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RE-bloggers Are The Best

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There have been times when I have found it annoying or have sheep hurled at me.   After a few years of writing a blog I have met many in the real estate industry.  They all live in my computer, but I get to meet a few every year.  When I meet them it is like meeting old friends.  Like we have known each other for many years.  There is no awkwardness and conversation comes easily.  We also discovered that we have much in common.

The picture is of “GotBob”, Bob Carney and was taken by the lovely Kim Wood, in Harrisburg Pennsylvania last week where I spoke at the Pennsylvania board of Realtors annual business meeting.  I have known Bob, or “got” as I like to call him for a couple of years but until last week we had never met in person.  I met Kim Wood a few months ago on the internet and came to know her better through our short conversations on Twitter.  Both are active in numerous social networks, and in their own communities, and both have real estate blogs.

There is a back story here that is too long to tell but I got to hurl a lightening bolt at Bob Carney.  He did deserve the lightening bolt and more.  Kim Wood and I spent a wonderful afternoon together touring the Hershey Park PA.  It is amazing how many things Kim and I have in common.  I enjoyed every moment I spent with her.

I just want to say how wonderful it is to be able to go places where I have never been before and see familiar faces and instantly feel at home.  Bob even helped with part of my presentation. It was wonderful to have them both right up in the front row, they were the only two people in the room that I knew.

If any of our readers visit the Twin Cities area in Minnesota please don’t hesitate to give me a call, send a tweet or an email. I love meeting the people who live inside of my computer. I guess I don’t mind having sheep thrown at me either.  Meeting clients or colleagues through the internet is a valid way of forming  solid relationships, and friendships.  Take the time to join a social network and throw something at someone today.

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

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49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. Chris Griffith

    June 7, 2008 at 11:05 am

    GotBob is one of my favorite peeps. I got to meet him in DC and it was a thrill. He’s just as fun outside of our computers as he is inside of them.

  2. Maureen Francis

    June 7, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I am looking forward to finally meeting you in July.

  3. Bill Lublin

    June 7, 2008 at 11:43 am

    @GotBob & @CGriffith are a hoot and a holler (though I’m not sure which is which) we got to meet in DC at NAR Mid-Year
    @TBoard & @KimWood are both lucky they got to meet F2F. And such friendly faces too.
    @TBoard better watch out though – next time you’re in Pennsylvania I will have to be part of that party! Or maybe at NAR in Orlando? Or Connect? (I’m looking at standing my schedule on its head – More to meet those peeps then becauseof the conference)
    Pennsylvania was happy you were here, and sad that you’re gone. ;-(

  4. Faina Sechzer

    June 7, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Teresa, we got to meet briefly in New York and then more on Twitter. I spoke to Kim on the phone only a short time after meeting her on Twitter. She was as wonderful in person, as she is on Twitter. I hope to meet more of my “computer” people.

  5. Mack in Atlanta

    June 7, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    One of the additional benefits of meeting and conversing with so many quality individuals is I feel as though I know the professionals that I am sending my referrals to.

  6. Teresa Boardman

    June 7, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Maureen – me too. 🙂

  7. Paula Henry

    June 7, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    T – I am going to make the trip to St. Paul some day soon to meet you.
    Everyone I have met outside of my computer has been exactly as I expected them to be. It’s kinda fun and really cool. A year and a half ago, I would have had to search for a referral, probably through the ReMax website – now – I know good Realtors I trust across the country. Amazing!

  8. Ricardo Bueno

    June 8, 2008 at 12:15 am

    “When I meet them it is like meeting old friends.” — T.B.

    Ssooo true! It’s a pretty cool feeling isn’t it? I’ve had the chance to meet several great bloggers in my area (I’m from Los Angeles, CA) and I’ve also had the chance to meet a few in Las Vegas… It’s never awkward, weird or anything like that…. It’s more like “Wow! Hey…” and there’s lots to talk about 😀

  9. Eric Blackwell

    June 8, 2008 at 4:01 am

    “When I meet them it is like meeting old friends.” — T.B.

    The authenticity factor is huge. I met a couple of online friends last year in Atlanta, I was amazed that it was so easy to get to know them–because I already did.

    I’d throw out an invite to anyone heading Louisvilles way as well, Like you, Theresa…I love to meet the people inside my computer.

    Eric

  10. Kim Wood

    June 8, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Fun times… fun times.

    We recognized one another quickly… I even saw Bob from the side and GOTBOB ! ‘T’ came walking up and conversation flowed like we were ole (not old!) pals.

    Thanks for the laughs ‘T’ ! Glad your lighting bolt left Bob unharmed – I like him 🙂

  11. Missy Caulk

    June 8, 2008 at 6:15 am

    I followed your meet up with Kim from photos on Twitter. It is amazing how you fell right at home with people you have communicated with on line. I’m looking forward to meeting you and many others at ReBar and Inman.

  12. Barry Cunningham

    June 8, 2008 at 10:01 am

    It’s fun of course meeting people and getting to know each other but in the networking for business realm is anyone transacting any business or is this more of the social “get to to know you” aspect of things?

    I’d really like to know if those of you who have had the good fortune of putting a face to the keyboard handle have been able to extend beyond the cordialities and actually conduct business amongst your new found friends.

    That would seem to be of some importance. What say you? Are you not looking to actually generate revenue from your “business” relationships or is all of this merely the new millenium’s version of the pen pal?

  13. Benn Rosales

    June 8, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I can only speak for myself, but I get 2/3 referrals every month from my net contacts, and have partnered with a national investment coop for over 2.4 million (roughly 200k per unit) in transactions in 4th Q 07 and 1st Q 08, and scheduled do more throughout 08 into 09.

