How Social Media Helped Me Find An Apartment

by Ashok Nayar

Looking for an apartment in NYC isn’t easy.  “No Pets”. Ok, no problem.  “No smokers”.  Ehh, okay, no problem.  “No one under the age of 25”.  Slowly becoming a problem.  “No one who eats in the kitchen, eats meat, sleeps after 12AM, sleeps past 5AM, is okay with 14 roommates, is okay with 5 subways running all day within 10 feet of the windows and can walk up a 15 floor walkup.  It’s good for a workout!”.  Um, yeah.

The permutations and combinations of people’s expectations for roommates are endless.  Lucky you’d be to find an apartment that is being rented out by a compatible roommate, only to find out that the room itself is the size of a closet, requires income to be 100x rent and is in the middle of Long Island

Now the interesting thing here is not that I found an apartment through Facebook, and someone to fill my current share, but rather that the value on both ends is immediate.  Generally speaking, there’s an implied risk involved in finding a place to live, as well as finding someone to live in your place.  On both sides, the uncertainty involved creates a risk that’s mitigated by a deposit; i.e the financial security of the deposit counterbalances the downside that the roommate is a financial flake.

But with the social referral system that is Facebook, things are automatically mitigated.  The implied risk is much lower on both sides.  We assume that if someone is friends with a friend, they would be able to carry their own weight.  This of course can be a dangerous assumption, but is generally true.  And of course, correlation is not causality.  But there is a high correlation there, at least in my personal experience and come July 1st, I guess I’ll find out if I’m right.