I grew up in a northern New Jersey suburb of New York City, on a cul-de-sac block named after a fireman from our town. My parents (and therefore I) knew every neighbor on our block. First and last names, kids, religions, professions, and pets. As a kid I got hand-me-down Halloween costumes, books, and games from the girl about 10 years older than me that lived next store (her name was Mandy). I remember when the little girls across the street, Jennifer and Jessica, were born (they were about 10 and 12 years younger than me), and when my own daughter was born (twenty years later), their parents sent me a baby gift via my mom. A guy from my grade lived on my block, Chris, and he always walked his black fluffy dog past my house after school while I sat by the window and had a snack in the kitchen. One night the house at the crown of the cul-de-sac burnt down, and the entire block came outside and stood together in the street and watched the firemen put it out. When it was time for Girl Scout cookies or other fundraisers like that, my mom felt safe sending us out on our block... she knew everyone! I remember as a kid the neighbors on either side of us had teenage daughters, and they both babysat for me. And then when I was a teenager, and the block had "turned over" some, I babysat for some our our neighbors: Michael & Jason, Rachel & her little brother, etc. It was a community.
But as an adult, I have lived in several different cities and states. Apartments and condos and houses. I've both rented and owned. And in the past 11 years post-college, I don't think I have known more than one neighbor's name per address. In New York City, people just turn all twelve deadbolts with their keys, heads down, and hurry out of the building. In Hoboken, a knock on your door meant that a neighbor wanted to complain TO you or ABOUT you. And in our last house, we waved to some of the neighbors and shouted "hello" over 6 foot fences, but never were introduced. And we moved into our current house in November, and on Halloween we went trick-or-treating with Lilian and introduced ourselves to our next-door-neighbors on one side (with Lilian in the cutest Nemo suit ever) and were met with complete disinterest. She didn't even tell me her name in response.
I'm not sure if it's like this everywhere nowadays, but I know that it has only been my experience. And it's sad to think that Lilian won't experience that same feeling of community that my brother and I had when we were kids.
One company thought that they should do something about this...
WhitePages.com is announcing WhitePages Neighbors, a new free Block Party organizer and contact lookup product to help find the names and contact information for neighbors to promote neighborhood spirit, community partnerships and local safety. Despite the fact that most American adults who have neighbors (93%) say it’s important for neighbors to look out for each other’s safety, a new survey conducted online in June 2011 by Harris Interactive on behalf of WhitePages found that more of them can identify most of their neighbors’ cars (47%) than most of their neighbors’ first names (41%) and that more of them (27%) know most of their neighbors’ pets more than most of their neighbors’ kids (24%). National Night Out is coming up on August 2nd, which 37 million People participated in last year. In partnership with National Night Out, we’d like to help people plan even more block parties this year to help neighbors get to know each other (organize Neighborhood Watch programs, plan block parties, organize play dates, organize garage sales).
The new Whitepages Neighbors product offers an aerial map of U.S. household contact information, including first and last name, mailing address, associated household members, and phone number to help neighbors more effectively get in touch. Going beyond making it easy to look up neighbors’ names and contact information, WhitePages has partnered with the National Night Out (NNO) to make it easy to plan a Block Party within a few clicks without having to worry about tracking down neighbor’s names and contact information by sending personalized postcard invites via the U.S. Postal Service for free. "If you look at the 1940s and the 1950s, neighborhoods were safer places because people knew each other. Neighborhoods today are not as tightly knit as they used to be, even with Facebook and other social media tools at their disposal,” said Matt Peskin, Executive Director, National Association of Town Watch and creator of National Night Out. With the survey discovering that 34% of American adults who have neighbors do not feel comfortable asking their neighbors to keep an eye on their home when they go away, WhitePages and NNO hope people will use “Neighbors” Block Party invites to foster relationships that lead to effective neighborhood watch initiatives that promote local safety.
Try it out here: http://neighbors.whitepages.com/
For those concerned about privacy, you can log on and DELETE/edit/customize the information about yourself you'd like shown! But for starters, whatever info has been gathered about you and your family will be publically viewable.
Watch the Video to SEE how it all works!
The White Pages Neighbors home page looks like this...
And this is what the (real paper) postcard will look like that will be sent (for free!) to all your neighbors when you host a block party!
And to get everyone excited and ready for summer BBQs and block parties, Lil Family Blog is hosting a $100 cash giveaway to put towards summertime fun! (See disclosures and rules below for details).
Here's how to enter!
Mandatory Entry:You must be a public follower of my blog either via Google reader/friend connect or Networked blogs. (See left sidebar to sign up). Just leave a comment and tell me about summer plans you have! (Also tell me your name with which you're registered as a follower and an email where I can get in touch with you if you win!)
Additional Entries (all worth one unless otherwise specified) Please leave SEPARATE comments for each entry you are entitled to:* Like Lil Family Blog on Facebook
* Click on both the "Top Mommy" brown button and "Picket Fence" buttons on the right of my page to vote for Lil Family Blog on both sites. (worth 1 total entry each day. You can do this once a day.)
* Leave a comment on any OTHER non-giveaway blog post. (You can do this once a day also).
* Click on the black Swagbucks button on the right and sign up as my referral. (Will be verified on the Swagbucks site).
* Add one of my buttons to your site (again, on the right of my page, copy the text below the button and then paste it onto the sidebar of your blog). Worth 2 entries. You must link me to your webpage where I can see the button.
* Post about this giveaway on your blog or site and leave me a link where I can see it.
* Share this contest on Facebook. (Can be done easily with the little "F" icon on the bottom of this entry near the comments).
* Add me to your blogroll/blog list on your site. (Again, link me to your site where I can see it.)
* Tweet about this! Post THIS on Twitter: " Visit Lil Family Blog for a chance to win $100 from WhitePages Neighbors. @dana_rubyfruit http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/07/wont-you-be-my-neighbor-win-100-cash.html " (You can do this once a day and get an additional entry every day).
* You get one additional entry for every friend/family member you get to enter (they have to leave an extra comment saying who sent them).
RULES: This contest will end on July 23, 2011 at 11:59PM EST, no more entries will be accepted after that time. The winner will be chosen at random and announced within a day or two on the blog. If the winner does not provide an email address and/or does not contact me within 48 hours of the winner announcement on the blog, a new winner will be chosen. Winner must have a U.S.A. address where the prize will be shipped. The prize will be shipped directly from WhitePages to the winner within a reasonable amount of time. Please see my disclosure link on the top of the page for fine print. The prize will be in the form of a prepaid Visa card for $100. I cannot be responsible for unreceived, lost, broken, defective, or otherwise "bad" items.
All info about White Pages Neighbors was provided by them. I was not compensated in any way for this post, with the exception of the $100 gift to be given to a blog reader. Any facts and information provided to me has not been verified or checked by me and is not necessarily my opinion.