  14. Teresa Boardman

    June 8, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Barry – yes I have been fortunate enough to get business through my online contacts. I guess I don’t look at it that way. I can never have enough friends or know enough people. I am so lucky that I know Bob and Kim, they made my trip to Harrisburg so enjoyable. I never really know where a relationship is going to take me. Sometimes I think I am meant to help someone so that is what our relationship is about. Other times I need help, advice or ideas and I can always find someone out there who will lend me a hand. In general I am social and I look at every relationship as an opportunity and it isn’t about money.

  15. Kim Wood

    June 8, 2008 at 10:49 am

    In response to Barry…. I can say that with our online relationships, which yes, is social, along comes the business relationship. I feel like I “know” people from all over the country. You say Ann Arbor, MI – I say Missy Caulk (and some others :)…. you say St Paul, MN – I say Teresa Boardman… you say Bonita Springs, FL – I say Chris Griffith … you get the picture. I wouldn’t hesitate referring people to these friends vs. someone listed on a directory of sorts.

  16. Barry Cunningham

    June 8, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    So far Benn has provided me with the best answer…and the most hope for all of this social networking. We too have obtained a good deal of business from our business networking. However it is in my opinion more directed than passive.

    We in our office have no fear in asking for the order. I am not talking about some form of comment marketing..far from it. Most of our business comes from our shows guests. It’s one thing to talk to one another on twitter but I like swinging for the fences. Speaking with the “What do you do and how do you do it ” crowd provides us with most of our referrals and business. Much like Benn’s contact.

    From what Kim and Teresa seem to be saying it seems like friendship first before business and if anything comes of it then fine..but the intent does not seem to be about driving business as a priority.

    There is nothing at all with this kind of passive approach to blogging, but I have so much on my plate that while I am meeting many people, the wait for a referral isn’t the focus I am taking. We are actively pursuing and fostering business with those in this social networking world who are looking to actual profit from this technology.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the watercooler effect…I was merely asking to gain insight as to what different people are doing to further their business in this realm.

  17. Benn Rosales

    June 8, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    @Barry “From what Kim and Teresa seem to be saying it seems like friendship first before business”

    That is the very heart and soul of social networking and how I arrive at the majority of transactions- over coffee at starbucks [sometimes with the c12] generalizing until specific.

    I get a call a week that goes something like this, “I like you, like what you’re doing, how can we work together?” That’s when the magic happens.

    There are some folks who will never materialize as partnerships, but I would venture to say that through their contacts and personal trust in me, I may end up in partnership with someone else in their network- for example, I worked today with referral clients in Austin all the way from Maureen’s [who has a heart of gold, btw] backyard.

    I am not all about diving head first, but I do advise getting in the water, it’s actually quite warm.

  18. Teresa Boardman

    June 8, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Barry – for the record my blog is for business and that is why I have a blog. i meet people though it who become my clients. meeting other agents is a kind of side benefit and the reason I wrote the post. My life has been enriched in numerous ways through my contact with other real estate bloggers. There are people like Lani and Benn too, knowing them has also enriched my life.

  19. Bill Lublin

    June 8, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    @Barry I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find that the more people I know in more places the more opportunities are presented to me over the long term. I have completed three condo developments, two land development packages, and am currently developing another 60 units as a principal, all from social contacts. The total value of those projects is somewhere around 16-18 million All of those projects started with people where there was a relationship first, and they came to me when they needed something that required an expertise they felt I had.

    As Benn points out there are probably even more relationships where the relationship never delivered trackable dollars, but provided some other multually satisfying result.

    Like working with buyers and sellers, I think that when people fulfill the expectations of their relationship (what ever that may be), the dollars seem to follow. I always found putting the dollars first to be sort of a short term play, but that’s just for me. And I’m not criticizing your efforts on the radio show, since they seem to be providing you with what you want from them. Therefore, more power to you – keep on keepin’ on.

    Social networking is really not different then any other form of relationship building as Lani points out. We choose the people we want to hang out with. We just have new tools to find people we can relate with over a larger geographical area because of the technology. And hopefully we get the results we seek.
    🙂

  20. Barry Cunningham

    June 8, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Bill..I did not say that I put dollars before relationships..But since you said it…please tell me which of the Fortune 500 companies operates by not putting success which is measured in dollars first.

    Please tell me any franchise that operates by not putting dollars first. What has happened in this Country where the positioning of profit is now looked at as wrong? What are you talking about. Are you saying businesses are formed with profit as an off hand hoped upon conclusion and NOT the intent of the operation? I have my philanthropic endeavors but are you saying that a profit oriented business is formed without having the generation of revenue and profit FIRST? What business plan would that be? Not one I would ever invest in?

    We are talking about BUSINESS right?

    I merely asked if any of you were profit taking from your relationships. For instance we do exactly the same. BIll I wonder if you have listened enough to keep making such off the cuff statements as us being in it for the “short term”.

    C;mon man..I ask a simple question and out come the pitchforks. Do you always have to respond to direct questions as if there is an alterior motive to ananswer. Geeez…

    I have leveraged the power of our show into MANY fine relationships. I know what our social and business associations have done for US….I was asking if the same has translated into the same for many others. Obviously it has for you and Benn and someothers. But overall is what I am talking about. Gross numbers..sample of the whole not a single individual. What I am finding is that you, Benn, myself..etc…are actually rare.

    Most aren’t leveraging the blogging or social environment for profit. I want to find out why and in knowing so I believe that there is an opportunity for further development.

