Social media vs real neighbours

As a wise soap opera once said, 'everybody needs good neighbours'. And we agree! Our recent Good Neighbour Championships proved that there are plenty of friendly folk out there. But what we're worried about are the neighbours who build a moat around their home, hide behind closed doors and live as a recluse. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it's true; neighbours aren't as good friends as they used to be.

You hear time and time again from parents and grandparents; we never really know our neighbours anymore. Thirty or forty years ago, neighbours were considered family. They were the go-to people in times of need - a support network that's completely unheard of in the present day. In most instances, neighbours are lucky if they make it onto the Christmas card list these days. But why?

The truth is, times have changed. We've moved into a digital age that means any neighbours we want to speak to can be contacted through the online community. The others, the real neighbours, are just people we smile at in passing.

But if you could choose, what would you prefer; to stick with social media buddies, or get to know your real neighbours? Yes, using social networking minimises the face to face drama, but can your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed keep an eye on your home when you're abroad? Can they water your plants? Bring your bins in? Throw the best summer party? Probably not.

For us, it's about finding that balance. Social media is unavoidable these days; everyone likes to live in the fast lane. But that's no excuse to avoid those who live just a drive's width away. Back in the day, when 'everybody knew everybody' they actually did. It wasn't a faceless number to show others how many friends you have. They were genuine, real life friendships.

It's about merging the two entities together; uniting neighbours far and wide through the use of social media. Rather than just having a sneaky look at their Facebook profile, add them as a friend and organise the best street party to hit your hometown since 1953.

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