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Enhancing Local Communication With Nextdoor.com

September 12, 2016 , , , , ,

I have been an enthusiastic fan of the local social network, Nextdoor, since it launched.  I started one for our neighborhood right away, and have worked to increase participation because I believe it has potential to drastically improve communication between neighbors as well as between neighborhoods and law enforcement agencies. We have made a few gains, but I notice recently that many members do not understand how the system works.  A neighbor recently asked me where to find instructions to use the site.  This inspired me to find this tutorial and create this post with some simple suggestions.

One of the most common misunderstandings seems to be about who can see the posts.  Some folks think that because our police department is a member, and does post useful information to the community using the system, they are monitoring Nextdoor full-time.  The posts initiated by the police force are visible to the force.  All other posts are private from any government agency.  There is a private messaging system with which to privately contact any cop who is in the system.  Some officers also publish their phone numbers or e-mail addresses.  This is not an official channel to report crime.  It is a way to dialog about community issues that may include crime.  The goal of Nextdoor is to increase engagement, not enter the arena of law enforcement.  We already have a police force working very hard on that.  Increasing engagement may eventually improve our crime statistics just because more pertinent information is shared.

The calendar and the classified sections are excellent tools to promote events or let neighbors know about services offered.  The classified section provides free advertising between local establishments and local residents.  The reason to use these special designations is simple. The conversation that is known as a thread or stream will move on with time and be buried by newer posts and conversations.  New members will not be likely to search the conversations held in the past.  They might, however, check the classified section or the calendar, just as they might in a newspaper.  These useful sections are underused where I live.  If a member shows interest in an event on the calendar Nextdoor will send an e-mail reminder when the event is soon to occur.  There is a new feature I have not used much myself that tags, and recommends businesses that are discussed in the thread.

If you do not have a Nextdoor site in your area, I urge you to start one.  It is available as an app for  the phone, which most people use now. If you have a site I encourage you to use it to get to know your neighbors.   It is free.  What is not to like?

new recommendations feature

new recommendations feature

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