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The New App to Connect with Neighbors

Jan 28, 2016 11:35AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Elizabeth Suggs | Elizabeth.s@mycityjournals.com

Sugar House - If ever you have ever wished to get the word out about a “lost dog” on anything other than paper, or if you have wished to warn others in your neighborhood, especially those you don’t know, about a thief on the loose, then the Nextdoor App might be for you. 

Launched in October 2011, the Nextdoor app is a social network for you and your neighbors to connect safely and privately. With about 14,000 different neighborhoods connected across the United States, Nextdoor is adding an additional 60 to 80 neighborhoods each day, according to co-founder and marketing VP Sarah Leary. 

“There was a lost dog posted by a neighbor,” Mary Amanda Fairchild, Sugar House resident, said. “I saw the post. Called her. Picked up the dog and took it to the vet. The dog was then chipped and taken home to a very, very happy dad within an hour.” 

Fairchild ran the neighborhood watch, but according to her, Nextdoor makes the neighborhood watch much easier and faster to reach to neighbors “when something needs attention.” 

She has also helped pinpoint a “bad guy” online. 

“[He] was in the alleyway.” Fairchild said. “After posting about it online, we all went out and scared him off.” 

While the app helps pinpoint “wrong-doers” or just helps others keep in contact with one another, it does pose a potential risk for those out there looking for personal information. One reviewer, Larry Hearn, complained the app was asking for too much personal information, some of which included social security number and credit card access information. 

However, when others downloaded the app, neither a social security number nor a credit card were asked. What is concerning to some is address information, as well as any other information, a user willingly puts up on the Nextdoor app. 

Nextdoor is a way of bringing the community back to when everyone knew where everyone lived, and while the idea of personal information online, especially your exact address, is scary, because of Nextdoor’s privacy controls, the app doesn’t allow any other neighborhood or site to look at that particular neighborhood’s information or messages. 

When downloaded, the app does have access to your phone device and files, photo and media on the device, as well as the ability to modify different segments of the files. 

On the one hand, that, along with the display of your address, may be too much for some users, other users like Fairchild care more about what the app has done and who it’s brought together rather than what dangers it might pose. 

And on the other hand, to be willing enough to put up certain aspects of your life for the neighborhood can bring about a closer community, like it has for Kathy Gregersen, another Nextdoor app user. 

“Not only has our neighborhood used Nextdoor to watch for lost/found pets and to set up a watch when delivery trucks are in the neighborhood, but we have organized activities. A fun walk/run Thanksgiving morning, and we went Christmas caroling on Saturday,” Gregersen said on Nextdoor’s Facebook page.

Search for Nextdoor.com or go to an app store to download the free app

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