By HEATHER WALTERS
Colleton County's largest law enforcement agency is changing the way it communicates with residents on social media.
The Colleton County Sheriff's Office is now using Nextdoor, a social media platform that acts more like a neighborhood for residents, local businesses, and law enforcement agencies. This new social media outlet has replaced the Sheriff's Office Facebook page, which was formerly used as a primary way to communicate information to the public.
"'Nextdoor' is a social media platform where we can work together to build stronger, safer, and happier communities," said Shalane Lowes, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.
Nextdoor is a free social media platform that puts all the benefits of a Neighborhood Watch in an app. Additionally, this platform is also valuable among citizens for being a regional hub regarding exchanging helpful information, goods, and services among neighbors.
"The Sheriff's Office messaging is visible to everyone who's using Nextdoor. Unlike other social media platforms, residents don't have to create an account and then "like or subscribe" to our page to start seeing information," said Lowes.
To use Nextdoor, all county residents have to do is go to the 'Nextdoor' website and verify their home address to join. 'Nextdoor' is designed specifically for public agencies by allowing us to tap into the neighborhoods we service," said Lowes. According to her, the Sheriff's Office can share events and tips with the community, such as giving emergency alerts or notifying them of dangerous situations.
"Thousands of public agencies across the United States use Nextdoor to create stronger communities," she said.
The system uses a mapping feature that lets the Sheriff's Office instantly distribute vital information to core groups of people in specific service areas. "For example, if an incident affects one specific area, Nextdoor allows us to geo-map our safety messaging to alert the citizens in that particular location," said Lowes.
According to Sheriff Hill, Nextdoor also increases communication with the public by giving them better two-way communication.
"We can gain resident feedback by creating interactive polls, increase attendance at events, and inspiring residents to get involved," he said.
Active Social Media Platforms
The Colleton County Sheriff's Office is currently using the following social media platforms to communicate with the public:
• Twitter @ccsocares
• Nextdoor Colleton County Sheriff's Office
• YouTube Colleton County Sheriff's Office
How to join Nextdoor
Colleton County residents can join Nextdoor and verify in a neighborhood if they:
• Rent or own a home
• Own a second home
• Own property where they are planning to build a home
• Own a rental property or business in the neighborhood
• Go to www.nextdoor.com, join your neighborhood, verify your address and confirm your email address.
• You can get Nextdoor on any device by downloading the Nextdoor app on your iPhone, Android, or tablet to get up-to-date information on the go.
If people aren't on social media, how does the CCSO get information out to the public?
According to Lowes, following the Sheriff's Office, social media sites are the quickest way to receive vital information regarding emergency and safety alerts. The CCSO highly recommends citizens become familiar with our social media outlets due to the constant advancement of technology. Additionally, the CCSO uses local media sources to keep the public informed.