Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

Nextdoor: Social Media For The Neighborhood

The private social network for your neighborhood. That’s how Nextdoor, a two year old startup company based in San Francisco, describes their product. What is it? What does it do? Who is it for? How much is it? Let’s back up a moment and I will answer all of those questions.

My Department’s community has really embraced our efforts with social media (Twitter and Facebook). We have a strong following on both platforms and the overall feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. Any Law Enforcement agency that makes a strong effort with social media won’t have to wait long before discovering its benefits. You’ll also wonder why you waited so long to embrace it. And, yes, you will quickly learn its pitfalls and limitations as well. It can often be a trial and error process which can sometimes raise the blood pressure of management and line Officers. If you’ve been a ConnectedCOP you already know this and you also realize the benefits outweigh the risks. A lot of these topics have been covered quite extensively and I’m not going to rehash most of it in this post. I am going to speak of limitations with traditional social media and how it brings me to Nextdoor.

What are the limitations I am talking about? First, it’s audience. Who is your social media audience? Is it local? Is it national? Is it international? Probably all of the above. Our experience has been that our Facebook audience has a higher number of residents than does Twitter. But, both platforms bring in people from all over the world. That’s a great thing in many respects but it also presents challenges because it’s not just your residents you are reaching. And sometimes, you just want to speak to your residents, not the media, not the perps, not the 752 agencies that follow you, etc.

The second limitation is accommodating employee involvement.  How do you facilitate employee engagement through social media without having to wade through pages of privacy settings or dealing with numerous accounts that the agency has no control over?  Then there’s the challenge of directing all of this employee involvement through a common outlet (your agency).  Getting employees on social media is not hard. Moving them all in the right direction, under one umbrella, can be a major challenge. The term “Herding Cats” comes to mind.

Third, do these social media platforms give residents a common outlet to reach your agency and each other?  This is where our conversation started and it was related to neighborhood watch. Yes, “Neighborhood Watch”, does it sound weird? Seems like it’s old school. But, everything old school eventually becomes new school again. In my town we had a neighborhood that was very tight and really wanted to address some of the nuisance crime that can degrade the quality of life.  These folks had a system going with a Yahoo Group that was working very well and many of the members were using the group primarily through email, a great tool. However, in my own mind, I could see a problem for us moving forward.

The problem is that crime watch traditionally needs a relationship with the police. Do we get on their Yahoo Group to stay current and communicate? What if the neighborhood nearby uses Google Groups for their watch, a Facebook group or a listserv? We want to be part of the conversation, part of the solution. How can we be effective with all of the fragmentation? I started looking for solutions. I jumped online and began looking for crime watch software. Go ahead and try searching for yourself, I won’t bore you further.

It wasn’t until my friend and coworker Troy noticed the Nextdoor logo on the National Night Out webpage that I thought I had something with potential. Troy knew we were looking for something and passed it along as a possible solution.

So, what is Nextdoor? As I said in the first paragraph, it is described as a private social network for your neighborhood. But, what does that mean? The social part is just like any other form of social media. Its all about social networking with other people, specifically, your neighbors. That is where the “privacy” comes in. In order to register to your neighborhood you have to verify your address. There’s a few ways Nextdoor does this.

• With your mobile phone
• With a phone call to your landline
• With your credit or debit
• With a postcard sent to the address you registered with

Obviously, nothing is foolproof but the effort put forth on the verification process sets this platform apart from other software, among other things. But, one thing we can’t avoid is the requirement that we register for, yet another, social media site. I’ve always been a believer in going where the audience already exists, not bringing the audience to us. Requiring folks to register for something else in order to listen to us always seems to end up with a limited audience and the need to connect mainstream social media platforms to expand that audience. Ultimately, that scenario is often a fail. Will Nextdoor persevere? I’m not sure. Whether Nextdoor can overcome the challenges that has left others in the dust remains to be seen (for us) but I’ll be following up at a later date with actual results. For now, let’s look at the product and how to get started.

Like a typical startup company don’t expect to see many phone numbers listed on the Nextdoor website. Most of your contact with Nextdoor will be via email and their contact forms on their website. It took me a week or two to get a demo of the product but once that was out of the way things went quickly and I was put into contact with two employees that have been excellent in their support.

At this point I should mention that Nextdoor can be used by residents without the involvement of the municipality. But, our interest from the start was to launch it as a police initiative. Nextdoor for cities is what it is called. Just be aware that residents may already be using Nextdoor. Not a big deal but it may affect your neighborhood boundaries.

