PROPERTY NEWS - Social media has become the go-to platform for communication and connectivity. Many depend on platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook to stay informed.
In certain neighbourhoods, complexes and estates, the community will form groups on social media for the sole purpose of exchanging important information around neighbourhood safety.
Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that these security groups can be incredibly helpful when it comes to security concerns or suspicious activity.
"These groups exist to alert neighbours of potential security risks, such as a nearby break-in or a dangerous con artist who ought to be avoided. The aim is to provide information that will help neighbours put measures in place to guard against the potential threat," Goslett explains.
Fake news and taboo topics
He also cautions homeowners to make sure they're sharing legitimate information. "Don't base your warnings on rumours. Nobody likes fake news and you do not want to create unnecessary panic," says Goslett.
As a rule of thumb across all social media platforms, topics that would naturally aggravate members should also be avoided. "Try not to bring politics or religion into the discussion around neighbourhood safety. You should always try to avoid arguments with other members via the platform. Should a disagreement arise, send a private message and deal with it outside of the forum," Goslett urges.
Stay to the point
Nobody on the group wants to have their phone blowing up with messages from the neighbourhood security group, thinking it is an emergency only to find out that two members are having a conversation unrelated to the group.
"It's not relevant to the group's purpose and it is a sure way to get removed from the group. This will leave you in the dark about what's happening in your neighbourhood. As a result, you may miss important updates and concerns," warns Goslett.
Although the group is a way to connect with the neighbourhood, it should not be used as a platform to get to know the neighbours. "The neighbourhood social media group is for security purposes and not for the sake of gossip and wanting to know what's happening in the neighbours' lives.
"Don't use this platform to talk about unrelated topics as members may become annoyed with the content and decide to mute the group. As a result, should something important be posted, they will not be aware of it," Goslett cautions.
If you are not already part of your neighbourhood security group, speak to your HOA or Body Corporate, or chat to your neighbours to find out if they would be interested in forming one. A resident estate agent might also be willing to set up and manage the security group on the suburb's behalf.
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