    Lately I have been seeing some really..really..weird posts on bigger name blogs that seem to suggest anything but the nurturing and overall development of successful business relationships.

    That was my intention for asking the question.

    I like the social aspect of our BUSINESS but in the end..it is BUSINESS first otherwise it wouldn’t be BUSINESS then would it?

  21. Benn Rosales

    June 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Barry, you seem to be stuck between two paradigms. As an honest observation here, reading this comment and adding it to your previous questions I have to ask you a question- do you agree or disagree that social media is shifting the way we as consumers will consume goods and services?

  22. Barry Cunningham

    June 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Benn,

    I wholeheartedly agree that that social media is shifting the way we as consumers will consume goods and services. I also wholeheartedly agree that it is changing the way that we as providers of said good and services mill conduct BUSINESS.

    I fully understand that to a certain extent there will always be the watercooler effect of social media, but my question was in regards to developing the best course of action for increasing profit.

    Too often when speaking to real estate agents they respond in the “me” instead of reaponding as industry proponents.

    I get emails and calls from agents all over the Country who are interested in furthering their BUSINESS. It’s easy to tweet, go on facebook, read blogs etc…that’s the no-brainer side of social media.

    My clients want information that helps them improve their bottomline. Those I have run into also ask about social media improving their bottom line. It is an issue and it needs to be addressed.

    Pressing palms is great. We are social animals. However…a lot of people want to know where’s the beef.

    I am trying to ascertain what aspects of social media make the most sense. I have decided to stop following some on Twitter becasue their tweets are like Active Rain posts. I have decided to follow more who actually provide great business insight in addition to the watercooler discussion.

    One such person I follow who provides insight, personality AND true business information is the ProBlogger. Chris Brogan is another and in the real estate industry AG’s own RE Zebra does as well. He has provided me with considerable useful info while also allowing me to get to know him. Through Twitter we found out we went to the same college and have some things in common to speak about. He also has shown me much innthe way of new technology to help my business.

    That’s what I feel is the true benefit of Social Media. If it were just to hang out and chat..I would not be involved. That’s one of the reason’s I don’t visit AR anymore.

    I went on quite a while but hopefully I answered your question.

  23. Benn Rosales

    June 8, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    If you’re coaching and teaching agents all around the country and already have the answer, then I do not need to tell you the value of social branding. I personally do not believe that in order to be successful that you have to be on any of the above mentioned platforms, nor blog, nor even be social. You can retool your 1.0 marketing to be more pull rather than push, you can also retool your copy on your website and deliver powerful tools to consumers- there are many ways to embrace new media.

    Teresa is one of the most well known, most quoted, most respected individuals in real estate for a reason- folks know who she is. That is a result of socially approaching your business- I suspect that from any direction you wish to approach it, you too can be successful.

    The fact that I know who you are is not because you’re on twitter, but because you came to us via blogging. I would guess you would still be an absolute nobody to me had you not embaraced the genres you have.

  24. Matthew Rathbun

    June 8, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I have found the social media to be one that has enhanced my life and I have enjoyed the interaction over the past year and in finding all the friends that I have met online. Certainly the many opportunities that I’ve had to meet people who I’ve befriended on line has been a highlight. Bob and I think had a similar reaction when we fist met – “you’re exactly how I knew you to be from online”.

    There are still many of you that I wish to meet one day, in persons; Teresa, Mariana, Lani, Benn, Ines, Russell, Jay and more. I want to meet them because I’ve found them friendly. We’ve bonded through your mutual respect for knowledge and sharing.

    I think that having some element by which to connect is a important part of social media. If I am looking for client in this venue, it’s important for me to consider two thinks: One – I need to provide enough insight into myself for some to be interested in connecting and Two – I need to surround myself with people who others can tolerate.

  25. Bill Lublin

    June 8, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Barry:

    I don’t have a problem with your opinions, whether I agree with them or not. I do however object to being misquoted. Especially when you then answer a statement I never made.

    Bill..I did not say that I put dollars before relationships..But since you said it…

    Barry – I didn’t say that, what I said was “when people fulfill the expectations of their relationship (what ever that may be), the dollars seem to follow. I always found putting the dollars first to be sort of a short term play, but that’s just for me. And I will stand by that statement – its just a statement of my preferences and experience over 37 years in service industries.

    Please tell me any franchise that operates by not putting dollars first. What has happened in this Country where the positioning of profit is now looked at as wrong? What are you talking about. Are you saying businesses are formed with profit as an off hand hoped upon conclusion and NOT the intent of the operation? I have my philanthropic endeavors but are you saying that a profit oriented business is formed without having the generation of revenue and profit FIRST? What business plan would that be? Not one I would ever invest in?

    We are talking about BUSINESS right?

    Actually I never said , nor indicated anything like what you placed in your rant. I operate several businesses each of which need to operate according to sound business principles. However that has nothing to do with the post or my comment about it. And my charitable work is my charitable work, as my companies donations to charities are theirs, they were also not a part of my comment. The post is about the social implications of social media and how that enhances the face to face meeting with people you have interacted with. So the answer to your question is “No Barry We’re Not talking about business”.

    I merely asked if any of you were profit taking from your relationships. For instance we do exactly the same. BIll I wonder if you have listened enough to keep making such off the cuff statements as us being in it for the “short term”.

    Once again Barry you’re making an inaccurate statement. I answered your question when I said “@Barry I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find that the more people I know in more places the more opportunities are presented to me over the long term. (though I would not refer to it as profit taking from my relationships – I profit take from transactions and investments, not relationships. Again that’s a personal viewpoint. ) Also I did not say that you were in it for the short term. What I did say is quoted above, and does not refer to you but to a choice of my own. I guess how long you listen isn’t as important as how accurately you listen. Wouldn’t you agree?