If you’re going to get this project off to a strong start you really want to pull out a map and work with Nextdoor to get the neighborhoods divided up. There’s no GIS wizardry required here and we were able to send them a map that we marked up with a Sharpie. You may find that there are some existing neighborhoods defined by residents and Nextdoor will be hesitant to change them without the consent of the person that created it, so be prepared. Dividing up neighborhoods isn’t as easy as it seems. Some neighborhoods are painless to identify because the streets and geography already provide good boundaries. Other areas on your map may not be so clear cut. The end goal should be neighborhoods with 100-1000 households.

Once the map is completed, it’s time to recruit members to act as founders. Founders are the folks that will get their neighborhood off the ground by inviting people to join the neighborhood on Nextdoor. How you find your founders depends on the agency. In our case we used our strong following on traditional social media to recruit founders successfully. Founding members register and start inviting their neighbors, who in turn, can invite as well once their address is verified. Once a neighborhood is started, it remains in “pilot” mode until a certain amount of verified membership is reached, usually around 10. There is usually a time limit on the pilot stage and if a neighborhood is not launched in a certain amount of time it will revert to being an “unused” neighborhood.

During this process Nextdoor will setup your agency’s “City Page” so you can invite agency members to join and track the progress of your neighborhoods. However, your agency presence on Nextdoor will not be available to you or residents until an official launch. More on that in a moment. While you’re preparing for official launch you will need to spend some time getting residents interested and recruiting founding members. At the same time you can track the progress of the neighborhoods at the Nextdoor site by logging in and viewing the Google map that they embed for you. The map will show you all of your neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in green have launched, brown are pilot and red are unused. Metrics are also available and are updated every night. Data available includes how many members exist in each neighborhood, the number of invites sent out, how much content has been generated by each neighborhood and other helpful statistics. The agency can even export the data to a CSV file. This is what our map looks like, five days prior to the official launch of our city page.

Nextdoor Neighborhoods

Nextdoor Neighborhoods

The last step on the list is official launch. This is where you officially announce to your residents that Nextdoor is available to them. Official launch will usually happen once 30-50% neighborhoods are started. This can be done through traditional press releases, social media and flyers. As I write this we are a few days away from this step.

So far, I’ve described the process but what about the product? Assuming you’ve already grasped the “privacy” aspect of Nextdoor the rest of the product should be familiar as a well designed social media site. What I mean by “well designed” is the layout of the neighborhood websites and the look and feel of the software itself. The user interface is feature rich, attractive, responsive and lightweight. The iOS and Android apps are no different. The overall user experience is very positive without the bloated feel of sites like Facebook.

Each neighborhood website on Nextdoor is where residents can post announcements in different categories, add events, classifieds and even create their own public or private groups. Neighborhoods can post to their neighborhood as well as adjoining neighborhoods. The website also facilitates the upload of pictures and documents. To see how a neighborhood works Nextdoor provides a demo website you can try out. I should also add that email integration is also available. If a resident has email notifications setup they can reply to a post simply by replying to the notification email. City officials can also respond this way.

How does the City Page work? One of the most important points about the City Page I’d like to share is that City Officials can’t see the neighborhood websites. With all the privacy concerns lately we think this is a good thing. That being said, Officials can post messages to one or all neighborhoods and residents are free to engage those posts through comments which the agency can see and respond to.

Agencies are able to add employees as officials on the city page. Each “Official” has a profile that they can make public or private. Once an Official posts from the City Page they are now visible to residents on the City Page “Officials” tab. Officials are also available to receive private messages from both residents and other officials. These messages can be responded to via the website or the users email account used when they registered.

From a police perspective the Nextdoor platform opens up some interesting possibilities in the area of Community Policing with individual neighborhoods. The ability for one or more Officers to focus on individual neighborhoods should be an obvious plus for most agencies.

The City Page isn’t limited to just Law Enforcement agencies and our Town management is very interested in Nextdoor for the same reasons we are.

What about costs? How does Nextdoor make money? Nextdoor is a free service to both residents and your city/town. They have no plans in the future to charge for their service. Their revenue model at this point has not been determined but I think it’s safe to assume that local advertising is a logical long term plan for Nextdoor. For now, Nextdoor has enjoyed plenty of interest and funding from numerous investors and capital venture firms as well as partnerships with some of the largest cities in the United States.

