The basics of neighborhood social media networks

Neighborhood news websites and neighborhood social media networks function like real-time, always-updated connections for neighbors. Keep yours useful and friendly with these considerations.

Child running in a neighborhood made safe by neighborhood social media network

A man notices someone walking down his street at night, jiggling car door handles. The man calls the police and posts about it on his neighborhood social media network. By quickly alerting his neighbors, who then check their locks, the man may have thwarted a would-be criminal. The next day, an elderly woman asks on the same network who she should hire to fix a leaky pipe. Within minutes, three neighbors offer to do the work for free.

For every heroic or helpful story like these, however, there are as many other stories that may have people wary of joining neighborhood apps or neighborhood social media sites. What should you consider when it comes to neighborhood social media networks and neighborhood social network safety?

Types of neighborhood social media networks

There are two basic types of these new online neighborhood apps or social media networks. The first, such as Citizen and Neighbors by Ring, acts like an online Neighborhood Watch. Users can report criminal or suspicious activity to warn others in their neighborhood.

The second combines safety and social media to foster more communication within local communities. The most popular is Nextdoor, which now covers 236,000 neighborhoods across 11 countries and functions almost like a neighborhood news website. Users can interact and discuss anything, not just crime.

Benefits to joining and using a neighborhood social network

  • Get real-time crime notices with others living in your area so you can stay vigilant. In some communities, the local police and government agencies post updates.
  • Apps with a social component can help you build friendships for yourself or your family.
  • The social sharing aspect is also a great way to learn about local events, get community announcements or find recommendations for things like babysitters and home repair companies.
  • There's typically no charge to join or use these apps. Nextdoor requires that you verify your address to gain access, which helps keep outsiders away.

Precautions to take when using a neighborhood social media network

  • Someone is able to log what turns out to be a false crime report. Receiving frequent alerts about "crime" nearby can induce fear, even when violent and property crimes are both down more than 50% since the early 1990s.
  • In an open forum, useful posts may be outnumbered by complaints or gossip. Try to establish guidelines for any neighborhood social media network you join.
  • In addition to acting as a virtual garage sale, these sites can contain a lot of sales announcements.
  • Free apps make money from advertising. Read the privacy policies before opting in to determine what personal data, if any, can or will be shared.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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