Neighbourhood groups on social media have become the modern solution to face-to-face interactions with our neighbours.
“Neighbourhood groups can either be an incredibly useful source of information that foster a true sense of community, or an equally destructive source of trivial chit-chat that breeds hatred and division.
“Whoever manages the group ought to set up and enforce a strict rules of engagement policy which all users need to read and agree to before joining the group,” said Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of Remax Southern Africa.
Goslett said that homeowners interact with their neighbourhood group in a similar way to how they might interact with a community notice board at a public library or hall.
“If you apply the same kind of rules of engagement to neighbourhood groups as you do to physical notice boards, you lower the risks to your personal safety and decrease the possibility of causing conflict among your neighbours,” he said.
Below he outlined the three things that homeowners should try and avoid posting on these groups.
“No matter how tightly managed entry to these groups may be, it is never wise to share your personal details in a group forum.
“It is better to share things like cell phone numbers, bank details, and any other personal details via a direct message than posting it in a comment for all to see.
“Similarly, rather than announcing your vacation plans to the group, approach just one trustworthy neighbour to keep an eye out on your home while you’re away,” Goslett said.
“Neighbourhood groups exist to share information that you think your neighbours might find useful and relevant.
“However, it can be tricky to decide what ‘useful’ and ‘relevant’ means to each of your neighbours.
“To avoid conflict, do not share content that might spark debate or conflict. Politics and religion therefore ought to be avoided, as well as conspiracy theories and other controversial topics,” Goslett said.
“Before sharing anything on the group, be sure that it comes from a reliable source,” he said.
“Fake news is becoming more and more prominent on social media these days and the last thing you would want is to spread panic in your suburb based on incorrect facts.”