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Web 2.0, The Land of Opportunity

I had an interesting conversation with Brian Brady yesterday. All of my conversations with Brian have been interesting, lively, enlightening and engaging. We both agree that there are many ways to meet people and build relationships through the internet. I would never make the statement that what works for me is good for every real estate pro who wants a web presence, nor would I suggest that anyone who is not doing the things that I am doing is missing the boat. There are many boats, choose one.

Some would not enjoy posting on a blog every day like I do. I do much more than write a blog. I have a few web sites, a wiki, and belong to at least 20 social networks. I have had internet access in my home since 1991, was one of the first 300 people to sign up for AOL, and participated in social networks when they were bulletin boards and chat rooms. As I explained to Brian none of this is new. (I stopped using AOL after a year when a new product call Netscape navigator 1.0 became available, I received and early beta copy on a floppy disk) I built my first web site in 1996 using navigator Gold 3.0. Did I built the worlds first web site? No, not by a long shot, but I have been at it longer than most and in internet years I am at least a 100 years old.

When I got my very first email account it did not work very well for me because there were not very many people who had email. I used a program called “pine” that was rather crude to say the least. None of my family had email, nor did my friends and neighbors, and neither did my employer. Yet I saw the potential and embraced it. At the time it would not have worked very well in my business.

The picture on this post is an example of participation in a social network and part of a project in the Twin Cities called “Artsy Twin Cities”. For those who have never heard of it Flickr is a social network built around photos, instead of real estate.

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Artsy Twin Cities is the brain child of a local resident who has been photographing public art around the metro area. He saw one of my photos on Flickr and asked if he could add it to his collection. I said yes and joined the group. When I joined a few months ago, there were 12 members. Today there are 45 people who belong to the group and who are submitting photos. The groups founder has started using some of my photos on his blog. I am getting to know people in the group and am enjoying the experience.

I belong to other flickr groups as well, including “The Beauty of St. Paul”, a Twin Cities group, an architecture group and more. I started a group of my own, for pictures of snow and cold. Through these groups I share the photos I take and interact with other members. I met a neighbor through Flickr and she is now following me on Twitter.

Recently I uploaded a picture of my dog to share with my daughter. A week later I got an invite to a group for people with pets named daisy. The group has 30 members from all over the country. The photo I took for another reason is out there working for me every day and helping me meet the people who live in my computer and who may be looking for someone just like me to help them with a real estate transaction.

Most people consider Flickr to be an online photo storage site, it is more than that. As amazing as it may sound real estate is not the only basis for forming a social network, and other agents are not the only people who can be found on social networks. In fact I still question the premise that people outside the real estate industry want to socialize with others interested in real estate. Time will tell.

It all sounds time consuming but the truth is most of the photos are used in my blog posts. In my spare time, when I have spare time, and if I get to do what I want to do, I take pictures. That is how I relax.

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When I sent Brian an invite to connect through Flickr, he did but his immediate response was to send an email that said “show off!”. That is when I knew that Brian understood what I am doing. It is showing off, or maybe show casing my photos which include sets of photos for my listings, and photos that demonstrate my knowledge of St. Paul and of housing styles.

There is more than one way to interact with others and meet them on interent. Pictures can be a powerful form of communication and are social media. Would I ever suggest that all real estate practitioners need to have a Flickr account to succeed on the internet? No I would not, just like I would not say that real estate pro’s need to have a blog to succeed, or be active on Facebook. There are many ways to meet people and to use the interent, we are only limited by time and imagination.

Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Missy Caulk

    March 2, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Sounds like a great conversation and right on. I meet people in a variety of ways. Was on skype last night and that was very engaging. You are unique in that your photo’s speak volumes and tell a story.

  2. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Missy, I use Skype too but not with strangers, just with family, friends and business contacts, but I get what you are saying there are a variety of ways to meet people and what we are comfortable with or know how to do varies.

  3. Kathy Drewien

    March 2, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I got online in 1994: email hosting by cybernet (bought by mindspring) and a website designed using Hotdog, a product of Sausage (which I still use).

    Ahh, the excitement of that first internet connection when someone I did not know met me online and asked about real estate…

    Today, most of the new people in my life are internet connections;clients, real estate professionals and blogging colleagues, folks “in recovery”, other Faith Partners and Stephen Ministers. When we have the opportunity to meet face-to-face we are old friends.

    Generating real estate business from these connections is not the point. My life is richer for knowing and sharing a relationship.

  4. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 9:17 am

    I think the first time I went on the internet was in the late 80’s through the University of Minnesota, I guess I don’t remember. The first PC I ever touched was in 1982 or 83, donated to the computer lab at the college I was attending by IBM. None of us knew what to do with it. LOL

  5. Maureen Francis

    March 2, 2008 at 9:18 am

    You encouraged me to explore flickr further and I have found some great things there. I would love to get into the community aspect of it more. It would be a great excuse to buy a new camera!

  6. Dave Smith

    March 2, 2008 at 9:44 am


    You take pictures?

  7. Brian Brady

    March 2, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Show off!

    Thanks for the input, yesterday, T.

