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An App to Divine Commonalities Between You and Perfect Strangers

Wouldn’t it be a better world if we noticed our commonalities rather than our differences?At ConnectU we think we all have so much in common, but we don’t even know it. We want to change this.

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You probably use Facebook to connect with friends and family, LinkedIn to connect with your professional network, and Twitter to connect with those with common interests. But could you also use a social network to connect with the neighbors on your block?
The digital world is sometimes blamed for keeping people from connecting in real life, but we believe it can also be a tool to bring a community closer. Getting to know your neighbors can be tricky. We’re all living incredibly busy lives, and even if you think you could just walk over and introduce yourself to your neighbors, it might just not happen. In fact, 28 percent of Americans don’t know any of their neighbors by name.
Knowing that over 65 percent of all online adults use social networking sites, a group of experienced entrepreneurs created a new solution: Nextdoor.com, a free and private social network for neighborhoods. 79 percent of Americans who use an online neighborhood forum talk with their neighbors in-person at least one time a month, compared to 61 percent of all Americans. We see this happening all the time with Nextdoor—online conversations are often brought offline.
Posts about lost dogs go up on Nextdoor and then the dog is returned in person. Neighbors plan parties on the site and then will get together for the big event. Members notice a crime increase in the neighborhood and use the site to organize a neighborhood watch meeting. By giving neighbors an easy way to meet one another and communicate, Nextdoor actually creates real-world connections that would not have happened without using technology.
For example, neighborhoods on the East Coast used Nextdoor to provide real-time Hurricane Sandy alerts, safety tips, updates on electricity, and met in person to offer their support. Other neighborhoods across the country used Nextdoor to organize fundraising events in their neighborhoods to help those in need.
We believe that amazing things can happen just by talking with the people next door. Technology is a powerful tool for making neighborhoods stronger, safer places to call home.

Hang out with your neighbors on the last Saturday of April (a day we're calling "Neighborday"). Click here to say you'll Do It, and we'll send you GOOD's Neighborday Survival Guide and a bunch of other fun stuff.

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Dining With Strangers: A Startup Takes Social Networking out to Dinner

Dinner, anyone? Web platform Grubwithus makes it easy to connect with interesting people (and potential friends) over a meal.

There's nothing like sharing a great meal to help a crowd loosen up and turn strangers into friends. But if you're new to town (wherever that may be), it may be hard to find the right crowd to get dinner with, or the right friend to organize a meal and invite you. Enter Grubwithus, a new web platform for people eager to socialize around a delicious meal with a self-selecting group of people.

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The Google+ Dilemma: How Do You Separate Online "Friends" from "Acquaintances"?

Surprisingly, it's not such an easy question to answer. We asked some experts.

If you've checked out Google+ yet, and one recent estimate says 18 million of us have, you may have asked yourself the same question I did when confronted with the challenge of dividing people I know into categories ("circles" in Google+ parlance) called "friends" and "acquaintances": Is Choire Sicha my friend?

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This Website Is Stalking You, and It's Partially Your Fault

This website knows where you live, your hobbies, and how much money you make, and you probably helped it learn some of that.


If he was like mine, your grandfather always said "the computers" were going to get too powerful one day. Frighteningly, finally, the old men may be right.

Founded in 2006, Spokeo began as a social network aggregator whose deep web-searching tools allowed people to keep tabs on their friends' various online profiles. The site's innocent origins, however, gave way to a creepier reality when it was discovered that it was a really great way to wrangle a lot of different, intimate information about a person into one place. What it's become since—Spokeo 5.0 was launched in November of 2010—is a strange amalgamation of information about where people live (complete with pictures of their homes via Google Maps), how much money they make, how to reach them on the phone, and who their relatives are. Were that not enough, just last month Spokeo added a section to their site that allows users to cull information using what you may have thought was an anonymous social networking handle like "Mark534" or "PennyLane86."

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