    C;mon man..I ask a simple question and out come the pitchforks. Do you always have to respond to direct questions as if there is an alterior motive to ananswer. Geeez…

    Barry; if you think that my response was bringing out the pitchforks, you have a much more sensitive nature then I would have imagined from reading your posts and comments. The only reference to youin my comment was “I’m not criticizing your efforts on the radio show, since they seem to be providing you with what you want from them. Therefore, more power to you – keep on keepin’ on. “ Saying that I’m not criticizing you is hardly a pitchfork attack wouldn’t you agree?

    Again, I still agree with Teresa. Social media is really neat because it provides us with an insight to others that is often verified and amplified when we meet Face to Face. That’s why I’m going to have my assistant make arrangments tomorrow to be at Inman Connect and ReBar – so I can phsyically meet as many of the people in my computer that I have come to respect and enjoy as possible, anticipating that the experience will amplify and enhance those relationships. Maybe our relationship will be one of them.

  26. Barry Cunningham

    June 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Bottom Line Bill and Benn…I understand social media for its “social aspects”. That’s a given. Not denigrating anybody for being social and utilizing all of this technology to better their network of individual relationships.

    I had, and still have one question. Does all of this technology make people in this industry as whole, any money or is it mainly for the “social aspect”?

    Bill, as you travel to Inman and REbar, what are your expectations? When I elect to go to conferences I go witht he expectation of learning things and making contacts that can further either myself in thought or my business in dollars. Are you saying (a question) that you engage in this mainly for the social aspect?

    It’s a very simple question. I have asked many agents..incl;uding Teresa. Are you an agent who blogs or a blogger that sells real estate occasionally?

    Sounds to me like the latter is coming to be more of the pattern.

    Bill’s statement, which is his choice, that he is going to these conferences “so I can phsyically meet as many of the people in my computer that I have come to respect and enjoy as possible, anticipating that the experience will amplify and enhance those relationships” underscores what I am saying.

    The thought that I am having is that the social aspect has overtaken the business aspect and is all of this technology a bit of the tail wagging the dog at this point.

    Benn states..”Teresa is one of the most well known, most quoted, most respected individuals in real estate for a reason- folks know who she is”…by whom?? Other agents? Is that translating into conversions by consumers wanting to buy or sell homes or by readers of her blog who are other RE.net agents (by the way, her blog is actually pretty cool and I love her pictures)

    In following the Pareto Principle in my business, if the PP is being effected in reverse on many blogs now adawys one has to wonder if it is a true benefit…beyond the pressing of palms and getting to meet RE.net idols.

  27. Jay Thompson

    June 8, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Barry wrote: “Benn states..”Teresa is one of the most well known, most quoted, most respected individuals in real estate for a reason- folks know who she is”…by whom?? Other agents? Is that translating into conversions by consumers wanting to buy or sell homes or by readers of her blog who are other RE.net agents”

    I can’t speak for Teresa, but I can assure you that the times I’ve been quoted in the local papers and magazines, appeared was on local television newscasts, a mentioned on large on-line sites like BusinessWeek.com, MSN Real Estate, and US News & World Report has led to direct consumer contact, and sales.

    In addition to direct contacts from those sources, it adds some level of “instant credibility” when you are meeting new potential clients. Right or wrong, some people seem to think that this type of exposure (for lack of a better term) implies that you are an expert.

  28. Jay Thompson

    June 8, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Barry, one final thought. There is more to life than making money. Much more.

    How do you put a value on friendships? I can’t, nor do I really see the point in it.

    I work my ass off to support my family. I need a little down time, and if I find it relaxing to Twitter or write a post that has nothing to do with real estate and no chance of acquiring a client, so what?

    Life is so much more than just business.

  29. Teresa Boardman

    June 9, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Barry,
    I am a realtor who blogs. On saturday I was out showing houses to a client who met me through my blog and flickr. Last week I wrote an offer for a couple that I met through my blog. Of my current listings six of them are people who selected me as their agent because of my blog. I could go on and on. This post was about the firends I have made because of my blog. This morning there are four notes in my email from people that I have met in St. Paul through Flickr. Maybe someday one of them will want to buy or sell real estate, who knows. Maybe I will go to one of them for help or maybe we will just go on photo walks together and have a good time. Don’t know, don’t care, happy to know them all and love the comments they leave on my photos.

  30. Gotbob

    June 9, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Kumbaya…Kumbaya

    See what happens when you bring my name into a conversation? Bad Teresa…

    I know one thing…social networking is work…so in a sense that makes it a business. If in fact you have to have a business plan. Search “Social Network Business Plan” and you will see I do have one. We are all in the the business of making money otherwise we would be out of business. The value I place on friendships are much higher than I place on money, because when they bury me…Lincoln, Washington and all the other dead presidents aren’t going to mean anything to me or anyone else for all that matter.

    Now, will I hopefully benefit financially from these friendships??? Directly and indirectly, by either sending me referrals directly or making me a better Real Estate Agent and gaining indirect business. Not only are these people inside my computer but fortunately they are in front of me. I meet more clients on line than I do any other marketing effort.

    If you can’t figure this out, then you have been looking in the wrong place. I realized a long time ago the more you stress about trying to make money…the more you stress about making money. The more you go out and meet people (on and off line) the more money you make… Opportunity presents itself whenever you create opportunity.

