How to join a local social network
A local social network automatically connects users who live in the same community – typically using a postcode entered when they sign up to the website. This enables people to talk to fellow residents in their neighbourhood, without needing to already know them all personally.
Local social networks open up the community to anyone who wants to get involved. They are a great way of finding out what is going on locally, discovering clubs and groups, getting good recommendations and meeting new people. As a result, conversations started on a local social network often turn into real world interactions.
There are a few different local social networks available to join. Streetlife is the largest in the UK, with over 260,000 users across 3,000 communities.
This guide was contributed for us by Streetlife.
- a computer with an internet connection
- an email address
- a postcode.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to join Streetlife
Go to streetlife.com (clicking this link will open the Streetlife website in a new window). In the centre side of the screen you’ll see a box that says ‘Sign up’.
Inside the signup box you’ll see two smaller boxes asking for your postcode and email address. Click inside the first box and enter your home postcode (this will be used to identify the particular community of users to which you should be connected). Click inside the second and enter your email address. Then press signup (if you are a Facebook user you can join using Facebook Connect).
You’ll now be taken to a screen that asks for a few more details. This information will be used to create your user profile. Once you have added in the information, click Show me my neighbourhood to complete the sign up process.
You’ll then be asked to confirm that you’re about to join the correct neighbourhood, based on mapping data and the postcode you provided earlier. If your area is correct, click Yes, that’s my area. If it’s not, click That’s not quite right – let me fix it.
NB: If you were placed in the correct neighbourhood, ignore this step.
If you clicked That’s not quite right – let me fix it, then you’ll see a list of other nearby communities to select from. Click the name of the area that’s closest to your local community. If none of these areas look correct, click None of these is right!
If you selected the correct neighbourhood in the above step, ignore this step. If you clicked None of these is right! type in the name of your local community and click Suggest. Your suggestion will then be reviewed and may be added at a later date, in the meantime, click the name of the community that best matches your local neighbourhood.
You’ll then be asked if you want to upload your own profile picture. Streetlife users who upload their own profile picture tend to get better responses – it’s nice for neighbours to be able to see who they’re talking to. If you’d like to upload your own profile picture, click Choose a photo and select the photo you want to use. If you don’t, click No thanks, maybe later. Don’t worry, you can upload a new profile picture or change your existing profile picture at any time.
You’ll then be guided through how Streetlife works and the steps you need to take to make your first post. We strongly suggest you go through the tutorial to get an idea of how Streetlife works before you post for the first time. However, you can choose to skip the tutorial by clicking the Exit intro button if you’d prefer.
The tutorial will explain the different categories under which you can start a Streetlife conversation. You can post a general message to your neighbours, let your community know about a local event, share a recommendation for a business or tradesperson in the area, start a poll to find out your neighbour’s opinions on a certain topic, offer or ask to borrow a possession from your neighbours, or post a classified conversation and offer something for sale to your neighbours.
You’ll then be shown how private messages work. This is an ideal way of sharing information with trusted neighbours, or for chatting one-to-one in private.
Streetlife will notify you when something’s happened that you should know about, such as when someone else has commented on a conversation that you started.
You are now looking at the most recent conversations posted by users who live in the same neighbourhood as you do, called the ‘Home Page’. These are publicly visible to everyone living in the community, for anyone to read or comment on. As multiple people start commenting on a conversation, so the dialogue develops.
You might feel it a little unusual to see conversations between people whom you do not necessarily know – don’t worry! The idea of a local social network is that users are talking to the whole community. This allows people to draw upon all their neighbours for help, advice and support– from finding a good plumber to getting a new book club going. You’ll see this reflected in the topics of conversations on Streetlife.
Scroll down the page to see all the conversations in your community. Some of the longer conversations will be contracted. Click on the conversation title or View earlier replies or Add a comment to expand them and see all the comments.
You can return to this screen anytime by clicking Home on the lefthand side of the screen, or the Streetlife logo at the top left of your screen or the Streetlife logo at the top left of your screen.
You should add a comment to a conversation if you have something you would like to contribute. You might know just the place for a neighbour asking for recommendations for a good pub lunch, have thoughts to add to a conversation about the local council or want to get involved with a walk being organised by some users.
To add a comment, first click on the conversation and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Type your comment in the box displayed. Remember, everything you type will be made public. Be sure to write in full sentences, and in a conversational style – just as you’d normally talk to members of your local community. When you are ready, click Post to add your comment to the conversation.
Complete each field in the expanded box. The subject line should be something that makes it easy for other users to determine what your conversation is about. The body of the conversation should be in full sentences and properly punctuated. Most importantly, the conversation should be about something local as it will be seen by everyone in your community – and the one thing you all have in common is where you live!
You can also add Tags to your conversation. These are the buttons marked 'Activities & Social', 'Civic & Community', 'Crime & Safety', 'Local Politics' and 'Lost & Found'. These tags tell other people what kind of message you’re posting and therefore make it easier for Streetlife users to find specifically the kinds of conversations that they’re interested in. For the example conversation in the image below, we’ve tagged the conversation as 'Activities & Social' as the example conversation is about starting a book club for fellow neighbours.
When you are finished, press Post.
Remember, just like posting a comment everything your write will be made public to the whole community. Do not type anything you wouldn’t want people you don’t know personally to see!
If you want to talk to only one user you can send a ‘Private message’. This is useful if you want to talk to a specific user about something private or irrelevant to the whole community. For example, you may wish to exchange personal details (telephone numbers, for example) or ask a neighbour if the table and chairs they are giving away is still available.
To send a private message, click on the name or the profile picture of the user you’d like to contact. This will take you to their profile page, where you’ll be able to see some information about that user. You can then click the Private message button to send that use a private message.
This will open a new screen where you can type out your message. When you are happy with it, press Send.
Your private messages will not be displayed in the ‘Home page’. Instead, any private messages you send or receive can be accessed by clicking on Inbox on the lefthand side of your screen.
As you explore Streetlife you will see that there are many other tools and features at your disposal, all designed to make the site work in a way that best suits you. Take a look for yourself and join in the conversation. Remember, the network is only as good as its users, their involvement and the conversations being posted, so do get involved!
A final thing to do is to verify your account by clicking a link sent to your email address. Log into your email and click on the link inside the message that Streetlife sent to you (shown with the red arrow below). This confirms that the email address you signed up with is correct and redirects you to Streetlife. Streetlife will then be able to keep you informed about the conversations happening in your area by sending you a daily summary about what your neighbours are discussing.
An example of a daily email summary is shown below. It includes an update of all the conversations and comments from your neighbours in the last day, so you’re always up to date with what’s happening in your area.
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