Poway residents now have access to a brand new technology that allows individual neighborhoods to stay connected. “Nextdoor is a social network for residents to communicate online with neighbors in a private website designed to build stronger communities,” said Merrilee Boyack, City Council Liaison for the Poway Neighborhood Emergency Corps (PNEC – www.powaynec.com). “Topics of discussion are as varied as local events, school activities, plumber and babysitter recommendations, disaster preparedness, recent crime activity, upcoming garage sales, or even lost pets.”

Launched nationwide in October of 2011, Nextdoor is free for neighborhoods and its residents. Nextdoor’s mission is to use technology to help neighbors build stronger and safer neighborhoods by fostering neighbor-to-neighbor and city-wide communication.

A private, secure password-protected website is created for each neighborhood that wants to participate. Only people who live in that particular neighborhood are permitted to access the site, after verifying their address in one of three ways. In order to join the Nextdoor site for their neighborhood, members must respond to an invitation from an existing Nextdoor member, enter a verification code from a postcard they received at their home address, or provide a credit card with a billing address in the neighborhood.

Once on the site, there are many ways to utilize Nextdoor. “It’s versatile, you can use it to chat, set up meetings, sell your old fridge, get rid of the bookshelves…,” said Boyack. “The City of Poway is participating, [and] will be using their page to post emergency contact information.” In addition, because of feedback from PNEC, the site is adding features to track contact information, special needs and resources, generating text messages in the event of an emergency. All Nextdoor sites include a neighborhood map and directory of residents.

To join in your neighborhood’s site, simply go to www.nextdoor.com and enter in your email and street address.