Can Nextdoor Really Use “Social Network” and “Private” in the Same Sentence?

Nextdoor App for your HOA Communications

Is your Homeowners association using Nextdoor to communicate with neighbors? Nextdoor’s growth has been nothing short of phenomenal.

What is Nextdoor?

Nextdoor is an online social platform somewhat like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The Nextdoor creators claim the major difference is that this social network is private. Their goal is to provide you and your neighbors a trusted place to talk online where neighbors can work together to build stronger, safer, happier communities. Nextdoor makes it very easy to find, locate and target Neighborhoods simply with your address.

Is Nextdoor a Good or Bad Thing?

As it is with most things in life, the answer to that is, “it depends”. The intention seems legitimate and if used as designed the potential exists for Nextdoor to be a very useful tool. But it’s not without privacy issues, and, as users will tell you, having access to so much information about your neighbors and your neighborhood can sometimes be too much of a good thing. If you are really concerned about your personal privacy you may not care to join.

What You Need to Know About Nextdoor 

Using a social networking site that asks you to post your real name and your home address can be a big Privacy concern. At the same time, there is a big book that gets delivered right to your door that contains much (and even more) of the same information – it’s called a phone book. Still, it is something to seriously consider before randomly volunteering such information.

Using a social networking site that asks you to post your real name and your home address can be a big Privacy concern. Click To Tweet

Is Nextdoor a “Nosey Neighbor”?

Nextdoor Privacy Policy

During your due diligence process, take a moment to read through the Nextdoor privacy policy.

“We collect information from you, when you give it to us directly or give us the OK to get it from another source. For example, when you register for Nextdoor, you voluntarily provide your name, profile photo, email address, and similar information.”

If you do decide to sign up with Nextdoor (or any other online service), consider not registering by using your other social media credentials. Anytime you register anywhere with another social media account you’re giving that service permission to access additional personal information from those social media sites about you.

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Nextdoor GEO Tracking

Nextdoor can also track your physical location. Obviously, there is no ill-intent here but it is no secret that this information has the potential to be a bad thing. When the general public knows where you are, they know when you are not at home. This information in the wrong hands may leave your home vulnerable.

“If you want to allow us to show you where you are on your neighborhood map, to tag your posts, photos and events by location, to verify your address (where available), or to display activities and Content that may be relevant to your current location, we may ask your permission to access geolocation information from your mobile device.”

Nextdoor Data Collection

Nextdoor collects information about the computer, smartphone and other devices you’re using to access the site. This practice is nothing new and nowadays this is common. This type of information is collected and shared to develop custom profiles about who is using which services and on what types of devices so that those collecting the information can better target their ideal markets. Every device that accesses the Internet passes this type information along.

Another important thing to know is that when you invite your neighbors to join Nextdoor, whether it’s providing their email address or their home address, you are giving that information to Nextdoor and they are going to use that information to expand their business. That’s why Nextdoor is expanding exponentially. A general rule of thumb and best practice is to not share other people’s information without their permission.

The bottom line is to just remember that it is in the best interest of any business to make a profit. It is up to you to decide if you trust the business enough to have your best interests in mind as well.

Nextdoor Pros and Cons

Acri Community Realty took a closer look at Nextdoor and put together this list of Pros and Cons about the platform.

Nextdoor PROS:

  • Nextdoor will mail out postcards to all of your neighbors inviting them to join your new group.
  • You can chat up community events like garage sales or pool parties.
  • It is easy to search for help and give contractor recommendations.
  • Your neighbors will help you find your lost pet.
  • It’s a great way to buy or sell a piece of furniture or accessory or automobiles without having to leave your house.
  • There is an “Urgent” function, which allows you to blast everyone in your neighborhood who is signed up for Nextdoor with an email.
  • You may be able to catch a thief easier.
  • You will know more about your community.

Nextdoor CONS:

  • People share way too much, and many times, things get ugly.
  • Rumors about the community, that in most cases, are not based in fact do more harm than good.
  • Personal disputes get aired publicly. The moderator may allow inappropriate posts to remain out of neglect or they agree with the bully.
  • Do you really want other users to know that much about you?
  • You will be disappointed in the uncharitable things folks say.
  • And Privacy may become a big issue.
  • Nextdoor owns everything you post even if you delete your account.

Only you can decide if using a service like Nextdoor is something you want to do. Perhaps bringing it up at your next meeting for discussion and sharing some of the information we have provided will ultimately make your community a stronger, safer, and happier place


Sign Up Process

Signing up with Nextdoor is easy. As mentioned earlier it is advisable to always make your own unique login rather than using other social media profiles like Facebook. If you choose to login using other social media profiles you may end up granting the Nextdoor App access to the contents of your personal contacts, friends and email addresses.

The process starts by adding your address and an email. Next, you provide your first and last name, a password, and gender.

Once you sign up and your address is geo-located, who you are – your full name, and where you live is now easily discoverable by all members of that regional area. You can adjust your privacy settings within your account settings.

Creating a Group

Do you think you live in a pretty progressive, open-minded community where everyone shares your values? If you are a member of a Nextdoor neighborhood, you can create a group within the neighborhood for your neighbors who share the same interest. Your group can be public or private. According to the Nextdoor Website here are the differences between the two types:

Public groups:

  • Are open to anyone in the neighborhood.
  • Allow any neighbor to join the group immediately, without waiting for approval.
  • Allow any neighbor to read the group’s messages, whether or not they have joined.
  • Have public member lists.

Private groups: 

  • Are limited to just the people a moderator adds or approves.
  • Have messages which are only viewable by the members of the group.
  • Have private member lists.

Just like Facebook and any other social networks, it is often good practice to make the group “Private”. This will ensure there are some moderation and control of your group.

If you create a private group, you become the original moderator. With a private group, moderators approve members and moderate or remove messages.

If you are in a Homeowners Association and want to create a group be careful not to name the group with the corporate name of your community as it can cause legal contention for your Association. Another great practice is to add a descriptor that the group is not the official voice of the community but simply a place to communicate and exchange information between neighbors.

 

Rinaldo Acri-CEO Acri Commercial RealtyWon’t You Be My Neighbor?

Rinaldo Acri CEO of Acri Community Realty says, “With Nextdoor you may end up learning more than you want to know about your neighbors, however, if used as designed this platform may actually be a useful tool to achieve building a stronger, safer, happier community. “

 

Does your community Leverage Nextdoor to communicate and how successful or what problems have you encountered? Drop us a line at info@acrirlty.com.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified legal opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own attorney for more information. Acri Community Realty does not claim responsibility for this information.
Acri Community RealtyAbout Acri Community Realty: Acri Community Realty, located in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, specializes in custom HOA and Condo property management solutions, scaled to fit your needs.

Acri is known for the great care and pride in the work done to protect and enhance the value of your investment. They have the privilege of managing a diverse portfolio of properties while caring for each and every home like it is their own.

If you’ve had any issues with your HOA or Condo that you’d like Acri to try and delve into, and possibly write about later contact us via our website at ⇒ Acri Community Realty. We are interested to hear about your experiences and how an association has helped or hurt.


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