02/22/2013 | by

The other day my youngest daughter, Peyton, lost her first tooth. To a 6-year-old, this is an important rite of passage. It signifies that you are no longer a baby, but also hints at the fact that our bodies are not permanent. It means a sudden cash windfall, but also that you have invited a previously unseen magical winged fairy into your bedroom while you sleep. Heavy stuff.

And Peyton’s tooth was one for the ages. It was hanging to her gum like Leonardo DiCaprio on the edge of the raft at the end of “Titanic.” By the time she allowed her mom to wiggle it free, the new tooth had already moved in and was repainting the walls.

After she was all cleaned up, I had her pose for the requisite gap-toothed photo to commemorate the event. Because our extended family members all live in other states, I posted the photo to Facebook. Within minutes well wishes poured in from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and even people she has never met. Peyton knew that even if grandma couldn’t be there, she was still connected to her.

Social media is a key tool in building a sense of community.

The ability to share life’s important (and not so important) moments with friends and family no matter where they are is what makes social media such a powerful forum. Likewise, the use of social media as a business tool is becoming more widespread.

REITs are not posting pictures of their kids, but they are highlighting apartments available for rent, sales at retail centers and travel deals at hotels. Social media has allowed real estate companies to communicate with customers and employees in a more immediate and direct fashion. For companies whose target audiences can span the country or even the globe, building that sense of community is invaluable.

Here at NAREIT we also believe social media is a key tool in building a sense of community within our industry. Whether it is staying abreast of the latest industry news on Twitter or joining in a discussion on NAREIT’s Corporate Member Forum or LinkedIn, the ability for all of us to stay connected and informed throughout the year is now easier than ever. And an engaged, informed community is something we can all smile about.

Matthew Bechard
Editor in Chief