By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Way back before the internet, you were (metaphorically) flying blind when moving into a new city or town
. You could write or call the local Chamber of Commerce for information, or hunt through your alumni magazine to find some connection there, but for the most part you learned about the best pediatrician, gym, and dry cleaners through trial and error and maybe some wrinkled shirts.
Thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Nextdoor, and Pinterest, you can get the lay of the new land from the comfort of your couch before you even begin to think about scheduling your long-distance household move. Facebook offers the most comprehensive range of groups and pages, but Instagram will send you down a more off-the-beaten path for everything from contractors and interior decorators to restaurants, boutiques, and watering holes. Read on for a high-level overview of each social platform and how they can help when moving to a new town.
Facebook is the Sears Christmas catalog for the 2000s--it's got something for everybody, but for newbies who've just moved to town it's a treasure trove of information, with real time and real-life reviews. The relevant groups and pages names differ across the country but look for these sorts of names.
MIC started as a marketplace alternative to websites like Craigslist in 2015 but has morphed into the go-to gurus--part dance studio recommendations, part flea market, part therapy session--this group has affiliates nationwide. It's a closed group, which means you need an invitation, or ask to join and the local page admin approves you after a quick--usually algorithmic--glance at your own page, to ensure you're on the level. There are other local moms' Facebook groups, as well, that you are sure to find with just a quick search.
Almost every hamlet and crossroads these days has a Facebook presence--it's usually run by the economic development or parks and rec department. It's a public page and covers everything from the fire department's managed burns to free cone day at the local ice cream hang-out. Town pages usually link over to the city's website, which has more complete information on local happenings.
Nextdoor is an app for your mobile phone that takes the local social media goings-on to a seriously local level--building, block, subdivision, or small town. You must verify you live where you say you do to join--they usually send a code to your address--so a given group's membership is tightly controlled. You'll quickly learn more than you probably want to know about all your new neighbors, and yes, who's not picking up their dog's poop has been known to be a trending topic.
On the face of it, Pinterest seems like the odd man out here--it's just pictures of food and people's houses. If you're into architecture and you've moved to St Louis, for example, search for "architectural columns St Louis" and you'll find historic homes, local architects, and anything else vaguely associated with that search. The same thing goes for restaurants, shops, spas, and other vendors--retailers basically advertise on the site, but it opens more than the standard mall-and-chain shopping experience for newcomers.
Yes, that same LinkedIn that probably got you the new job in the new town is a super resource for finding volunteer opportunities--the section of the site is LinkedIn For Good and will connect you with the charities and organizations in town. There's nothing like working with a cause you really believe in to make you feel like a part of your new community.
The beauty of using social media to get acclimated after moving to your new surroundings is that you can do it at your leisure from your bubble bath, instead of calling during business hours and hoping for the best.
Request a free quote