    I fortunately had the opportunity to meet Teresa Boardman and Kim Wood on this last venture.

  31. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Jay…I am not against the friendship angle of social media. I have met people I never would have met and spoken to people I never would have spoken to had it not been for the forum of technology available to us.

    My question, which somehow gets clouded into a web of disdain, is that is this a business forum or a freindship platform. It’s hard sometimes to get straight answers. Now gotbob speaks about one stressing about money…this discussion sometimes gets comical.

    Of course money isn’t the only thing. I have my family and many friends. I am speaking from purely a BUSINESS perspective. It’s 1:15 Eastern, which means this is smack dab in the middle of the business day.

    That being said are most here considering themselves as conducting business or hanging out with friends. Since I doubt very seriously any of the bloggers herein are buying from each other then it appears to be the latter.

    We are getting ready to do our broadcast and we are in preproduction and as such this research provides us with fodder for on air discussion. So it allows me to conduct business activity while discussing matters with each of you.

    Teresa’s response answered plenty. She does business with her real estate blog…which in turn presumably tells me this is the country club side of things if you will. Works for me..just wonder about the others.

  32. Jay Thompson

    June 9, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Barry wrote: “..is this a business forum or a freindship platform…”

    Maybe the answer is not cut and dried. Why does it have to be EITHER business OR friendship? Can’t it be both?

    Real estate is a people business. People looking for an agent “connect” in different ways. Some want the aggressive, take no prisoners style while others want a “friend”, perhaps even a parent. Most are probably somewhere between those two extremes.

    I can’t count how many clients, paying clients, have said something along the lines of, “we feel like we’ve known you for a long time from your blog”. People don’t call and say, “I want to talk about listing my home”. They call and say, “bring the paperwork and list my home”. My blog is my “listing presentation”. And it markets and prospects for me 24 x 7 x 365.

    I routinely inject “random musings” into my blog. That I do that is no surprise — it’s right there in the header graphic. It is often (very often) that those very random musings are what clients “connect” with.

    Do I piss people off by going off-topic? Almost certainly. Do I “lose” potential clients? Almost certainly. And I don’t care. If someone doesn’t like the way I am, that’s fine. I’d rather find out up front than after dragging them all over town looking at homes. No single agent is the right agent for everyone. I’m sure plenty have read my blog and said, “I could never use that guy for an agent”. And you know what? That’s *great*! Saves them and me both a lot of time and stress.

    Hell yes I blog for business. That’s the primary reason. But it’s not the only reason. I also blog to learn, to share, to meet people and for fun. Commenting on this thread isn’t going to get me any direct business. But with every comment and response, I learn a little bit more about human nature. And THAT may just in the long run wind up getting me business.

  33. Gotbob

    June 9, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Barry, I did say “stressing about money” we are talking about business aren’t we? I don’t want to confuse the two…business and friendship.

    You’re an internet person, right? It’s like a mashup. People come together and socialize to make money or not.

    The dynamics of the social network is amazing…we are all here for different reasons and there is no wrong answer. Just as long as you know why you are here. If you came here specifically to run this as a business to make money, then run it that way and make money. If you are not achieving what you expected to do in the RE Social Network then you need to back up and regroup. Everyone needs to understand that coming in…but they don’t. Some people think it’s all about driving traffic to one’s website to get ad money. I prefer to build relationships and make money…in that order.

  34. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Mesage is being lost..so frustrating..Jay and Get bob..step out side the box..can’t we ever have discourse without it being about the PERSON answering..geez.

    Let’s re-phrase and let’s talk about our business….are real estate agents as a whole, the 2 or 3 % who get this anyway, utlizing social media to actually measurably increase revenue for their BUSINESS or are they mainly utilizing social media for kibitzing? So hopefully we can now have some better discourse instead of making it about individuals.

    Let’s talk the industry vs. individuals.

  35. Jay Thompson

    June 9, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Sigh. I’m frustrated too Barry, apparently I’m just not getting your “message”.

    Now you complain that my comments are about the PERSON answering.

    Of course they are.

    Here’s the deal. I can’t speak for anyone else Barry. I simply don’t know about anyone else’s income from social media. I can only speak for me, the individual. How else am I supposed to answer? Want me to just make some shit up? Would that satisfy you?

    How is it that you expect me, or anyone, to speak for anyone else? I don’t troll the MLS looking up other people’s production for a couple of reasons: 1) the MLS doesn’t tell the whole story; and 2) I really don’t care about anyone else’s numbers.

    I can’t speak for the industry. All I can do is tell you that yes, I’ve had success and made money from social media. And to be perfectly honest, I could give a rat’s ass if anyone else has. Can other people make money from real estate social media? Of course they can. I’m nothing special. If I can do it, anyone can. Are others making money? I suspect so, but have neither the tools, nor the desire, to prove it.

    YOU asked, “I’d really like to know if those of you who have had the good fortune of putting a face to the keyboard handle have been able to extend beyond the cordialities and actually conduct business amongst your new found friends.”

    The answer for ME, is yes. Sorry that answer is about the individual and not the industry, but (again) I can’t speak for the industry.

    YOU said, “I was merely asking to gain insight as to what different people are doing to further their business in this realm”

    I believe I’ve answered that, from my perspective. How you expect me to answer it for anyone else is beyond me.

    YOU said, “I am trying to ascertain what aspects of social media make the most sense.”

    Again, and only for me, it’s primarily blogging. I have gotten clients, or increased my “web presence” from other aspects of social media such as “social networks” like LinkedIn, Faceboook, and Twitter. But blogging is 95% of it. But (again) I can’t speak for anyone else.

