There was once a time when the crier would stand in the town square ringing his bell and dishing out the latest news to the townsfolk. If you wanted word spread, you alerted the town crier. The Nextdoor app is like a digital town crier for our modern, tech driven world. It’s a way for people to connect with others in their community. Sounds good, but is Nextdoor safe to use? Let’s find out.
What Is Nextdoor?
Nextdoor is a neighborhood based social media site. For example, a New Yorker will not be able to connect to someone in San Francisco. But they will be able to connect to other locals. Nextdoor uses an address verification process and places you in a digital “neighborhood.” You can only see local posts and message people in the same “neighborhood”. Anyone perusing local posts will find them full of “suspicious” people in their area. Most are purely paranoia. However, if having a little extra vigilance prevents one person from being hurt or stolen from, the site did its job. You’ll just have to wade through hundreds of posts about putting dog poop in someone else’s trash bin.
Here’s an example of a ridiculous post you might come across:
Does Nextdoor Help?
The app is more than just a sounding board for paranoid window peekers with the police on speed-dial. The amount of returned pets on the site is enough to justify its existence. Of course, election time brings out the absolute worst in people. (In case you’re wondering if your political support signs were going unnoticed, they’re not. And your detractors are posting all about it). There are stories about people helping law enforcement, usually in the form of surveillance footage or captured photos. There’s also the story about a man being stranded on his roof after a hurricane. He was rescued thanks to a Nextdoor posting. In this respect, the app certainly helps.
Is Nextdoor Safe?
There is always an inherent privacy risk with social media. We’ve all heard the story about a person posting about an upcoming vacation only to come home to find their house robbed. Nextdoor happens to be much more personal than other forms of social media. While other sites allow for anonymity, Nextdoor asks you for your real name and home address. Also, everyone you interact with lives in your vicinity. There certainly are risks. But those can be mitigated by taking the right steps. Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself:
- DON’T POST YOUR EXACT ADDRESS! You’re required to display the name of the street you live on, but can choose not to display your house number. This can help you maintain the little amount of privacy that the site offers. It’s kinda scary for a place to ask you to display your home address.
- Skip The Arguments: Like facebook posts and Youtube comments, you’ll find people squabbling about everything from politics to Christmas decorations. Insulting someone’s political or religious beliefs on the internet gets exponentially more dangerous when everyone lives within walking distance. You’re better off not doing it. And honestly, has anyone actually changed their view based on an internet comment? Probably not.
- Be Mindful Of Yourself: One day, you’ll put your hood up due to the slight drizzle outside on your walk to the corner store. You’ll return home after eating your Butterfinger to find Nextdoor abuzz with posts about a mysterious hooded person casing houses for a robbery. The site encourages nosy and snoopy people to be a little extra nosy and snoopy.
Is Nextdoor safe? It can be if you take the right precautions. The personal nature of it is both good and bad when it comes to safety. You’ll be in closer contact with people in your community, but you’ll be putting up personal information. If you’re looking for a plumber, or you just really need to get to the bottom of any dog poop mystery, then Nextdoor might be for you. Just don’t post about your upcoming vacation to the Bahamas.
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