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Taking Your Community Online

Thursday, 14th June 2012

Your building community may have already taken the big leap to online communications but if not, here are some tips for starting and maintaining an online community of neighbours.

There are a range of social media portals such as Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and others that are useful and, more importantly, are free. However, if you want to set up a community page for your building and facilitate discussions LinkedIn in one of the best and easiest portals to use.

For those who are unfamiliar with LinkedIn it is the world's largest professional network with over 100 million users, and its membership numbers continue to grow rapidly due to it's increasing popularity. It works by connecting professionals to business contacts, and assists businesses and individuals to exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of personalities.

However, it doesn't just work for professionals wishing to connect. It can also connect communities via its 'Groups' section, which is great for those wanting to establish and online community for their strata scheme.

In today's world where people go home and shut their doors, potentially never meeting the neighbours, portals such as LinkedIn can assist in bringing people together and overcome whatever physical or social barriers that exist, preventing people from actually meeting in person.

Simple to use, the Groups section allows people to exchange information and ideas. It is essential though to have at least one moderator, but a few is even better, to ensure that the people who have a genuine interest are accepted to the group and it ensures the discussions are appropriate.

As with all online social media, there are certain etiquettes that should be followed. Apart from those rules prescribed by LinkedIn, if you do start a Group for your building, you should also establish ground rules within the group.

Online is not the place to air grievances or for personal attacks. Remember anything published online that is considered offensive or derogatory could be subject to legal action including defamation.

Once the ground rules are established the online community can be a great way of connecting people - owner/occupiers, investors and tenants - and keeping them up-to-date on things happening in the building or even in the local community. For people who are new to the building it can be a way of making them feel welcome.

For those interested in what is happening within the strata industry, Strata Community Australia has created a LinkedIn group that encourages professionals in the strata industry from around the country to communicate and exchange ideas and information.

If you would like to join the LinkedIn group, search Strata Community Australia under the Groups tab and join in the discussions or contribute your own.

If your building does not have a sense of community then you could be just one or two clicks away from that changing.

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