    YOU asked, “Are you an agent who blogs or a blogger that sells real estate occasionally?”

    I thought it was pretty clear, but I’ll be specific and use your words. I am an agent who blogs.

    Sorry for your frustration Barry, but you asked questions, and I answered them — yes, as an individual, not as the industry. The reason for that is simply because I can’t speak for anyone else.

    I’m sure I’ve missed your point again, but that’s the best I can do. I’m still not sure exactly what it is you’re looking for. Explain it to me like I’m three years old. Maybe I’ll get it then.

  36. Sarah Cooper

    June 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Barry, 100% of my income because I DIDN’T talk business in Twitter. I care about and talk to real people, and someone liked that and offered me a job with a company that (IMHO) cares more about people than money.

    I rarely remember to throw links to my stuff on Twitter. I don’t think about money first. Caring about the people and not worrying about the money has actually turned out to be a brilliant career move for me.

    The people who network for business, hard core business, probably unfollow me in a heartbeat. I could care less about “measurably increasing my revenue.” I just like the people and the revenue kinda happened. I can live with it.

  37. Kim Wood

    June 9, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    How much money is being made while debating this point of social media vs. business?

    I’m sure that if you poll each person using social media networking – they’ll give you a different answer to the question of their primary purpose. If you asked me, it would be a different goal in each of the different platforms.

    In Twitter, I found and made friends with locals. One mentioned moving a couple of weeks ago. I answered him. I will be listing his home after meeting his family last week and they will be purchasing another through me. I love it! Bonus….. on Twitter I get to chit chat with agents and get to know more of their personality.

    On Facebook, my main focus is to meet up with long lost school pals from my journeys around the world.

    etc, etc.

  38. Sarah Cooper

    June 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    And hey there, Jay! Great meeting you Friday — had a great time, would love to do that again sometime! 🙂

  39. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Jay..the “trolling” comment was on a post a month ago on Bloodhound. Your statement “I can’t speak for anyone else Barry. I simply don’t know about anyone else’s income from social media. I can only speak for me, the individual”…is one I just don’t understand. Are you saying with all of this interaction you don’t have any idea or opinion on the industry…you have not spoken to EVERYONE on any number of topics I have seen you proffer comment upon. But in this realm it is obviously not going to happen.

    It may not be about money..but what about branding!

  40. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Kim…I have been on our show and typing so I have been making noney WHILE engaging in discussion

  41. Kim Wood

    June 9, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Barry, Ok… I’m got! 🙂

  42. Jay Thompson

    June 9, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    You know, I just told myself I wasn’t going to get into this….

    “the “trolling” comment was on a post a month ago on Bloodhound.”

    So. What does that have to do with anything? (I could have sworn it was also posted on your site, but could be mistaken). Where it was, or when it was posted matters not one iota. I’m simply saying I don’t cull through the MLS looking up people’s production — for both reasons I stated — that being it’s not a good source for total production and more importantly, it doesn’t matter to me.

    Do I have an opinion on the industry? Of course I do. I thought you were looking for facts. The last thing I want to do is throw out an opinion and have that interpreted as fact. I do NOT have facts on anyone’s production but my own (and my agents). You see Barry, whether you’ll admit it or not, you are very adept at turning a conversation into whatever topic (or down whatever rat hole) meets your fancy at the moment. Had I proffered an opinion, it’s likely that would have been met with, “I want facts, not opinion”. I proffer facts, and now you want opinion.

    OK. Fine.

    My opinion, for what it’s worth, is simple:

    Some agents make money from blogging and other aspects of social media. Others do not.

    Earth shattering, isn’t it?

    My opinion is that not-so-many make much money. And I think that holds true with real estate sales in general. Whether an agent is “Web 1.0”, “Web 2.0” or “old school”, my opinion is the vast majority of people in the industry don’t make enough money to survive.

    That opinion is somewhat supported by the Pareto Principal — the old “80/20” rule. It’s also somewhat supported by my old C21 office, where someone at the bottom of the annual “Top 10” list didn’t clear $20K. I can’t say if that holds true for any other office, though I suspect it does.

    But I have never asked someone “How much do you make?” For one, it’s none of my business, for two, in any industry people generally tend to over-inflate production numbers, and for three, I really don’t care. So I have no factual idea how many make how much.

    Would it be interesting to know how many agents made how much money utilizing “social media”? I guess so. I like facts and stats, so I can see it being of interest in that way. But how would knowing that make me more money? I don’t feel the need to emulate anyone who is “successful” at social media. I do my own thing. It seems to work for me. Though it may sound contrary, social media is pretty much an individual sport. How someone else maximizes it may not work for me. Likewise how I utilize it won’t work for everyone (maybe anyone) else.

  43. Jay Thompson

    June 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    @Sarah – the pleasure was all mine! Glad you enjoyed your stay in the wild west. You’re welcome here any time!!

  44. Barry Cunningham

    June 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you Jay for a very insightful and informative response. It was nice having this discussion with you. Let’s let someone else have some fun. I know you will continue to be ahuge success!

  45. Matthew Rathbun

    June 9, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    I think this venue is still too far in it’s infancy to quantify with income. We know that personal communications with consumers before they make the decision to pick a particular agent is important. We know that a large portion of consumers are using the internet to look for real estate and occasionally real estate services.

    It took 50 years for radio to reach its target market and 4 years for the internet to…. So, I think with so few practitioners actually using social media to connect with clients, it’s too early to make a final decision on the matter.

