Tell A Friend About eNeighbors

Want to tell a friend about eNeighbors? Just complete this form and we’ll email the details to whoever you’d like.

This can be useful if you want eNeighbors in your neighborhood and want to share the idea with your HOA board or other residents. If you don’t know where to find your board’s contact information, try your paper directory. Their information is usually listed in the front of the directory.

If you have a property management company, you might also call them and ask who your board president is so you can email him/her about eNeighbors.

And finally, if you like things on paper, you can print out our PDF brochure to share with others.

The Neighborhood Challenge

Being part of a neighborhood board of directors is a tough job. It’s usually voluntary, so getting that extra effort not only from yourself but from the other board members is a challenge especially since the rewards are only intrinsic in nature.

Anyone that’s ever worked as a project manager knows how difficult it can be to manage a group of people who don’t always see eye to eye on every issue. Additionally, there are a number of community needs that constantly must be met.

I just finished putting together a great outline of these challenges and the corresponding solutions that eNeighbors offers to help conquer these challenges. My hope is that this document will help clarify how valuable the eNeighbors service is to neighborhoods and more specifically managed communities.

Here is the list of challenges addressed in the PDF:

– Communication
– Time Management
– Sense of Community
– Safety Concerns
– Architectural Compliance
– HOA Documentation
– Board Member Turnover
– Privacy of Information
– Community Value

View and download the PDF here

Do you get along with your neighbors?

Neighbors have gotten a bad rap. It seems to me that the perception is people don’t like their neighbors.

But apparently, if you’re like most people, you get along very well with your neighbors, according to a study by Zogby International on “Homeownership and Association Living”.

“An overwhelming majority of association members get along well with their neighbors (86%), and a substantial two out of three (64%) get along very well. Among those who report conflict, pets are the most common source (28%).” -Zogby International*

So why do neighbors get such a bad rap? I think it has to do with your neighbor’s ability to affect your life so dramatically – positively or negatively. If you get the wrong neighbor it can make you seriously consider picking up and moving out of town. On the other hand, the right neighbor can become a good friend, provide a sense of place, or at the very least, someone you trust to watch the dog when you’re on vacation.

In my own experience, I find myself complaining about a neighbor because I don’t or can’t communicate with them. Every single issue that I’ve personally had with a neighbor has been resolved almost instantly when I knock on their door and talk to them.

Communication is critical in any relationship, and that includes the relationships that you have with your neighbors. One of the higher order goals that we have here at eNeighbors is to increase communication in our neighborhoods to make them better places to live, providing those who live there a sense of community. So, whether you get along with your neighbors or not, sign up for eNeighbors today. Who knows, maybe you’ll resolve a conflict or meet a new friend who has a lot in common with you.

*This study was commissioned by Community Associations Institute, a national organization devoted to common interest community research, development, and scholarship.

Association Times

I just ran across a new website (new to me anyway) called Association Times. It looks like a great resource for those of you who sit on a HOA board. This month they cover topics such as:

When you become a board member, no one hands you an instruction manual. Sure, you get a set of bylaws that have a legal definition as to what you’re supposed to do, but that doesn’t help much. In fact, I would argue that it gives new board members the wrong impression about how they can add value to their community.

In my opinion, the number one contribution you can make to your community is to promote a sense of community. How do you do this? Through communication and social activities. Eleanor Hugus, a contributor to Association Times, recommends the use of frequent communication through newsletters, social gatherings, websites, and surveys.

If you’re considering a website for your neighborhood, be sure to check us out.

Neighborhood Transparency

Tom Skiba, the CEO of Community Associations Institute (CAI), posted a great article on neighborhood communication on the CAI blog, Ungated, last month. He highlights a community in Arizona that is making extra efforts to provide effective and clear communications to their residents.

Cottonwood Palo Verde at Sun Lakes is the HOA in question. The HOA spokesperson, Richard Hawkes, states that they will be working with local news publications in addition to their website, weekly flyer, and TV programming in order to deliver on their promise of open communication.

It’s great to see that HOA boards are so open to the next generation of communication tools. This is the same sort of transparency of communication that eNeighbors is promoting with our web-based service. The eNeighbors tool allows for 24/7 communication to and from any member of the community. We encourage open dialogue between residents and the board of directors. In addition, we take the typical website up a notch. Our service is private and secure. Only the residents of the community can view the site and participate.

More about all the eNeighbors features.

Amber Alert

I don’t have an insightful industry post today, but I wanted to highlight one of the features of the eNeighbors service — Bulletins.

