Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meet Your Neighbors - Online

People are now using social networks to meet their neighbors. creates password protected Web sites for apartment buildings and housing developments, allowing residents to post pictures and profiles of themselves, share information about favorite local restaurants, and complain about maintenance issues within their complex. Each building on the service is overseen by a company representative who logs neighborhood services and restaurants into the sites before it makes its debut. Also, everything but the forum postings are screened for inappropriate content. Managers at one complex asked the owner of LifeAt to discontinue the forum part of the service, since some residents were ranting on them; however, when the forums were removed the residents created their own forum on a Yahoo blog behind the property manager's back, so they decided to keep the forum open so the property managers could be proactive about issues at hand. is a for-profit company based in Manhattan that also operates a social networking service for apartment dwellers. Jared Nissim, the company's founder, runs the site as a sidelight to his primary business, the Lunch Club, which helps strangers meet., with 45,000 members, is a site that studies the role that Web sites can play in strengthening offline social ties. Keith Hampton, the founder, says that people in apartment buildings generally do not pursue social connections with their neighbors because they are young people who move more frequently and are less interested in the people who live near them and more interested in their own social networks. New York is an exception since the availability of housing makes people live in apartment buildings who otherwise would not.

When you strengthen your ties to the community and help others, you build a stronger business.

No comments: