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 45 Yoga with Adriene The internet’s best friend is—finally—finding her own flow. Arts & Culture Issue 50 Close Knit Close Knit: Meet the weavers keeping traditional Egyptian tapestrymaking alive. Arts & Culture Issue 50 The Old Gays Inside a Californian TikTok “content house” of a very different stripe. Arts & Culture Issue 50 New Roots The Palestinian art and agriculture collective sowing seeds of community. Arts & Culture Issue 50 Angela Trimbur An all-out tour de force. Arts & Culture Issue 50 Peace & Quiet In the UK, a centuries-old Quaker meeting house encourages quiet reflection.