    It also can’t be applied globally for all agents. In the count in which I live there are close to 30,000 people – not very big. There are 10 that can be found on facebook and 3 that are using twitter and believe me we’ve looked. So, this is not yet a prime market for this venue. However an hour north in DC, there are a number of agents using blogs and other resources to let clients get to know them and it works well.

    All real estate and practices are local….

  46. ines

    June 9, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    How much fun! I want to meet Bob and Kim and you as well…….I love what I do and the fact that we can meet great people and nurture friendships through a computer seems a bit surreal to me. But funny think is that if someone mentions St. Paul….you’ll be the first on my mind (and Jack of course) and if someone mentions Frederick…..it will be Bob.

    We’re in a good place my friend.

  47. Gotbob

    June 10, 2008 at 5:58 am

    @Ines I look forward to meeting you and Rick. (speshly for some of them outrageous Mojitos!)

    Did someone say Mojitos?

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Opinion Editorials

BIPOC Gen Zers are using TikTok to create cultural awareness

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) TikTok has become a platform for younger generations to share their cultures, paving the way for a more inclusive society. And they’re doing it one 15 second video at a time.

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Black person's hands holding a phone loading TikTok above a wooden table.

When scrolling on TikTok, you might come across this question posed by a BIPOC creator (Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color): “How old were you when you realized you weren’t ugly, you just lived in a predominantly White space?”

Growing up in predominantly White spaces myself with immigrant parents from the Middle East, I had a warped perspective of beauty. Straight light hair, fair skin, Western features, a stick-thin figure – I internalized my physical otherness as lack.

It wasn’t until I moved to a diverse city for college that I realized this. I saw others speaking different languages, eating ethnic foods and dressing however they wanted without fear of losing their proximity to Whiteness. Exposure to others who didn’t fit “the mold” was transformative for me.

As someone in their mid-twenties, I came of age with social media like Tumblr, Facebook and, ultimately, Instagram. But I’d be lying to you if I said that I didn’t wish TikTok was around when I was a kid.

For reference, most TikTok users are between 16-24, meaning that many are still in high school. While content on TikTok is really all over the place and specifically catered to your preferences (you can feel the algorithums at work as your scroll), one facet that I find integral to the app’s essence is Gen Z proudly showcasing their cultures – aka #culturecheck.

Besides the countless ethnic food tutorials (some of my favorite content on the app!), fashion has become a main way for BIPOC or immigrant TikTokers to fully express their identities and share their culture with other users on the app, regardless of physical location.

Take the #FashionEdit challenge, where creators lip sync to a mash-up of Amine’s “Caroline” and “I Just Did a Bad Thing” by Bill Wurtz as they transform from their everyday Western clothes into that of their respective culture.

In her famous video, Milan Mathew – the creator attributed to popularizing this trend – sits down in a chair. She edits the clip in such a way that as she sits, her original outfit switches to a baby-pink lehenga and she becomes adorned with traditional Indian jewelry. Denise Osei does the same, switching into tradition Ghanaian dress. If you can think of a culture or ethnicity, chances are they are represented in this TikTok trend.

This past Indigenous People’s Day, James Jones’ videos went viral across various social media platforms, as he transformed into his traditional garments and performed tribal dances.

Though the cultures and respective attire they showcase are unique in each video, the energy is all the same: proud and beautiful. Showing off what your culture wears has become a way to gain clout on the app and inspire others to do the same.

The beautiful thing about cultural/ethnic TikTok is that it isn’t just Mexicans cheering for other Mexicans, or Arabs cheering for other Arabs – the app sustains a general solidarity across racial and ethnic lines while cultivating an appreciation of world cultures.

But just how deep does that appreciation go? Some users think (and I agree) that “liking” a video of an attractive creator in traditional dress is hardly a radical move in dismantling notions of Western beauty.

While TikTok trends might not solve these issues entirely, it’s important to note that they are moving things in the right directions – I certainly never saw anything like this when I was growing up.

For whatever reason, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers seem to have a lot of shade to throw at Gen Z. But one thing is for certain – this young generation is paving the way for a more inclusive, more respectful society, which is something we should all get behind. And they’re doing it one 15 second video at a time.

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Opinion Editorials

This website is like Pinterest for WFH desk setups

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) If you’ve been working from home at the same, unchanged desk setup, it may be time for an upgrade. My Desk Tour has the inspiration you need.

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Man browsing desk setups on My Desk Tour

Whether you’re sitting, standing, or reclining your way through the pandemic, you’re most likely doing it from home these days. You’re also probably contending with an uninspired desk configuration hastily cobbled together in March, which—while understandable—might be bringing you down. Fortunately, there’s an easy, personable solution to spark your creativity: My Desk Tour.

My Desk Tour is a small website started by Jonathan Cai. On this site, you will find pictures of unique and highly customized desk setups; these desk configurations range from being optimized for gamers to coders to audiophiles, so there’s arguably something for everyone—even if you’re just swinging by to drool for a bit.

Cai also implements a feature in which site users can tag products seen in desk photos with direct links to Amazon so you don’t have to poke around the Internet for an hour in search of an obscure mouse pad. This is something Cai initially encountered on Reddit and, after receiving guidance from various subreddits on the issue of which mouse to purchase, he found the inspiration to create My Desk Tour.

The service itself is pretty light—the landing page consists of a few desk setup photos and a rotating carousel of featured configurations—but it has great potential to grow into a desk-focused social experience of sorts.

It’s also a great place to drop in on if you’re missing the extra level of adoration for your desk space that a truly great setup invokes. Since most people who have been working from home since the spring didn’t receive a ton of advance notice, it’s reasonable to assume that the majority of folks have resigned themselves to a boring or inefficient desk configuration. With a bit of inspiration from My Desk Tour, that can change overnight.

