“Next Door” Alert Turns Out Not to be Alert at All

next doorThe neighborhood social media site “Next Door ” allows users in the area to provide several services, including a lost and found, recommendations, classified ads, as well as other general information. Users generate the information which can be very helpful. The site even has “alerts” if there is something urgent. These often involve missing pets or suspicious activity. Many times, these “alerts” have proven useful, reuniting people with their pets, or getting communication going regarding something that seemed unusual in the neighborhood. “Our dog had gotten out of our gate one day,” says Stapleton resident Kristi Dinnebier. “I am part of Next Door, and I received an alert about a dog without a leash that fit my dogs description. I was able to retrieve my dog without having to go to the pound.”

Although the alert system has overall proven worthwhile, on one recent occasion, the alert system simply didn’t seem necessary. “I received an alert through the system that, quite frankly, didn’t seem very urgent,” said resident Luke Elmore. “Basically, it was letting everyone know that they had spotted an orange cone that was left by a road crew earlier in the week, and that people driving on 33rd St. should use caution. He even said he called the non-emergency number.” Others received the alert and were confused as well. “I thought at first it was a practical joke,” said resident Julia Beatty. “But, then I saw the poster’s responses to others, and clearly, he did think it was urgent.” Next Door administrators say they want the content to remain user-generated, but urge others to not respond to posts which seem nonsensical. “The best thing to do is ignore it,” said Next Door administrator Chris Potter. “Even if the person was sincere, replying with long explanations of why it wasn’t urgent doesn’t really help anyone.” Administrators say they expect users to practice “good judgment” when making posts, and more importantly, when reacting to posts.

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