The big question of the day here is, will residents see the value in private social media for their neighborhood? Again, expecting people to add another social media site to their life is a challenge. The only way this will happen effectively is if the product sets itself apart from the competition. We don’t have the answer yet but we are waiting to find out. Early indicators are good though as we are approaching 600 members prior to official launch.

That’s the Nextdoor product overview. I’m sure there will be a lot more interest from Law Enforcement as the product sees expanded adoption nationwide. I’ll be sure to follow up our experiences with Nextdoor in a future post.

Greg is a Police Lieutenant with the Billerica MA Police Department. An 18 year veteran, Greg manages Communications and Technology which includes social media initiatives.



  • I and my buddies ended up reading through the nice guides located on your website and then all of the sudden came up with a terrible feeling I never thanked the web blog owner for those secrets. All the guys appeared to be certainly thrilled to learn them and have now in reality been loving those things. Appreciate your turning out to be very kind and also for obtaining this sort of beneficial subjects most people are really desperate to be aware of. My personal honest regret for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  • I precisely wished to thank you so much all over again. I am not sure what I might have achieved in the absence of the type of thoughts discussed by you about such problem. It was before a frustrating setting in my circumstances, but looking at a expert mode you handled the issue forced me to cry for gladness. Extremely happy for your information and as well , have high hopes you know what a great job you were getting into instructing other individuals thru your web blog. I’m certain you haven’t encountered all of us.

  • yeezy boost says:

    Thank you for each of your efforts on this website. Debby take interest in participating in investigation and it is easy to see why. A lot of people notice all relating to the powerful manner you create very helpful items through this website and therefore attract participation from visitors on the concept then my girl has always been being taught a lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. Your performing a dazzling job.

  • yeezy boost says:

    I wish to convey my respect for your kind-heartedness giving support to men and women that really want assistance with this concept. Your real commitment to passing the message around ended up being surprisingly invaluable and have usually empowered many people like me to attain their endeavors. Your personal important key points indicates this much a person like me and further more to my mates. Many thanks; from everyone of us.

  • Thank you for your own efforts on this web page. My daughter takes pleasure in working on research and it’s really easy to understand why. I know all concerning the compelling tactic you present very helpful thoughts by means of your blog and even increase participation from visitors on this content while our princess is being taught a lot. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You are always conducting a tremendous job.

  • I precisely had to say thanks once more. I’m not certain what I would have gone through in the absence of these suggestions provided by you about that subject matter. It became the depressing issue in my circumstances, nevertheless noticing your well-written strategy you processed it made me to leap for happiness. I’m happier for your support as well as expect you realize what a powerful job you were carrying out educating many others through the use of your web page. I am sure you’ve never encountered any of us.

  • My wife and i were very glad that Michael managed to complete his analysis from the ideas he gained out of the site. It’s not at all simplistic just to continually be making a gift of thoughts that other people may have been making money from. We really figure out we need the writer to thank for this. The illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward blog menu, the friendships your site give support to engender – it is most awesome, and it’s really making our son in addition to our family consider that this idea is cool, and that’s extremely vital. Thank you for the whole thing!

  • I together with my buddies have been following the best items from the website and the sudden got an awful suspicion I never thanked the website owner for those secrets. Most of the boys came so glad to study them and already have pretty much been taking pleasure in these things. Thank you for getting really thoughtful and also for using some outstanding resources most people are really needing to know about. Our own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to sooner.

  • I’m commenting to let you know of the awesome experience my wife’s daughter had studying yuor web blog. She realized plenty of issues, not to mention what it is like to possess a great coaching nature to make other folks easily grasp a number of very confusing topics. You actually did more than our desires. Thank you for producing the necessary, trusted, revealing and as well as fun tips about your topic to Gloria.

  • A lot of thanks for every one of your effort on this site. My niece take interest in carrying out internet research and it is easy to see why. A number of us know all of the dynamic form you offer vital secrets on the web site and as well as welcome response from visitors on this theme then our girl is without a doubt understanding a lot of things. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. Your doing a powerful job.

  • yeezy boost says:

    A lot of thanks for all your labor on this website. My niece really likes setting aside time for investigations and it’s really easy to understand why. My partner and i notice all regarding the compelling manner you deliver good thoughts by means of this web site and as well invigorate participation from other ones on that area while our own daughter is undoubtedly being taught a lot of things. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the year. You’re conducting a great job.

