March, 23 2022 Published by South Alberta Chapter - By Shlomo Sharon
The delicate balance of social media in condos: Creating a safe venue for more transparent communities
From the Winter 2022 issue of the CCI South Alberta CCI Review
Almost every condominium corporation has a social media site, which is the domain of the residents. Often, the owners themselves, or sometimes management, initiate this. Some people view it as a positive tool and are very excited about it, while others have concerns.
How can we work with this platform to find a way for owners, residents, boards and management not to be afraid, but to enjoy the benefits it brings?
Set initial goals with social media
An important first step is to define what creating this tool attempts to achieve. Be clear as possible about who should administer the site, not control it, and who should be allowed to participate.
Should the administrators be a mix of non-board owners, a board member and a property manager? Or, should there be another structure for administration? Selecting the right people will prove useful and help to resolve future issues which may arise.
Clarify what the function of social media is in the life of the condominium community. Such a tool can introduce the owners and residents to each other and to the board and management. Some may feel the site should be reserved only for owners, but when management is invited to participate, it could be helpful.
The site can allow owners to take initiative in creating social events, such as dinners, parties, lectures, movie nights, the sale of personal items, etc., which can enhance the social life of a condominium community’s residents.
A safe venue for transparency
A social media forum can also be a venue to express opinions and issues concerning the management of the community. This freedom of expression should never be restricted; however, it is possible to cross the line.
In certain circumstances, where anger and frustration may escalate, it is never justifiable to post an offensive message of foul language, as is sometimes the case. There is no room for such behaviour in a community.
How should residents present their thoughts and ideas on social media without offending people? Differing opinions and concerns are welcome, but in a respectful way. Administrators are primarily responsible for determining if one’s language has gone beyond what is proper and are there to handle troubling situations and diffuse a message’s unwelcome tone.
A proper guideline, which each owner receives, should outline what is acceptable to post on social media. It is essential this guide is updated on an ongoing basis and is clear to avoid any misunderstandings.
The appointed administrators, in turn, should have the authority to delete any offensive postings and also have a set of guidelines themselves to dictate what it deemed “dangerous” and “offensive”. Legal advice may also be suggested. But posting on social media comes with responsibility and freedom; understanding this delicate balance helps avoid any legal dilemmas.
Sometimes, before raising an issue with management, residents might take to social media to voice concerns over maintenance, such as window leaks or balcony repairs, as a way to determine if issues are their responsibility or a common element. Sometimes, they may even voice a concern about management itself.
Managers should be willing to accept that social media is a likely platform where owners and residents discuss such affairs, and that regulating the issue is the priority—not taking apparent criticism to heart. This social platform is restricted to a particular community of which the management company is an integral part. In turn, management should likely participate in a condominium’s social media platform.
Living in a condo brings advantages and challenges. Social media should not serve to offend, but rather be a tool to enhance the lives of owners and residents.
Reprinted with permission: CondoBusiness, Part of the Reminetwork.com; Shlomo Sharon, Wednesday, January 19, 2022, The delicate balance of social media in condos Creating a safe venue for more transparent communities, February 23, 2022, www.reminetwork.com/articles/ delicate-balance-of-social-mediacondos/
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