SAN JOSE -- San Jose officials expanded the city's social media savvy Tuesday by linking up with Nextdoor, becoming the largest city to use the private neighborhood network to reach out to residents with announcements about city affairs.
Based in San Francisco and launched nationwide in October, Nextdoor provides a platform for residents to communicate with their neighbors in an exclusive closed network in which access and membership is verified by their address. There are 160 neighborhood Nextdoor sites in San Jose and 4,000 nationwide.
Karin Lim, a married 41-year-old mother of an 11-year-old boy, is a founding member of a Nextdoor site for San Jose's Meadowlands community that launched in April. The group has used the site to communicate about neighborhood events such as National Night Out crime-prevention events, as well as simple things like alerting neighbors to a lost dog or seeking advice on a handyman, Lim said.
"It's more suitable for neighborhood communication," Lim said, adding that "it's safe. Only neighbors can get into your Nextdoor page. Their identity is checked."
On Tuesday, Nextdoor and San Jose announced the city will use Nextdoor to communicate directly with its San Jose neighborhood groups. Councilwoman Rose Herrera sent the first Nextdoor message from the City Hall rotunda, announcing a new District 8 Nextdoor page in her east San Jose district.
Her message announced she'll be sending messages about
Of course, for a city that bills itself the Capital of Silicon Valley, social media are nothing new. San Jose already uses social media giants Facebook and Twitter. But Herrera said it doesn't hurt to have more.
"As a city, we're always looking to leverage our resources," Herrera said. "In a city of almost 1 million, communication can be a challenge. My district has 100,000 residents."
The Nextdoor partnership won't cost taxpayers anything, said Chief Executive Officer Nirav Tolia.
"San Jose is really taking a pioneering role," Tolia said. "Our mission at Nextdoor is to use the power of technology to strengthen neighborhoods. Today, we're taking it to another level."
Lim said she hadn't seen Herrera's new message yet, but thought it was probably a good thing to have city leaders involved. So far, message traffic on their site has stayed focused on neighborhood issues and avoided politics, even though the city just had an election in June. Herrera is in a November runoff seeking re-election.
"It sounds like a good thing," Lim said. "It's another way of communicating with the neighbors. That's something I applaud."
So long as city officials don't overdo it, that is.
"Something we share with the neighborhood and the city is don't over-communicate," Lim said. "We don't want to get a message every day."
Contact John Woolfolk at 408-975-9346. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/johnwoolfolk1.