  • yeezy boost says:

    I am also commenting to make you be aware of of the remarkable experience my cousin’s princess experienced reading through your webblog. She realized lots of things, including what it is like to possess an incredible teaching spirit to have the mediocre ones quite simply fully understand chosen multifaceted matters. You undoubtedly did more than our own expected results. Thanks for offering these productive, trustworthy, informative not to mention fun tips about the topic to Mary.

  • jordan retro says:

    I would like to show appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular crisis. After surfing around through the world-wide-web and finding concepts which are not productive, I was thinking my life was gone. Being alive without the approaches to the problems you have fixed through your entire short article is a crucial case, and ones which could have in a wrong way affected my career if I hadn’t encountered your web site. Your own personal skills and kindness in touching the whole lot was very useful. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a step like this. I am able to at this time relish my future. Thank you so much for the professional and result oriented help. I won’t think twice to suggest your blog to anybody who should receive recommendations on this situation.

  • yeezy boost says:

    A lot of thanks for each of your effort on this web site. Kate delights in conducting research and it is easy to understand why. We hear all relating to the lively tactic you give valuable tricks by means of your website and therefore invigorate response from some other people on this idea so our daughter is without question learning a lot of things. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. You’re doing a fabulous job.

  • jordan shoes says:

    I wanted to post you this little bit of remark to give thanks again for all the extraordinary thoughts you have discussed in this article. This is quite pretty generous with you to supply openly what exactly a few people would have offered for sale for an e book in order to make some money on their own, certainly now that you could possibly have done it if you desired. These good ideas additionally acted to provide a great way to comprehend other people online have a similar keenness just like my very own to see way more when it comes to this condition. I am sure there are some more enjoyable times ahead for those who looked at your blog.

  • nike zoom says:

    Needed to create you this little bit of word to give thanks once again over the great thoughts you’ve shared at this time. It has been really particularly open-handed with you to deliver easily what a lot of people might have sold as an ebook in making some money for their own end, most notably now that you could have tried it in the event you decided. The principles as well worked to provide a great way to fully grasp that some people have similar interest just as my very own to figure out a whole lot more when considering this problem. I know there are millions of more pleasurable moments in the future for those who view your site.

  • My spouse and i felt really peaceful that Ervin could do his analysis using the ideas he acquired through the blog. It’s not at all simplistic to just choose to be giving for free procedures many others could have been making money from. And we all fully understand we have the writer to give thanks to for this. Those explanations you made, the easy website navigation, the relationships your site assist to instill – it is mostly terrific, and it is letting our son in addition to our family consider that the subject matter is brilliant, which is really serious. Many thanks for the whole thing!

  • I as well as my guys happened to be going through the great tips and hints found on your website and then then I got an awful suspicion I had not thanked the web blog owner for those strategies. Those young boys happened to be consequently excited to see them and have in effect really been taking pleasure in them. Thanks for actually being so thoughtful as well as for deciding on these kinds of fabulous ideas most people are really wanting to be informed on. Our honest apologies for not saying thanks to earlier.

  • A lot of thanks for your whole effort on this blog. My mum take interest in carrying out investigation and it’s obvious why. All of us learn all about the lively means you provide vital tips and hints via the website and in addition attract response from others about this concept while my daughter is truly discovering a lot of things. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You’re the one carrying out a glorious job.

  • adidas neo says:

    I really wanted to write a small message so as to express gratitude to you for some of the remarkable facts you are posting at this website. My time intensive internet search has finally been recognized with incredibly good know-how to write about with my family and friends. I would express that many of us visitors actually are rather endowed to dwell in a fantastic site with so many wonderful professionals with very helpful plans. I feel really privileged to have encountered your entire web page and look forward to some more brilliant moments reading here. Thanks a lot once more for a lot of things.

  • kyrie shoes says:

    I precisely wished to say thanks all over again. I am not sure what I might have tried in the absence of the actual information contributed by you on my subject matter. It actually was a alarming matter in my circumstances, but being able to view the skilled style you processed that took me to weep over delight. Extremely happier for the assistance and in addition trust you are aware of an amazing job you were accomplishing instructing many others with the aid of your webblog. I am sure you’ve never met all of us.

  • I discovered your weblog web site on google and examine a few of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the very good operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. In search of forward to reading extra from you later on!?