Bulletins is a great feature that allows an email message to be sent to the entire neighborhood instantly. Bulletins are most effective for an emergency situation where the entire community needs to be contacted immediately. I compare it to a neighorhood-level Amber Alert. In fact, of there was a case where a child was missing, the Bulletin feature would be the quickest way to alert everyone just like the Amber Alert system.

Find out more about the other eNeigbors features.

Next Net Neighborhoods

I wrote yesterday about how we need to start creating the first online network of neighborhoods and in turn drive the value of local advertising for the businesses in our community. Here are a couple of guys already doing that.

citysquares.com
Ben Saren has created a great locally-based online community centered around Boston. Citysquares.com is a local company that brings together local businesses and their consumers. The philosophy is that you enhance local neighborhoods by strengthening the locally owned businesses. Local businesses are what make our neighborhoods unique. Citysquares.com is focused on providing rich, hyper-local content for urban and suburban communities.

Visit citysquares.com

Front Porch Forum
Based in Vermont, Michael and Valerie Wood-Lewis created Front Porch Forum to help people create healthy and vital community within their neighborhoods. Their mission: common sense and a growing body of research tell us that well-connected neighborhoods are friendlier places to live, with less crime, healthier residents, higher property values, and better service from local government and public utilities.

Visit Front Porch Forum

Why Is eNeighbors Important?

I was thinking about what it is that we do — Why does eNeighbors exist? What are our goals? Why did we create this web application? etc… You get the idea. Here was my conclusion — the most important thing about eNeighbors is that we promote, facilitate and encourage the following:

  1. Open communication
  2. Sense of place in a community
  3. Public safety

The goal of any social network is to create constant communication between its community members. eNeighbors has taken this concept and pushed it even further. Our goal is to get our users (neighbors) to interact with each other “offline” in the real world.

This interaction of online community members in the offline world is known as blended networking. One of the reasons MySpace has been so successful is that when it first started, it’s original members were drawn together by the music scene. Fans would connect online and then join up at concerts in person. This activity helped build a great sense of place around their favorite bands.

eNeighbors can accomplish this exact same scenario, but rather than a band being the central point of interest, your neighborhood is the primary focus. eNeighbors creates a great sense of place within your community by fostering constant communication and openness in resident conversations not only with each other but also with the board of directors.

The great thing about all this open communication is that it helps to build a safe environment for you and your family. Everyone in the community is informed about what’s going on, and the social awareness is very high. Additionally, in case of an emergency, you are able to instantly alert the entire community.

At the end of the day, we all want to live in a great location with high property values, low crime and good schools. At eNeighbors, we are doing our best to make this happen in your community. After all, we want the same thing for our families.

Learn how to get your neighborhood online with eNeighbors

The Future of Social Networking

Over the weekend, I came across a great article on CNET written by Paul Lamb last fall. He comments on the current social networking space and points out that it is primarily targeted to the teen and twentysomething crowd. But what about the older more low-tech people who are now on the internet? Paul asks the following:

What would a world look like where the best of social-networking tools were put to use in “average” communities and for the larger social good?

His first example — neighborhood social networking.

Social networks are great for getting people connected online and joining disparate groups through common interests and activities, but ultimately, we are social beings. We like to see, touch and interact directly with other human beings.

Social networking is still in its nascent stage, and we can only assume that as the paradigm begins to shift and mature, these social networks will start to adjust to accommodate real-life interactions. As Paul says, a look in the eye and a handshake will tell you a lot more about a person than a text message or a generic online profile.

Visit eNeighbors.com to see our first step towards something better for social networks.

Baby Boomers vs. The Internet

Fact #1:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000, the majority of homeowners are between the ages of 35 and 55.

Fact #2:

eNeighbors sells an online communication service that serves as private social network and communication tool for managed communities and neighborhoods.

Conclusion:

This would lead one to believe that the primary audience for the eNeighbors web service is the baby boomers since they make up the majority of the residents living in most neighborhoods.

Now we all know that this particular generation has a varied mix of tech savviness. For example, my parents couldn’t tell you what a social network is let alone why they would want one. On the other hand, most of the top tech companies where founded and are now operated by this same generation.

So, how do you market to this audience? Great question.

The answer is: We don’t know.

Seth Godin touches on this dilemma on his blog today. His summation is essentially that psychographics are more important than demographics when it comes to this audience. I would agree. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they don’t get it. eNeighbors is banking on this fact.

So far, all I can tell you is that people love being social (even the old ones). As broadband penetration keeps growing and the older generation gets more comfortable with technology, they’ll want to stay in touch. Especially within their local offline community.

That’s when eNeighbors will be there for them.