Greg Swann had a really great point in this week’s Odysseus post regarding being able to answer questions in relation to your value. Hardcore criticism in a blog can do that- “practice you” per se, but does it really? Sure, if the goal post isn’t a transient target. So I wanted to write this to take Greg’s point one step further and I hope, beyond.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading post after post regarding many issues around the blog-o-whatever, and honestly, there isn’t much original thought out there. Most of them are attacks on folks (indirectly of course) that set a comment section on fire. It is a lot of fun to do, and yeah, we’re all guilty of it in some fashion, but not nearly on the level some are doing this.
Writing a post attacking something that people are passionate about is very likely going to get you attention- no names are mentioned, the statements are broad and generalized, and explode much like a verbal pipe bomb. They cut people in so many directions that defending yourself is futile. You’re going to be hit if you’re in the line of fire. How is this a sincere challenge? It isn’t. It no more teaches or instructs, than a swift kick to the face. What is wrong with this method of writing is that there is nothing constructive to gain from it, especially for consumers.
I, for one, am getting really bored of the nameless attacks. I see no real value in educating the ignorant unless the ignorant are willing to hear and understand, and engage realistic solutions. That is what is missing in the blog world and why technology blogs garner so many comments to posts related to How Tos; they’re constructive. They answer a need, a question, and the opportunity to grow in your own interest. I see the overwhelming success of Zillow’s Forums & Wiki and can gather that information is in high demand. Does your blog post answer the demand? Some do. Others do not.
Are you inventing new and innovative technologies for consumers? Are you redesigning a business model from the ground up and offering it up as a solution? Are you spending your day gathering facts that would help another in your profession grow their own business? Are you offering an idea for a product that enhances an industry? Are you evaluating the above for your reader? If your answer is no, then you may want to evaluate whether blogging is for you because flaming the choir is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.
My last thought is this- many flamers hide behind the veil of “blogging for the consumer.” But the consumer doesn’t want chaos, confusion, a verbal fist fight, or anything like that (they have television for that). They want ideas and solutions- they want to be inspired. The Realtors that read you want very much the same. I want to read far out ideas with crazy today solutions- I know I am not alone in my feelings as I’ve had many conversations with peers on this subject.
So, if you’re looking for ideas to write about, here are a few:
- How do we organize and speak to NAR and be heard in a constructive way?
- How do you envision your real estate practice in year 2010?
- Comparing business models and what positives they all have
- Your idea of your value to the consumer
- What are the dangers of RE Forums to consumers (ie. fair housing, facts versus opinions)
How to blog and engage rather than incite:
- Narrow your scope in what you target
- Use facts to base your point, not rhetoric
- Accept arguments and use them to build solution
- Find the middle
- Offer suggestions in regards to a reader’s personal growth
- Never make a comparison that is not based in fact
- Never insult those you claim to be teaching
- Offer a realistic solution in place of destructive observations
- Never speak from both ends
Inspirational things consumers are drawn too:
- The Discovery Channel
- Social Networks & People Talk
- Innovative ideas
There will be a few readers who may be offended by what I’ve said here and that is unfortunate. My intention is to simply raise the bar, even in my own writing. Anyone can criticize anything, that’s easy, the question really is- do you have what it takes to put up solutions even if they may be torn apart? That’s the post readers will engage every single time and just as hot as a flame job.
What inspires you?
August 20, 2007 at 10:20 pm
I totally 100% agree with your point that people want to be inspired — sadly, some people (IMO) don’t ever find true inspiration.
What inspires me? Helping others educate themselves and improve their business/life in the process. Along the same lines — micro finance, which you’ll see me blogging more about in the future on my own blog.
August 20, 2007 at 10:27 pm
That’s awesome, you may lose me at micro finance, but I swear I’m a fan of everything else you ever write!
Thanks for coming by!
August 20, 2007 at 10:53 pm
Microfinance is just empowering entrepreneurs around the world to bring themselves out of poverty through entrepreneurship. Sustainable change — rather than just granting money which will not change anything in the long term.