  • Thanks for all your hard work on this site. Betty really likes managing research and it is easy to understand why. My spouse and i know all of the powerful medium you deliver practical guidelines via this web site and as well as welcome participation from other ones on the concept and our girl has always been starting to learn a whole lot. Have fun with the remaining portion of the new year. You’re the one performing a really good job.

  • yeezy shoes says:

    I’m also writing to let you be aware of of the great experience my wife’s girl obtained viewing your web site. She noticed a wide variety of pieces, including what it’s like to possess a marvelous teaching heart to make many more very easily completely grasp specific impossible matters. You actually surpassed our desires. I appreciate you for producing such practical, healthy, explanatory and also fun guidance on this topic to Tanya.

  • Thank you for your whole hard work on this blog. My aunt delights in working on research and it is easy to see why. Almost all learn all concerning the powerful medium you offer helpful ideas by means of the blog and as well as inspire response from other ones on this issue while our daughter is discovering a whole lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You are conducting a fantastic job.

  • I’m just writing to let you be aware of what a helpful encounter my cousin’s daughter experienced viewing your web page. She figured out numerous details, which included how it is like to possess a marvelous giving nature to let many others quite simply gain knowledge of some complicated things. You really did more than visitors’ expectations. Thank you for rendering such interesting, trusted, informative and also unique guidance on that topic to Tanya.

  • I and also my pals appeared to be looking through the nice strategies located on your site and so immediately developed an awful suspicion I had not thanked the blog owner for those secrets. All of the young men happened to be so stimulated to see all of them and already have surely been having fun with those things. Appreciate your truly being well considerate as well as for making a decision on this form of amazing information most people are really desirous to be aware of. Our own honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  • yeezy boost says:

    I am just commenting to make you know what a perfect discovery my princess developed going through your blog. She noticed some pieces, not to mention how it is like to possess an amazing coaching mindset to have certain people just completely grasp various tricky subject matter. You truly surpassed people’s expected results. Many thanks for churning out those good, dependable, edifying and as well as fun thoughts on your topic to Jane.

  • I truly wanted to post a small comment to be able to say thanks to you for these lovely tips and tricks you are sharing here. My prolonged internet lookup has at the end been recognized with reputable content to share with my co-workers. I ‘d repeat that we visitors actually are rather fortunate to be in a fabulous network with so many perfect people with insightful tips. I feel quite blessed to have discovered your website and look forward to so many more thrilling minutes reading here. Thanks once more for a lot of things.

  • I am also writing to make you understand what a helpful experience my wife’s child undergone reading yuor web blog. She mastered such a lot of details, with the inclusion of what it is like to have an incredible giving character to get many others quite simply know a variety of hard to do things. You actually exceeded her desires. Many thanks for producing those necessary, safe, informative and cool guidance on your topic to Gloria.

  • I wish to point out my respect for your kind-heartedness supporting those individuals that need guidance on that topic. Your real commitment to passing the message around had become extraordinarily invaluable and have continuously helped ladies just like me to achieve their dreams. Your own invaluable guideline can mean a great deal a person like me and still more to my fellow workers. Many thanks; from all of us.

  • yeezys says:

    I truly wanted to write a small comment to say thanks to you for all of the nice items you are posting here. My considerable internet search has now been honored with really good tips to exchange with my colleagues. I ‘d repeat that we site visitors actually are very blessed to be in a magnificent community with so many special people with insightful secrets. I feel somewhat privileged to have used your website page and look forward to really more brilliant moments reading here. Thanks once more for everything.

  • yeezy shoes says:

    My spouse and i have been very cheerful that Chris managed to finish off his preliminary research through the precious recommendations he obtained from your own site. It is now and again perplexing to simply happen to be offering points which a number of people could have been selling. So we already know we have got you to appreciate for that. The most important illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward site navigation, the friendships your site aid to promote – it’s got everything spectacular, and it’s really making our son in addition to us understand that theme is enjoyable, which is wonderfully essential. Thanks for all!

  • I wanted to post you the very small remark to help thank you yet again for all the pleasing knowledge you’ve documented on this website. It’s so remarkably open-handed with you to supply openly what exactly numerous people could have offered for an ebook to earn some cash on their own, certainly since you could possibly have tried it if you ever considered necessary. These things also acted as a great way to be aware that other individuals have the same dream similar to my own to understand way more on the topic of this condition. I am sure there are several more pleasurable opportunities ahead for individuals who looked over your website.

Leave a comment