Who is Nextdoor?

A few weeks ago, I received a postcard in the mail asking me to join a new social media site called “NextDoor.” The joining code that you are provided is supposed to link you with a group of people within a certain radius of your home…your neighbors. It is an interesting concept to “meet” some of your neighbors that you may not otherwise meet. There are all sorts of things you can do on the website from welcoming new neighbors, posting items for sale, if you are looking for a good plumber, heck one of your neighbors might be a plumber. This year you can even go to a map and indicate whether or not you will be handing out candy this year. Yep, you can post just about anything on this website from a found dog to a garage sale you are having.
When I think of neighbors that are “next door” I tend to assume that next door is within maybe a 1 mile radius…depending on how your neighborhood is set up. Somehow I am part of neighborhoods up to 4 miles away. Why would I want to do that? The only reason why I see this as a positive, is that I can see what crimes and safety issues the neighbors are having.

nextdoor

Communities are starting to branch out a little with the platform and about 1,400 police departments around the country are on Nextdoor. Police in Seattle are starting to use this website as a way to get involved in their neighborhoods that they patrol. According to the article, the Seattle Police Department feel that it helps them connect with the community and also learn more about the concerns of the neighborhoods. According to Nextdoor, one in five households have signed up for an account and almost 98% of the city’s neighborhoods are represented. The website started out as a positive and quickly went downhill with some users using it to complain and stereotype individuals in areas where crime is an issue. This brought about paranoia and some users felt it was stigmatizing groups in the city.
Have you been asked to join Nextdoor or would you consider it?

 

Wadell, K (2016, May 04). The Police Office ‘Nextdoor’. How Cops use Nextdoor for Community Policing. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/05/nextdoor-social-network-police-seattle/481164/

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13 Responses to Who is Nextdoor?

  1. Mabrisa says:

    Hi Stacie,
    Great post. I have never heard of Nextdoor. I would also be hesitant about using it because I am a very private person. It is great, like you mentioned, if people want to post any crime issues/alerts in their area. I think posting too much information about yourself will literally open the door to a slew of problems. For example, having your whole neighborhood know when you will be leaving to go out of town I feel is a bad idea. That is just inviting strangers to target your home. In the end it all depends on the homeowner and what he/she is comfortable sharing with others.
    Mabrisa Rodriguez

    • Stacie says:

      You bring up a good point Mabrisa. Hopefully people won’t share TOO much information on a site like this. One of my neighbors recently posted looking for a baby sitter, so my daughter contacted them and now has some babysitting booked, so in this way it was a good thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Hi Stacie,

    We’ve received two of these postcards at our home — the first about a year ago, and the second a month or so ago. The first time we got the card, I thought it was actually a group of neighbors who went in on some service together and was interested in checking it out. I didn’t, and I don’t remember why I didn’t. When we recently got the card, it was more obvious to me that it was a business trying to get people to believe they’re part of this neighborhood group. There were a couple of streets mentioned on the card that aren’t too close to our home, like you said, so that was a turnoff. I ended up tossing the card because something about it just seemed off to me.

    • Stacie says:

      Hi Carolyn, I agree it is strange that I am getting posts for neighborhoods that aren’t even close to me. I also wonder if it is a way for this company to sell addresses for mail marketing purposes. What a great way to get a “free” list of names, emails and addresses. I say free because they don’t have to pay a company just the cost for the website, etc. but the data is always available and up to date. After reading some of these posts, I may just delete my account.

  3. Beverly says:

    Hi Stacie–what a clever idea. What’s interesting is that I am friends to my next door neighbors and more of a “passerby,” wave hi” with the other neighbors on my street. We are all so consumed with life, we have no time to connect. I love this concept especially the notion that neighbors extend beyond your street. Its begs the question of what other ideas can span from this site such as the new neighborhood watch, sharing gardeners, post announcements such as lemonade stands, garage sales and more. I see this as a positive but think it takes time for everyone to pause and engage. Until there is a real community reason to join and engage, I don’t see much traction occurring. Great blog!

  4. Kathleen says:

    Hi Stacie-

    I absolutely love NextDoor and am signed up for my neighborhood plus 27 more nearby (I’m in a suburb of Washington, DC). Our neighborhood’s use of it has spanned to all of the things you mentioned. We had someone post a crime event in the neighborhood just last night, and plenty of people have used it to promote various fundraising events for their children. It’s commonly used (for us) for sale or free items, or recommendations for painters, plumbers, etc. I’ve hopped in my car and searched for many a lost dog I’ve seen people post about, and have used it when I’ve found someone else’s lost dog roaming around to help find the owner. When my rotten Beagle escaped, I posted and complete strangers were out in my neighborhood looking for my little trouble maker. It’s because of the above-mentioned reasons why I’m connected to so many other neighborhoods.

