Social media is a phrase that has disparate meanings depending on the demographic. While those 60 and older might say email and websites are social mediums, those younger consider these to be otherwise antiquated preferring texting, Facebook and Twitter. For board members and managing agents, social media means one thing: communication—it’s simply a matter of adopting the right approach for the right building.
“The rise of technology is underused in my opinion and none of our buildings use Facebook or other similar sites for communicating,” says Enid Hamelin of Lawrence Properties, a management company in Manhattan. “It depends on the age of the board and age of the residents. And, there are many seniors, who have been living in these buildings for 50 or 60 years, and they need more special attention.”
An Online Presence
While there is no hard data that illuminates the proportion of buildings and homeowner associations in New York City that use social media to communicate, Georgia Barton of Barton Management LLC says that approximately one-third of the buildings in the company’s portfolio use some form of website-based communication. “The primarily communication is via a group email like Yahoo groups,” she says. “We also have segregated email groups for shareholders/unit owners, which excludes tenants/sublets.”
When asked the same question, Alex Kuffel, president of Manhattan-based Pride Property Management Corp., says roughly half of the buildings managed use these communication methods. The majority of websites used convey community announcements, calendar events and newsletters, among others applications. “For the websites, the primary function is as an electronic repository for building information,” says Kuffel. “Building rules, resale applications, sublet forms. Community-wide announcements are best done via email, particularly if they are time sensitive.”
Kuffel says that technological advancements, while successful for many properties, are not the answer for all clients. “In a setting with a diverse demographic group, some of the residents may not be interested in or willing to embrace technological advances thus making multiple forms of distribution necessary.”