One of the most prevalent but entirely avoidable sources of friction in any condominium community is poor communication between condominium corporations and their unit owners.
While many corporations have taken positive steps to open the channels of communication by posting paper notices on bulletin boards or circulating a newsletter, few are taking advantage of recent communication trends and the latest technology and tools. Those that are using websites and online tools, however, might find that the results are not as stellar as they had hoped.
Why is this?
Technology itself is not a magical answer. A website, for instance, is not necessarily a more effective tool unless it is specifically designed to improve communication and interactivity amongst its users, and unless people can find a productive use for it. Finding the right type of solution may not be as easy as it sounds.
To develop a plan to maximize the usefulness and effectiveness of your condominium corporation’s online communication efforts, take a crash course in social networking, which plays a big part in the relatively recent concept of "Web 2.0" (which is described at Wikipedia, here). Once you’ve got a grip on the rudimentary concepts, you can begin to brainstorm about how online social networking can be effectively harnessed at your particular community.
There is certainly no shortage of helpful sites on the topic social networking, including this one at Wikipedia. One example of a handy one-stop overview of the most popular concepts and sites is "A Trial Lawyer’s Guide to Social Networking Sites," presented by the Deliberations blog. While this entry was written to give trial lawyers insight into the minds of tech-savvy jurors and is somewhat dated by now, anyone can appreciate the clarity, brevity and organization of the piece and the breadth of the concepts and sites that are discussed.
Investing a few moments to learn about these developments will be worthwhile. If recent trends are any indication, there is no question that social networking concepts and sites will become increasingly popular among condominium residents as a medium through which to:
- share news, documents and ideas;
- organize activities and events;
- enhance owner participation, communication and feedback;
- gauge the pulse and public opinion of the community;
- improve delivery of services; and
- strengthen the bonds of their communities.
If your condominium is experiencing the usual sorts of friction that arise from poor communication, strike a committee to discover, recommend and then implement some of the increasingly popular social networking concepts and tools.
Share your comments and ideas about what works and what doesn’t.
Does your condo have a website? A blog? A Facebook group?