could use it to hone his joke-writing skills during COVID. He explains, “I needed an outlet when there were no live concerts.”
When British actor-singer Richard Shelton (House of Lies, Jane the Virgin) decided to offer monthly lockdown performances from his balcony, Next-door became a means for him to interact with his Hollywood neighbours. Shelton began posting invites to socially distant events on his driveway while belting Frank Sinatra songbook standards from above, inspired by the balcony concerts in Italy.
Lance Ito (the Los Angeles judge who presided over the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson in 1995) is the next-door neighbour keeping an eye out for neighbourhood coyotes. He writes through email, “Having battled off an apparently fearless coyote that was following my seven-pound chihuahua, Carmen Miranda, I feel this is a significant problem for my specific area.”