February 2011

We are in the last days of the few holdouts who refuse to use computers. Many people who scoffed at e-mail now find it the primary method for communication in both their business and personal lives. Many of those same people probably did a lot of their Christmas shopping online. And who doesn’t Google for answers almost daily?

As new technology evolves and we become more comfortable with it, our methods of communication continue to evolve as well. Six years ago, when my daughter first went to college, I learned about a website that had originally been created just for college students to connect with friends and classmates. Facebook at that time had just opened its parameters to also include high school students. We all know what happened with this new form of communication—it grew to include people of all ages and today has hundreds of millions of followers.

 It seems we all like to communicate in this non-face-to-face way. It certainly has its advantages. Whether social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will have staying power—or are even actually good things for us socially—remains to be seen. There is, however, a lesson we can learn from this phenomenon—the Internet provides a great source of communication, which includes community associations.

Baldwin Park in Orlando and Clearwater Key South Beach IV in Clearwater can attest to the power of community websites. These two associations are the 2010 Communities of Excellence winners in the Best Website and Internet Communication category. Their innovative website content and use of e-mail alerts to keep residents informed will be beneficial for other communities as well. A detailed account can be found in our feature article beginning on page six.

Taking advantage of new technologies to keep residents informed and connected can save all board members and managers both time and labor. Plus it may provide the added benefit of a unified, well-informed community.

One last word about websites, if you are looking for information about board meetings, elections, vendors, or other information about community association living and management, visit our website at www.flcaj.com. We are continually updating it to better and more easily serve our readers.