    One of the biggest things NextDoor has morphed into for us is a platform to address traffic issues in our neighborhood. I live near Dulles airport, and we are (finally) getting the metro from DC out past Dulles. While we desperately need relief from traffic congestion, the metro stop across from out neighborhood comes at a price, which includes increased traffic, people parking in our neighborhood and, according to many, an increase in crime. We may even have some homes taken under imminent domain laws to widen local roads. Needless to say, people in my neighborhood are wound up. NextDoor is used to gather people together for traffic-related meetings, provide updates from elected officials, etc. We also have a local Fairfax County police presence on our NextDoor “board” to provide us updates about crime and ongoing initiatives, and I’m sure to build a positive presence in our community.

    I’ve been so pleased with NextDoor that I recently found my elderly parents’ neighborhood on there and signed my mother up. It gives me a little peace of mind that she can see what her neighbors recommend or are saying, and can perhaps use it when she needs help. Great post!

    Kathy

    • Stacie says:

      Hi Kathy, it is great that your neighborhood has had such a positive experience with this concept. Yes, I can imagine that with increased traffic and people parking in your neighborhood, crime may increase. It is unfortunate that this is what happens but its like it opens a new neighborhood for these criminals to commit crimes and make it look like they are parking for other reasons, to blend in. I live in MN and we have a great lost dog Facebook page called Lost Dogs MN for posting lost and found pets. It is amazing what social media can do for finding lost pets. My dog is too timid and shy to go up to anyone and she knows where her food is, so she does not stray far. I can imagine with your parents it would give you a sense of security to know what is going on in their neighborhood. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. Sarah Price says:

    I’ve also used NextDoor, although I check it rarely. Our local police are engaged there in an amazing way. One of my favorite posts was a photo of a bunch of random items. The police had caught a package thief and had a number of items that had been snatched from people’s front door, but they didn’t know who owned them. I love that our local police can have a sense of humor that helps to humanize them in the community.

    I have also used NextDoor for sale items, and for reporting a lost dog that I saw running around my neighborhood, just like Kathy.

    I’m up in the heart of Silicon Valley, so I think my area is on the faster side of adopting new technologies like this. I am curious to see if this kind of platform becomes more popular across the country. Given how other local phenomena, like Yelp, have spread, I think it might be possible. We’ll just have to wait and see!

  6. Kiley says:

    Hi Stacie,

    I too am a member of NextDoor. My neighborhood actually has its own Facebook group where we communicate more directly with each other, but NextDoor lets us talk with neighborhoods nearby and our local police and fire. It’s nice, like others have mentioned, for people who lose pets. They post their pictures on NextDoor and sometimes people find them in neighborhoods several miles away. It’s a great tool to stay connected to your community.

    Great post!

    • Stacie says:

      Hi Kiley, great idea for a neighborhood Facebook page! It seems it can be more private and have controlled access than a NextDoor account. My neighborhood posts for sale things, looking for a plumber and looking for a babysitter type of things. Fortunately, we haven’t had to deal with any real crime issues. Although the other day my daughter was on her way home and watched a truck purposely slide all over the road (in the snow) and then slide into the neighbors garage. She took a quick picture of the truck with the license plate, which was good because the truck backed up and kept on driving. She told the home owner about it and gave them the picture, but also posted it on NextDoor. It ended up being a kid from the neighborhood across the street out messing around with his Dads truck. He was busted as he told his Dad he slide into a tree.

  7. Elysha says:

    I’m also a member of NextDoor and like Kiley, our neighborhood also has its own dedicated Facebook page. I really appreciate having social media sites dedicated to my community because the posts are coming from people who care about the things that are happening in our neighborhood. There’s just so much useful information there, everything from the new development that will be coming in soon, to post in search of a good electrician or plumber. I like that people are respectful of the space and don’t use it to solicit business. It’s just a nice one-stop location for all the information and happenings in your neighborhood that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

    Elysha

    • Stacie says:

      Hi Elysha, I like all of these posts about neighborhood Facebook page. I live in a neighborhood of about 10 houses and they are all old retired people, so not very likely to use social media. So, NextDoor is a good way to see what is going on in the neighborhood in the housing development across the street. It is interesting to find out how many people are aware of this type of social media. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Alyssa says:

    Hi Stacie,

    I too am a member of nextdoor, and I joined because a good friend/neighbor had it and he encouraged me to engage. I live in LA and truth be told I find it a little annoying and although I deleted the app I cant seem to unsubscribe from the mass amount of emails it sends.

    I live in LA and sometimes I feel like we’ve lost the human element of reaching out and talking to your neighbor in person.