In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, one positive sentiment gained traction: that despite the harsh new realities of physical distancing, we were “closer” to each other than we’d ever been before. This optimistic paradox emerged from the observation that neighbors were rallying together—whether singing from balconies, or connecting through online networks of support and mutual aid. Hyperlocal online groups didn’t start with the coronavirus, but they certainly rose to new heights with it. Usage of Nextdoor, a global social network for local communities, jumped in March 2020, and informal networks sprang up through Whatsapp and Facebook. Members used them to check in on the lonely and vulnerable, organize shopping and medicine pick-ups and exchange goods. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.