At a Hofstra University breakfast symposium Tuesday, attendees typed furtively on their BlackBerrys, almost under the tablecloth, and others had their PDAs out in the open, placed where their breakfast plates had been.
It's a fitting activity for the symposium topic -- how social media is a must in this digital age for real estate developers and how AvalonBay's proposal in Huntington Station was defeated after opponents spread their message and organized through Facebook.
"It is everything today," panelist and state Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick) told the 170 attendees, many of them developers. "It is the way people decide to communicate to each other."
To prove it, he turned to the other panelists, saying he checked their Facebook pages.
"Adam, you have 12,000 friends." Adam Isserlis, director of digital media at Rubenstein Associates public relations firm, smiled as the crowd of 170-plus attendees laughed. "Mitch, you went to Kabul in 2009 and rented a house," Fuschillo said. Mitchell Rechler, managing partner of Rechler Equity Partners, nodded.
Social media was billed as a way for developers to combat misinformation and get their points across to thousands of people at once and also to build relationships by conversing one-on-one with strangers.