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3 Secrets to Exploring Neighborhoods With Social Media

Interested in learning about what a neighborhood feels like? Try one of these three lesser-known features on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Using social media for selfies and staying in touch is a no-brainer, but using your networks to learn more about that neighborhood in San Francisco, CA, where you might potentially buy is a new(ish) concept—and one worth exploring. Here we breakdown how you can make good use of features you never knew existed to feel out a neighborhood and find your ideal match:

3 Secret Features That Help You Get a Feel for the Neighborhood

  1. Facebook’s secret feature: City Guides

    Best for: Finding the places in a neighborhood where locals actually go.

    While Facebook has positioned City Guides as a travel-planning resource, the guides are actually a helpful street-level window into twenty cities such as Atlanta, GABoston, MA, Houston, TXLos Angeles, CANew York, NY, and Washington D.C. Choose your prospective location, then explore by category (restaurants, nightlife, parks) or by checking out suggested spots based on places your friends have visited. Better yet: get a feel for the local vibe by scrolling straight to the section called “Places The Locals Go.” You can also see which friends have recently been in the city – as well as ones who live there – to reach out to them for neighborhood tips.

    Find it: Look for City Guides under the explore tab on the mobile app—just make sure you’ve installed the latest version first.
  2. Instagram’s secret feature: Places tab

    Best for: Narrowing down a few neighborhoods, once you have a short list, by getting a visual feel for things.

    You know how you can tag your location when posting photos on Instagram? That information is going to good use here. The Places tab collects recent snapshots from users geotagged by location, giving you access to explore what’s happening right now, photo by beautifully filtered photo. When you search for Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA for instance, you’ll be awash in images, giving you a feel for the community and the people who live there.

    Find it: Places is the tab on the far right, once you’ve typed in a search. It’s available both on desktop and on mobile.
  3.  Twitter’s secret feature: Advanced Search

    Best for: Discovering hyper-local blogs, news sources, and influencers dedicated to their neighborhood comings and goings.

    Twitter has several research tools at your disposal to launch a neighborhood reconnaissance mission. After you’ve typed in a community name, you can find recommended local experts to follow in the People tab. Similarly, you can learn what life is like—right now—in Noe Valley, San Francisco, CA, by uncovering recent photos and news stories in the Photos and News tabs. Another approach is to find tweets that originate from a neighborhood you’re interested in—rather than tweets about a particular location—through Advanced Search. Why not hear what local life would be like straight from the mouths of your potential future neighbors?

    Find it: Look for the filmstrip of categories at the top of your search results and choose Advanced Search from the Search Filters module.