  8. Benn Rosales

    March 2, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Teresa, I had an itch to brag about you the other day and I did, but was reserved because I never know what’s a secret.

  9. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Maureen – most any camera will do the job. 🙂
    Dave – go away the internet is not big enough for both of us.
    Brian – Thanks for letting me show off and input. I enjoyed it very much.
    Benn – I have not idea what you are talking about . . but I am sure I will send you an email and ask.

  10. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    March 2, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Your Flickr group idea is great. Of course, it helps that you take such wonderful pictures.

    What you are saying has more relevance than most people realize. Not only are there a myriad of ways to connect with people via Web 2.0 and social media, what is most effective varies not only by individual, but also by geographic area. Some areas are more wired than others, some areas have vibrant message board communities, some have large Facebook networks, the list goes on. . .

    To use your metaphor– choose a boat!

  11. Eric Bouler

    March 2, 2008 at 11:49 am

    You are right on. The more ways you have to connect is great. If you can tie it in with something you enjoy doing it is just that much better. Photography, internet skills, real estate, and a knowledge of your local town or city is an asset. If you are going to get a camera get something that has a future.

  12. TheRECoach

    March 2, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Well Tboard, it’s obvious by this post that you are more than just a “Twit”, you are a gifted and talented writer, a successful Realtor, and socialite! Really enjoyed the article, you are now on RSS for me. Not sure why you were not before, my loss. See you on “Twitter”. The Coach

  13. Chris Lengquist

    March 2, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    “There are many boats, choose one.”

    This sums it up. A top producer in our office, #2 in fact, still takes 3 hrs a day! to make phone calls. That’s it. His entire lead geneating in 3 hrs a day. No web. No blogging. No mail. But he does it each and every day and he’s really good at it.

  14. Brian Brady

    March 2, 2008 at 1:25 pm


    I’m back for an extended comment; I was rushing off this morning but wanted to acknowledge your good work.

    I so enjoyed that conversation because you understand that social media marketing isn’t new; it’s been happening for 10-15 years. I was quick to judge your efforts and should not have labeled you as a “blogger”; you, Teresa, are a marketer, a Web 2.0 marketer.

    I hate to link in others’ posts but I want to show you a “pre-blogging” local blog:

    This has been around for 7 years, and has 1200 local members. This is exactly the type of forum where Teresa (and I) might have tried to demonstrate local expertise and engaged consumers.

    Thanks, again for a great conversation. This isn’t about “telling people what to do” it’s about exposing them to practical ideas that can jump start their business; you did just that with your Flickr example. Please keep “showing off” T; we’re all learning

  15. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for the emails, and yes I should have linked to my twitter account:

  16. Jennifer Castillo

    March 2, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Teresa, thank you for enlightening me about Flickr. I did not know it was also used for social networking. I thought it was just another place to upload and store photos. I will explore it further.

  17. Ines

    March 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I know this post goes way beyond flickr, but wanted to tell you that I only recently signed up and it was to create a mobile blog – it’s amazing what has transpired in those 2 weeks of opening the accound and uploading photos from my phone. You know I love photographs and your church ones are my favorite.

  18. Teresa Boardman

    March 2, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Ines, also try “blogger” for mobile blogging. I think I have been running mind for a year now. Very easy to use.

  19. Kristal Kraft

    March 2, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Well TRUMP this!

  20. Raj C.

    March 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

    For whatever reason, (age,or simply becuae they haven’t had to) agents have been slow to embrace the various avenues offered by the internet. Flikr should be new to no one with the internet, and even less to those whose business so highly relies on the very medium in which Flickr participates. Fortunately for home buyers, the geeks have rode in on their white Segways and we’ve seen a proliferation real estate companies like Trulia, Movoto, and Neighborcity using a lot more than picture to change the way homes are sold. No business is exempt from web 2.0 and while there may be many boats, there might be just one river.

  21. Cape Cod Investments

    May 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    I was also one of the first people on AOL….i forget what that very first publicly released AOL version was though. As for “pine” that you used for email….i remember I used pine in college about 4 years ago with a unix based system. I was wondering if this is the same “pine” we were talking about.

  22. Sue

    June 3, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I am amazed at your background and how you seem to pick up on things early on. You are obviously a very innovative, curious and recognize potential when you see it. I have to investigate flickr because I LOVE the photo aspect myself and totally relate to you in that its relaxing and fun…anything artsy. Thanks for the info on how things just blossom…social networking is still somewhat new to me, so its helpful.

  23. Ann Cummings

    June 5, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Teresa – thanks for sending me to this post. I now “get it” – didn’t realize flickr was far more than just picture storage.

    Thanks again!!

  24. Sue

    June 21, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    “Well Tboard, it’s obvious by this post that you are more than just a “Twit”….”

    Forgive me fo this post that adds nothing other than I found my way back here and this made me laugh….hey, got to have fun, right?!!

  25. Sue

    June 21, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    ugh the typo, I’ve had a glass of wine.

  26. Matt Hellman

    July 18, 2008 at 9:23 am

    That’s a great picture. Flikr is great.

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