New social network allows neighbors to connect, share info

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PITTSBURGH —

Neighbors are staying connected via a new social network without ever leaving their homes.

On Thursday, the city announced a new partnership with a private social network for neighborhoods called Nextdoor.

There are already about 67 communities in Pittsburgh logged on. Dave Schuilenburg, of Nextdoor Summer Hill, showed Channel 11’s Vince Sims how he’s putting the site to good use.

“One of the telephone poles got knocked down by a truck that crashed into it. We, being limited in accessibility from Mt. Pleasant Road and Ivory Avenue, were able to put on Nextdoor that it was closed down for half a day while they repaired the pole,” Schuilenburg said.

City departments and police will be able to send alerts to specific neighborhoods or citywide. However, they won’t be able to read neighborhood posts.

“Use it if you’re trying to find the name of a great babysitter or handyman, or personal things like trying to find a lost family pet. You can also use it for more critical things like reporting a rash of break-ins in the community,” co-founder Sarah Leary said.

Only people living in the neighborhood can join the group after verifying their address. No fake identities will be allowed.

“What we see is a high degree of civility on these neighborhood websites because you are accountable for what you say. We do provide tools to flag posts,” Leary said.

The founder of Nextdoor Homewood, Lucille Prater-Holliday, praised the tool.

“It builds relationships among neighbors. It lets you know who is in the community and the different needs of the people in the community. It brings the community closer together,” Prater-Holliday said.