Better, Stronger, Faster! Using Social Media to Build a Better Community

 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.”