From news to politics to finding that ultimate barbecue recipe or just staying connected to family and friends, social media has become entwined in the fabric of our lives. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that it may come as a surprise to learn that when it comes to the world of co-op and condo communities, social media – whether it be a Facebook group, an Instagram account, or even a Twitter feed – has yet to really reach critical mass. In fact, social media is glaringly absent from communication channels in residential communities. That’s not to say co-op corporations and condominium associations don’t use web-based technologies to communicate; they definitely do – just not the big-name platforms most people take for granted in their individual lives.
Stuart Halper, Vice President of Impact Real Estate Management in New York, attributes the lack of social media in residential community life to its tendency to become a platform for grievances. “It can be harmful to a co-op or condo,” he says. “You don’t want residents airing ‘dirty laundry’ in a forum that anyone can see. There’s always the possibility of a disgruntled owner or shareholder misusing it. And frankly, board members could misuse it as well.”
Michele Schlossberg, a property manager with Gumley Haft, another New York-based management firm, and president of her co-op in Brooklyn, agrees. “In co-op communities, people talk to each other,” but social media is another thing altogether. “Shareholders ruminating on Facebook or Twitter can get pretty ugly pretty quickly,” she says, “[and] misinformation gets disseminated.”
The management pros consulted for this article were generally of the view that the temptation to unload on social media is too great – especially in the rarefied, insular world of a co-op or condo building – to be worth the effort of establishing, maintaining, and moderating official profiles for buildings or associations. Giving residents the opportunity to say online what they wouldn’t (and probably shouldn’t) say in the hallway could quickly set not just a bad precedent, but could also create a toxic atmosphere in the community as a whole.
Buying and Selling
Led Black, a social media consultant in New York, says he has never encountered an official Facebook group for a co-op or condo – but he has seen the platform used in the sales and marketing of co-op and condo units.