Check out Kiva.org. I think you’ll love the concept.
August 21, 2007 at 8:19 am
Drew, yes, I’ve seen this and I think it’s awesome. It is a really cool alternitive to charity, very interactive, I love it.
There was something going here in the states much the same, only the loans were larger and there was a profit opportunity. I wasn’t that impressed, but the concept was really neat.
Way to promote a solution…
August 21, 2007 at 2:59 pm
This is the best post I’ve seen in a long time.
What inspires me? I like to learn, and help others learn. Granted, some (maybe much) of what I post doesn’t do that. But I also on occasion just lay myself out there. I want my readers (particularly prospective client readers) to get to know me. Sometimes that entails writing something completely off-topic or frivolous….
August 22, 2007 at 3:50 am
Big Dittos and thanks for the mention.
I am not an internet firestarter and it is not on my to do list. I much prefer your approach of engaging, helping, and raising.
I am inspired by “Yes I can and you can too!” people. Those who go big. Those who do it scared. Those who do it just because it’s right. Those who do it for somebody else.
I am inspired by my husband and my kids. They embody the fullness of life – that is inspiring!
August 23, 2007 at 7:16 am
I think I have a problem. I’m an inspriration junkie. There are *lots* of things I feel passionate about, and when I’m passionate I’m inspired to act. Makes for a busy day!
I’m inspired by Realtor’s stories about how they try to right the wrongs that are done to our customers. We do this by educating through our blogs, right?
I’m inspried by my 84 year old clients who look at every day as a new possibility, have a sense of personal responsibility, have a sense of earning what you receive, use their manners, and take the time to share their wisdom with me.
August 23, 2007 at 12:03 pm
Lisa, you’re so right. You seem to have great perspective in your business and why you’re so successful. There is sometimss a shortage of real human interest stories around the re.net. To me, that is where a Realtors real value is displayed is when they demonstrate just how far they go for their clients. Getting hung up on the politics of real estate just erodes our overall value to the consumer.
August 27, 2007 at 1:00 am
I am inspired by humility and patience in blogging. It’s not hard to tell if a post or comment has been thoughtfully crafted. It’s even easier to tell if a post was written in haste without checking the facts. Knee jerk reactions are everywhere. Too many people seem to be willing to vilify people and companies without the courtesy of placing themselves in that person’s position for even a millisecond.
Forming an opinion is easy. Framing an opinion only takes a little more effort.
I am inspired by passionate thinkers, even those I do not agree with, as long as their passion is genuine. A little grace and humility can go a long way. As you stated we are all “guilty of it in some fashion” and I will certainly admit to my share. It’s the repeat offenders I have to take issue with. Forming an opinion without a complete frame of reference and then launching an attack gets old after a while. When the offender doesn’t take the time to interject a little humility and grace, credibility weakens.
August 27, 2007 at 11:46 am
Well said Michael, I totally agree.
August 27, 2007 at 12:51 pm
Consistently adding value to the conversation through blogging is a long-term strategy that is more difficult to master than just opening a flame war. The payoffs are in being book marked and returned to for a long time to come.
August 27, 2007 at 2:25 pm
This was a refreshing post, as I was getting a bit discouraged over the past week, reading over some of the banter between bloggers bent on getting readership through dagger directed insults disguised as bravado and insight. I prefer the bloggers who look to gain readership through insightful inquiry and educated observation.
September 14, 2007 at 10:15 am
Downside: I have kept my blog mostly vanilla in nature. My ratio for controversy must hover around 1:150. The penalty/result for that is
No comments or reactions are made.
Straight facts can sometimes play as boring and lacking value.
Look at some of the most successful blogs that are outside the real estate space, how many of those straddle “the middle”? None.
I agree with Jay, part of the purpose of my blog is to let potential clients know who I am. I think that if I continue to keep it too conservative that it may come off as robotic which defeats the purpose even moreso.