What’s the Story?
My Social Media career began when Jim Duncan and Liz Luby spoke in front of an NAR sub-committee about blogging. In their presentation, Jim had pointed out a number of sites where NAR was being lambasted by bloggers who felt that the organization was unresponsive, monolithic, and antiquated.
A light went on for me. As someone who had been active in their local association, their state association , and finally the national association, I knew that one of the challenges faced by all of our leadership was finding out how to find out what the members wanted and needed. And Jim had just demonstrated that all we needed to do to connect with this small group was to start listening.
Since the story here is not about the journey I started on, suffice it to say I got very involved in a new world that has become an integral part of my life. But this paragraph begs the question… What is the story here?
NAR is the Story
Since that time, NAR, at the direction of our leadership, and with the assistance of an incredible and responsive staff, has begun to participate in the Re.Net or Blogosphere, or Blogiverse, or whatever you want to call the circle of social media venues populated by our members.
Some of those steps have been more tentative, and some more asured, but they have all led the organization towards more communication with and from its members. And all of these steps have been dissected, reviewed, and criticized (often without an understanding of all of the ramifications of the organizations thought process and structure). But none of that stopped the association from this forward thinking evolution.
Now the Blogger’s Lounge is a place to be at Mid-Year and Annual Meetings. NAR has a social media marketing director. Social Media programs are held at NAR meetings, and our members are being assisted by the association in finding their way through this new form of consumer contact. Many of those people who were critical of the organization have been invited to speak at NAR events, serve on NAR committees, and provide feedback appropriate to their expertise.
And There’s More
So you might think that these are not matters of great note, and that the association doesn’t really value the input of their members. But not after last Monday.
On Monday June 15, 2009, a volunteer group held ReBarCamp Chicago, an event just like other BarCamps around the country, except this one was held in a venue donated by NAR. NAR did not sponsor the event, nor were they involved in the “unstructure” of this “unconference”. But they did demonstrate how much they valued the group of people that showed up.
During the day, a tour of the facility was offered so that people could see “where the magic happens”. And all day, people were invited to come into a room where their feedback on a possible redesign of Realtor.org was solicited.
At the end of the day, after the ReBarCamp, the CEO of NAR, Dale Stinton came down to talk to the people who remained. Now Dale didn’t need to do that – he’s a really busy man with a plate that is always full. But he came down to engage the people there. Not to pontificate or lecture, but to have a dialogue. And he was a gracious host, as the rest of the staff had been all day, even though this group was a minuscule representation of the total membership of the organization. All it took was for them to want to be heard.
So next time you think that NAR is some faceless monolith, come on back and check out my photo of Dale talking to his new social media acquaintances, at the end of a really busy work day, listening and engaging them on their terms, in an open and collegial manner – and be proud you’re part of an organization like that.