7 reasons social media isn’t the best to get to know your neighbours

Social media has become a ubiquitous part of our lives, connecting us with friends, family, and even strangers around the world. It’s undeniably a powerful tool for staying in touch and fostering virtual communities. However, when it comes to getting to know your neighbours, is social media really the best way to go about it?

Let’s take a friendly stroll together through the virtual neighborhood as we explore “Reasons Social Media Isn’t a Good Way to Get to Know Your Neighbors.” While social media has its perks, we’ll uncover the potential pitfalls and limitations it presents when trying to build those meaningful connections with neighbours. They can become more than just people who live near us: they can become our friends or even chosen family.

 #1 Lack of privacy and control over who sees your conversation.

One of the major concerns with using social media groups for neighbourhood communication is the potential lack of privacy. Many people are wary of sharing personal information and activities in a public forum, where it can be accessed by anyone, including those outside the neighbourhood. Let’s not forget the platforms themselves can also potentially “spy” on the conversations! More on that in #7.

#2 Security risks due to popularity of the platforms

Social media platforms can be vulnerable to security breaches, leading to potential risks of theft, fraud, or cyberattacks. Especially when people post highly personal details such as when they leave for vacation, where their kids are playing, or how a dog got out of the yard. Naturally, residents worry about their safety when using such platforms for neighbourhood discussions. Especially if a neighbour isn’t savvy with technology or how people can use information for bad intentions, they may be targets.

#3 Exclusion of neighbours who don’t use social media

Not everyone in the neighbourhood may be active on social media, which can lead to a digital divide! Relying solely on social media groups for communication may exclude those who do not have access to or prefer not to use these platforms. This can make true community communication difficult and leave people out of the conversation. Older residents or those with limited technological skills might find it challenging to navigate and participate in social media groups, leading to a lack of representation and inclusivity.

 #4 Noise and distractions due to too much content

Social media groups can be filled with various posts and discussions, making it challenging to focus on important neighbourhood-related matters. The beauty of neighbourhoods is the diversity of people and lifestyles in it. But it may be hard to keep up with it all when a lot of people are all using one main thread of communication. For some people, they will find this overwhelming and become less engaged with the group.

#5 Disinformation, trolls and cyberbulling is rampant on social media

Social media groups are prone to the spread of misinformation, rumors, and bullying that can quickly circulate. This causes unnecessary pain or confusion among neighbors, and can even lead to in-person disputes and meanness. If a social platform doesn’t need much to verify a person is who they say they are, it also attracts trolls and cyberbullies who disrupt discussions and create a hostile environment. The comfort of anonymity can also embolden people to be racist, sexist, and ableist towards their own neighbours.

#6 Decline in real-life interaction

Over-reliance on digital communication can lead to a decline in face-to-face interactions among neighbours, affecting the sense of community and personal connectedness. “There is a fire at the Jones’s place at the end of the road” might be a good, quick message to put in a group. But it misses out on the details that can only come from face-to-face conversations. “I know Bill and Sally Jones and they will need a place for their dogs to stay.” And it’s in the details of gestures and personal conversations that we develop relationships of trust and caring. Digital communication takes out all the subtilties that are foundational to trust relationships

#7 “Free access” really means selling personal information to advertisers

We often here you can download the app for free, and that is true, but using the app is never free. Technology costs lots of money to develop and lots of money to operate. So social media platforms sell user information to advertisers to make an income. On top of that, they inundate users with advertisements and sponsored content, taking away from the genuine neighbourhood communication experience.


Consider a simple app to help connect with neighbours instead of relying on social media

Overall, while social media groups can offer convenience in connecting neighbours online, these concerns and issues highlight the importance of considering alternative communication methods that prioritize privacy, security, and inclusivity within the neighbourhood. The Good Neighbour App is a great alternative to using social media to connect with neighbours because:

  • Doesn’t rely on algorithms or selling of personal data like points 1, 2 and 7
  • Encourages face-to-face interaction in order to safely add people you truly want to communicate with unlike points 3 and 6
  • Simplifies communication without too many features or giant group threads unlike #4

The Good Neighbour app was created by a team of volunteers who strike the perfect balance between fostering a sense of community belonging and ensuring user privacy. Where intergenerational connectedness is center of its creation. Why not check it out?


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