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Taking It To The Streets Information Superhighway.

The Stigliano Chronicles - Taking It To The Streets

They’re only words.

Words. Words are powerful stuff. Words can hurt, elate, destroy, and effect change. They can be designed to do any of these things (and much more) or they can do it without intention. Words can be anything we want them to be. Being a blogger, I’ve become a bit more fond of words lately. I try to mix them up, use them effectively, and make sure their message is clear. I don’t always succeed. More than anything though, is the ability of words to change someone’s mind. To effect change through conversation. To influence decisions based on what you say. Power.

Yesterday was a crazy day here at AgentGenius. If you somehow missed it all (how, I will never understand), a large outcry began over a post by Paula Henry involving Google, scraping, IDX, and as many people felt, the future of internet based listing marketing and whether or not the National Association Of Realtors® really understood what’s going on in the “real world.” I spent quite a bit of the day thinking about all I was reading and the implications of the story. I read through the comments and picked up some insight I had missed and applauded some I had thought of myself. I added my views as well. Anyone that knows me, knows that I think the meat of a post is often in the comments. When you start a conversation, a post can take on a life of its own. And man oh man, did that post have a life!

Powerful words, powerful results.

If you’re out there and not convinced about the power of blogging, you need look no further. The final results of the post won’t be known for sometime, but it brought immediate attention to the issue, brought agents to the comments that you don’t see here on a regular basis (can someone say “call to action?”), and got responses from NAR itself. It opened up a next step process with Jay Thompson and Paula Henry being invited to speak before the MLS Committee next week (at NAR’s expense I might add). I fully expect the two of them will speak with passion, conviction, and the general betterment of real estate in mind. I think they’re both gifted writers and will be able to get their points across. I hope it will effect the change that will prevent this issue from spreading to other boards and associations.

The bigger picture.

Although I hope for the best from all of this, I see something else that I am excited about. Reaction. Conversation. Plans. (And hopefully) Resolution. Have you fully comprehended what just happened in a day and a half? Some of NAR’s members took a stand, voiced their opinions and were heard. This is what I envisioned the social media position at NAR should be all about. Todd Carpenter took a lot of flak as he was first on the scene (and whether or not he was speaking on behalf of NAR, as Jay pointed out, there will always be that association) and even I jumped to conclusions about his answers as I read them. Unfortunately, until the dues-paying members fully trust their own association, I feel Todd will always be a bit of a whipping-boy for the social media sect of Realtors®. Many people know him personally and although I don’t, I’ve spoken to him briefly on Twitter once or twice and know enough about him to know that he’s well respected by many. Regardless of what happens, there was a conversation at least and an opening to more in front of one of NAR’s committees.

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With the internet, it’s easy to expect immediate results. Unfortunately, I don’t think those are going to be the first changes we see. I view this as a test of the might of the internet and social media to effect change. Of course, if it fails, we could easily slide backwards at a fast pace. If it succeeds, it should make all us all think of ways to continue pushing the envelope to bring about the changes that we desire. Todd said we need to get involved and I think many did, but perhaps in a new way. I don’t think we’ll see change tomorrow, but I think we may have just seen a glimpse of a possible future.

photo courtesy of alanwoo

Written By

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Lee Ellis

    May 7, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    That post is having a good, long life, indeed! Part of that future includes people who have commented, taken action and “met” online to meet in person and continue turning powerful words into meaningful actions. So before hearing Paula’s and Jay’s comments at the MLS Forum, I hope to meet many of you at the “REALTOR Mixer” next Wednesday night at Petits Plats co-hosted with Deborah Madey.

  2. Monika

    May 7, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    We’ll be at Midyear and will attend the MLS meeting to lend support.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    May 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I look forward to hearing all the reports.

    Lee – I had written something for my site that I was considering converting for here, but I decided to go a completely different route. I just thought the idea of what happened as the comments unfolded was worthy of its own mention.

    Monika – I wish I was heading there to listen in.

  4. Missy Caulk

    May 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Matthew, this was the power of social media. Our voices were heard, and it could not have happened without the blog and the passion of so many.

    Some folks just “get it” faster than others, the early adopters. I know in my own office and in Ann Arbor in general. Folks are just starting to get on board with social media and very few blog.

    They are totally in the dark on all of this and I dare say wouldn’t have understood most of what occurred. Usually 20% adopt early on and then you hit critical mass. We are not at critical mass for social media yet.

    I’m happy Paula and Jay are getting to go. Todd is a great guy and I’m glad he is there.

  5. Matt Stigliano

    May 7, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Missy – It really served as a prime example of the power of social media and being able to get involved. I saw it mentioned in several places (so it was spreading news) and could see how it was being passed from one person to the next and then to their “friends” and then on and on. I think the whole post/comments could be printed and shown to anyone who says, “I don’t get social media.” If that doesn’t explain it, I don’t know what will. AgentGenius became the town hall of the RE.net for a meeting on the new plans for our town. Arguments were made, discussions were had, and solutions were proposed.

    I wrote this about an hour ago – I forgot how to hit “submit” apparently.

  6. Joe@Augusta GA Homes

    May 8, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Matt, As an agent who has invested a significant amount of time and money in to moving my site up in the Google rankings, I hope and pray that the NAR talking heads shut those heads up long enough to open their ears to Paula and Jay at this meeting. As a dues paying member of NAR, I cannot believe they would classify the #1 search engine on the planet this way – to the detriment of our clients. I have fought tooth and nail to move my rankings up the Google ladder, and the last thing I want is to turn off that money stream because of archaic rules that do nothing to help my clients sell their home.

  7. Matt Stigliano

    May 8, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Joe – I agree that its shocking to see that Google would be classified as any thing other than a search engine. I do hope that Paula and Jay are well received, listened to, and have enough time to get their points made. I know they will do a great job, I just hope that it goes well.

  8. Austin Smith - Goomzee.com

    May 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I hope so as well. As a blogger, I can’t think of two people I would rather have represent our community than Jay and Paula. Good luck, guys.

  9. Paula Henry

    May 9, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Matt – I am only beginning to get back to look at all the posts written in support of the post I wrote. What has happened here is truly the power of social media. It’s true, there are many who do not understand and many more who don’t want to. The point is, those of us here who do understand have the power to reach across boundaries we would not have otherwise had.

  10. Paula Henry

    May 9, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Austin – Thank You!

  11. Matt Stigliano

    May 10, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Austin – It is good to have such great representation. I have admired them both for their blogs in the past, but now I have more reason to. I wish them the best in their travels. I just hope that NAR will truly listen to what they have to say.

    Paula – With the bazillion emails, posts, and comments you’ve probably generated, I’m sure you’re swamped so I appreciate you taking a few moments to stop by here. You’ve been given a heavy burden because of your post, but luckily, I know you can take it on. I have full faith in you and Jay and wish you the best. Imagine this had happened ten years ago, it would probably happened quietly and never been seen by most. Thanks to your post, the word is spreading and people are reacting.

  12. Valorie Stover

    May 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Glad this is going to be heard by NAR and thanks to Jay and Paul,a know they will serve us well.

    Social media gets the word out faster than any the old gossip line ever did.

  13. Matt Stigliano

    May 12, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Valorie – It was fast. Although your mention of the word “gossip” brings up a good point too. It’s easy to spread rumors, false claims, gossip, lies, and sow discontent a lot faster than ever before. Everything always has a down side to it I guess.

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