Of course, some of the desk options featured on the site are a bit over the top. One configuration boasts dual ultra-wide monitors stacked atop each other, and another shows off a monitor flanked by additional vertical monitors—presumably for the sake of coding. If you’re scrambling to stay employed, such a setup might be egregious.

If you’re just looking for a new way to orient your workspace for the next few months, though, My Desk Tour is worth a visit.

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Opinion Editorials

Popular opinion: Unemployment in a pandemic sucks [EDITORIAL]

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) I got laid off during the pandemic, and I think I can speak for all of us to say that unemployment – especially now – really, really sucks.

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Stressed man thinking over laptop about unemployment.

Despite not being in an office for what feels like an eternity, losing my job stung. Holding onto work during The Worst Timeline was rough, considering Rome was burning all around. My job was the boat of sanity I could sit in while the waves of bullshit crashed all around. Pre-pandemic, I had just separated from my wife, so my emotional health wasn’t in tip-top shape. But then millions of people go and get sick, the economy took a nosedive, and well, the world changed. When everything around you sucks, and people are on the news crying about unemployment and potential homelessness, you’re thankful as hell that you’re not with them – until you are.

I was writing for a startup, one that came with a litany of headaches thanks to fluctuating budgets and constant directional pivots, but it was steady work. When the Coronavirus hit, it was a scenario of “we’re going to get through this,” but as we switched gears again and again, I started to get an unsettling feeling: I’ve seen this story before. When you live in Austin and are in the creative field, you’ve worked with startups. And there are always trappings on when something lingers in the air – hierarchy shuffles, people aren’t as optimistic, and senior folks start quietly bailing out. Those are the obvious moves that make your unemployment-related Spidey sense tingle, but with COVID, everything is remote. There aren’t the office vibes, the shortened conversations that make you, “I know what’s happening here.” Instead, you’re checking Slack or email and surviving like everyone else.

We were happy to be working, to see the direct deposit hit every two weeks and sigh, knowing you were still in the fight, that you might see this thing through.

We saw our entire business change overnight. Leadership rose to meet the challenges of an old model rooted in hospitality, restaurants, and events, which died with a viral disease shotgun blast. Because the infrastructure was there, we managed to help out workers, and grocery stores work together to keep people fed across the nation. It was legitimately a point of pride. Like all things, though, the market settled. We bought time.

In July, I had a full-blown depressive episode. The weight of the divorce, the lack of human interaction, my work having less value, my career stalled felt like a Terminator robot foot on my skull. I couldn’t get out of bed, and everything I wrote were the smatterings of a broken man. And to my ex-bosses’ credit, my breakdown was NOT my best work, I could barely look at a computer, let alone forge thoughts on an entirely new industry with any authority, or even a fake it till you make it scenario.

When the CEO put time on my calendar, I knew it was a wrap. Startup CEOs don’t make house calls; they swing the ax. When you’re the lone creative in a company trying to survive a nearly company-killing event, you’re the head on the block. Creatives are expensive, and we’re expendable. Site copy, content, media placements, all that can kick rocks when developers need to keep the business moving, even if it’s at a glacial pace. When I was given my walking papers, it was an exhale, on one hand, I’d been professionally empty, but at the same time, I needed consistent money. My personal life was a minefield and I’ve got kids.

I got severance. Unemployment took forever to hit. The state of Texas authorized amount makes me cringe. Punishing Americans for losing their jobs during a crisis is appalling. Millions are without safety nets, and it’s totally ok with elected leaders.

There are deferments available. I had to get them on my credit cards, which I jacked up thanks to spending $8,500 on an amicable divorce, along with a new MacBook Pro that was the price of a used Nissan. I got a deferment on my car note, too.

I’ve applied to over 100 jobs, both remote and local. I’ve applied for jobs I’m overqualified for in hopes they’ll hire me as a freelancer. There are lots of rejection letters. I get to round two interviews. References or the round three interviews haven’t happened yet. I get told I’m too experienced or too expensive. Sometimes, recruiters won’t even show up. And then there are the Zoom meetings. Can we all agree we’re over Zoom? Sometimes, you don’t want to comb your hair.

I’ll get promised the much needed “next steps” and then a rejection email, “thanks but no thanks.” Could you at least tell me what the X-Factor for this decision was? Was there a typo? Did you check my Facebook? The ambiguity kills me. Being a broke senior creative person kills me. I interviewed President Obama and have written for Apple, but ask myself: Can I afford that falafel wrap for lunch? Do you think springing for the fries is worth that extra $3? You’ve got soup at home, you know.

I’m not unique. This is the American Experience. We’re stuck in this self-perpetuating hell. We keep looking for jobs. We want to work. There are only so many gigs to fill when there’s constant rollercoaster news on unemployment recovery. And as long as unemployment sucks, there’s going to be a lot of people bracing for impact come Christmas. Hopefully, the brass in Washington can pass a few bills and get us back to work. At least get Americans out of the breadline by pumping up what we’re surviving off of – across the board. Working people shouldn’t have to face getting sick to bring in an income, while casualties of the Corona War should be able to look at their bills and not feel like the assistant on the knife throwers wheel.

I’m about to be a line cook to make extra cash till an intrepid manager hires me. Who doesn’t want a writer working the grill who reads French existentialist essays for enjoyment? I’d rather sit on park benches and day dream, but that ain’t reality. I’ve got bills to pay in a broken America. Who wants a burger? Deep thoughts come free but an extra slice of cheese is extra.

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