I joined a bunch of landlord groups to subtly manipulate them into being better people

It’s actually kinda working

So, about a year ago I joined a bunch of a landlord groups on Facebook and Nextdoor. I’ve worked diligently to manipulate them into taking pro-tenant actions, and it actually has kind of worked? Here’s the general strategy:

  1. Make some posts detailing how I run my “businesss”1 and ask a few questions.
  2. Establish credibility by earning their trust by posting helpful information.
  3. Politely suggest taking actions that unequivocally benefit the tenant by dressing them up as beneficial to the landlord.

These three steps, of which order matters a lot, have given me a few wins I’d like to share with y’all.

Establishing your credentials by lying

Landlords won’t listen to tenants. In the same way that Republicans won’t seriously engage with Democrats and vice versa. The two roles are viewed as kind of adversarial, so going directly into trying to change their behavior is not a going proposition.

However, all humans listen to people that they think are like themselves. Naturally, we place more weight on people with whom we have a common reference point. This shared reference binds us together, and its through those ties that bind you can persuade effectively. So, the first move was to convince them that I am in fact a landlord2.

So, when the question was posed “do you own a property?” when I applied to join the group, I chose a random 2-flat at the other end of my street and said “yes”.

Asking Questions to get your name out there

When I was still new in the groups, I asked some questions about common landlord issues to win cheap interactions. The exposure of seeing my name in the group and interacting with a few of them was the actual goal. People are much more easily influenced by familiar faces than complete strangers, unless they are paying them (e.g. consultants). Tragically, no one paid me to go on this campaign.

literally every landlord probably has

A week or two of a few questions sprinkled-in is really all that’s needed. Maybe a total of two questions per group. Bonus points in the questions are about common sources of frustration/anger for landlords. People interact more with content that angers them, and our goal is just to get some interactions.

Creating friendly-informative content to establish credibility and gain favor of the landlords

The next phase was a campaign of friendly, helpful, and more importantly strictly factual posts to establish credibility. I spent some time reading the comments of other posts in the group, so I could tailor each post to whatever common misconceptions were being repeated. The more people who could learn something new from my posts, the better.

Notice, there’s not much room to comment from the content of the post. That’s by design. I’m not trying to start a discussion or an argument here. I want people to read the post, smash the like button, and feel a little more informed. Notice the increase in reactions from our beginning questions. The goal is to slowly but steadily build-up reactions and discussions. Don’t come in with too much controversy.

Cashing in the social currency

Then it was time to take the offensive. After reading many posts of landlords asking if they can pre-file eviction paperwork (they can’t) to general posts complaining about tenants cooking in their own apartment, I was ready.

they paid the $1000

I had to resist my urge to respond with “I THINK THE FUCK NOT“. Instead, I calmly laid out an alternative in which this landlord looks like the hero, instead of someone who seriously just asked if they can pre-file an eviction. Ridiculous. However, the appeal to ego worked. Somewhere, some tenant got a $1,000 check. Mission accomplished.

It ain’t much but it’s honest work.

  1. There is no business. I don’t own any real estate. ↩︎
  2. Once again, I am not a landlord. ↩︎
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Luke Data Engineer
Luke A man on a crusade against apathy. I created this website on April Fool's Day 2024, after noticing the sharp uptick in garbage writing on the internet. My day job is as a data something. I also do consulting work for small-business' trying to modernize their data situations and make a buck off them. I write a lot about technology, economics, my own antics, and opinions.  If my writing has entertained, informed, aggravated, or made you reconsider anything, then I consider this blog a fantastic success.

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