Page 10 - CooperatorNews Chicagoland Winter 2022
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Since 1906  under discussion by the board, we will bring  to a restaurant, or buy a product online, you   new matters to their attention.” And while  will always be asked to leave a review.”  Goodman’s company doesn’t currently use   social media for communications with cli-  ent buildings, she acknowledges, “that could  building and then goes onto a commentary   change in the future.”   In the writer’s own building, a 54-unit  amazing their new community is. Howev-  co-op in Upper Manhattan, New York, with  er, he says, “if folks are unsatisfied with the   a large community garden in back of the  place, they will use social media commen-  building, communications are even more  tary platforms to complain. So most of the   basic; there’s an old-fashioned cork bulletin  time, it’s negative commentary. And that’s a   board in the hallway that leads to the garden.  problem, because it’s unfair and the sponsor   If anyone has a message about anything for  or developer is unable to respond or react.”  their neighbors, including using the back-  yard for a private event, it gets prominently   posted there in bright, bold magic marker.  Zachary Kestenbaum  is  CEO  of  the  marker notes thumbtacked to a cork board   aforementioned BuildingLink, a company  in the hallway? Yes.  that provides many forms of computer and   smartphone-based community and man-  agement apps for multifamily properties,  ties with a way to communicate electronical-  including  co-ops,  condos, and HOAs.   He says he has come   across buildings and   associations  that  have  tried popular   social media plat-  forms like Facebook   and Instagram as   tools for communi-  ty-building. Accord-  ing to him, these   efforts usually take   the form of private   Facebook  groups,  but “they don’t work   for several reasons.   First of all, it’s a   separate  platform  that’s not integrated into the life of the com-  munity, so there’s very little engagement—a  teresting thing that occurred during COVID   low level of participation and community  was that in many buildings, residents used   penetration. Second, these forums are free-  form and not moderated, so anything can  things like doing grocery runs for high-risk   get posted—and that’s a minefield. Groups  neighbors, or to raise money for sick staff   form that can cause conflict within the com-  munity, or make existing conflicts worse. It  to second homes during the initial wave of   devolves quickly into a situation that’s not  the pandemic even offered their apartments   representative of the community as a whole,  to neighbors for quarantining.”  and people get turned off.”  Where Real Estate & Social Media Meet  Where do the worlds of real estate and  ly—to supplement the virtual bulletin board   social media interact? Josh Schuster, founder  with general news and updates. The bulletin   and managing principal of Silverback De-  velopment, a New York-based property de-  veloper of residential and mixed-use prop-  erties,  including condominiums, has  had  events for residents to see and RSVP for at-  considerable experience trying to integrate  tendance. By addressing specific functional-  the two in his business.  “Social media is a broad term,” he says.  chat  boards or private  groups, “these  plat-  “For many people, three names come to  forms short-circuit the nastiness social me-  mind when one mentions social media:  dia is so well known for,” says Kestenbaum.  Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. But we   also have social media in terms of commen-  tary. We live in an age of storytelling.  Yelp,  services ranging from virtual doormen to   Google, Tripadvisor are good examples of  maintenance and billing services for residen-  this. Today, everyone thinks their opinion is   important. Platforms serve as bullhorns for   users, and everyone today wants to be heard   and praised at an amplified level. If you go   Schuster explains that in the world of   residential real estate, no one buys into a   platform to proclaim how wonderful and   Viable Alternatives  Is there something in between scathing   reviews and gossipy posts online and magic-  Kestenbaum explains that companies like   his have alternatives that provide communi-  ly while sidestepping many of the drawbacks   of the big social me-  dia  platforms.  “For   example,” he says,   “we have a module   that’s part of Build-  ingLink’s  product  that  has multiple   features,  includ-  ing a bulletin board   that  every resident   has digital access to.   They can post items   there—looking for a   babysitter, or selling   a  couch,  say—and   it’s  fully  moderated   by the building’s   managing agent for   appropriate behavior and content. One in-  the bulletin board to help each other out with   members. Some residents who had relocated   The company’s services also include   email and newsletters—usually sent month-  board is more real time. In terms of commu-  nity-building, BuildingLink has a calendar   feature where property managers can put up   ity needs and steering clear of open-forum   According to Neil Golub, director of sales   for Carson Living, Inc., a provider of online   CO-OPS, CONDOS...  continued from page 1  “There should always   be a marketplace to   post items for sale and   a space for announcing   community events. It   should be monitored, and   must never turn into a   gripe board.”                              — Neil Golub

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