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What is Social Media’s Shelf Life?

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Virtual Real Estate

We’ve all heard them… You know, the Brokers and agents who disparage the use of technology and more specifically social media in your business practice. The conversation is something to the extent of “Get from behind that computer and go sell!” To an extent I agree. I know that technology is a good venue by which to obtain clients, but it is not the end all, be all of interacting with the consumer. The nature of humanity dictates that we interact with one another; that we have fellowship and contact with another person. If we’ve found a way to combine this need for interaction and the consumer’s desire to use technology to increase their knowledge base, than fantastic! If you really are hiding behind the computer and thinking that the cash will roll in, than you’ve missed the mark.

Study of Human Nature

Social Media is a great asset to a practitioner who has grasped human nature and is actually able to identify a consumer’s need. It’s not a good tool for those who still think that Real Estate is a get rich quick scheme. It requires time and patience to develop the necessary skills and knowledge base to properly execute any aspect of this business proficiently. It’s important to always be studying and researching what is happening in our culture, what trends are developing and how to be on the tip of the sword when it comes to progress. I feel that this is the key element to technology and Social Media in real estate. Is there a shelf life to Social Media? Yes, there is to every good thing; but we simply don’t know what that shelf life is. For some, Open Houses are still an effective means for connecting with clients. Open Houses have been around for generations.

Look to the Future

My advice is to use the tools of here and now, but don’t get stuck in a rut of what “is”, thinking that it is what you’ll need to master and then skate by for the next 20 years. Below is a video called Vision of Students tomorrow that I sometimes use in technology courses. I use it because the students are telling us how they communicate and some of the struggles they have while in college. Many people watch this video and say that it doesn’t apply, since those “kids” can’t buy… Go look at the demographics of buyers today and you’ll quickly realize that these college students will be your buyers in the next 5-10 years. Practitioners need to be forward thinking and while maintaining business today, also be thinking about what they’ll need for to prepare for tomorrow!


Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Ben Martin, CAE

    June 17, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Social media as we know it will cease to exist eventually, but the consumer expectations it is ushering in will not. Even now I’m wondering what’s next. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’m becoming somewhat bored by facebook, blogging and twitter.

  2. Chris

    June 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I think we have entered an age of constant change. Those who will not adapt to the changes in society will not succeed. The gap between the haves and haves not, will change to who is technically involved and not involved.
    Spring Hill Real Estate

  3. Jayson

    June 17, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    That’s a good video. I’d say social media is here to stay but that social media will change over the years. It looks like the next step is an all inclusive website with social bookmarking, MySpace/Facebook profile pages, search engines, videos, life management tools and much more.

  4. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Typical naivete. What are they learning sitting here? They are learning how to learn. How far would anyone here have gotten without the ability to learn? Who here learned by flipping through channels on cable television, which was the internet before there was an internet? What percentage of internet surfers regularly use the internet to learn something of value?

    You could download the entire Java platform in minutes, for free. You could find tutorials and tips that would enable you to implement Java to create your own web applications. Hands up all those who plan to make use of that wonderful, totally free resource any time soon? Me neither. I learn in classroom settings because it helps me focus and it keeps me accountable.

    The internet can be a wonderful aid to learning, providing the information of a thousand libraries in a matter of minutes, but those who confuse the internet with learning haven’t been paying attention. The internet is still more like cable TV (or 900-chat lines) than college. The kids who smiled about the number of Facebook profiles they will read and the pages of emails they will compose are the reason we are no longer competitive as a society. Many of them won’t be able to afford homes because they will have wasted their educational years on social networking instead of learning how to learn.

  5. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 18, 2008 at 4:47 am

    Really comes down to staying ahead of the curve – either you are a real estate leader, a follower, or a non-factor. Do old school techniques still work? Sure. Print ads, open houses, etc still have some success. But if you turn a blind eye toward other options, you are a dinosaur waiting to become extinct.

  6. Matthew Rathbun

    June 18, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Benn – Sorry to hear that you’re getting bored, I thought it might be me. I like Twitter, but honestly I am having issues both reading and writing original posts. I think that writing a local blog is much easier than an industry one. The local areas and growing, changing and gossiping. The industry has the same good and bad points that it’s always had.

    Frank – I too, see them as spoiled brats, but so did the generation before us as they reflected. The issue is that their sphere of influence is evolving just as this class is and they’ll be in a workforce with the same mentalities over time. I think the internet has it’s advantages for relaying information, but I still think a good old fashion classroom with a good instructor is the best learning environment. Even movies and TV shows about the future still have kids sitting in classes together. I just don’t think humans (as a majority) will get over their need for interaction… Good points!

  7. Benn Rosales

    June 18, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Fyi, Ben Martin wrote that comment, not Benn 😉

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    June 18, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Whoops! I actually knew that…. it was force of habit 🙂

  9. Bill Lublin

    June 18, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Provoking Post my Commonwealth Chum! 😉

    When I see things like this I feel really old.

    Not because the conversation is so new, but because it is not. The ONLY thing that is constant is change. And the debate over the new versus the old is part of a dialogue that goes back to Socrates complaining about the kids in Ancient Greece. The more things change the more they stay the same –

    I would disagree with Ben, Social Media is a catch phrase for the use of technology to facilitate a process that is as old as man, and a basic part of our herd instinct – networking and communicating. We can’t confuse the medium with the message (regardless of McLuhan’s comment that the medium is the message)- Whether it be parchment, snail mail, e-mail , twitter, blogging, or telepathy Benn will communicate. Though the medium might change, his desire to know more and share what he knows continues. What we do electronically changes the scope and speed of our communications, but not the content as much. And its the content that is most important. Can anyone tell me that Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” is less important then this post because it was printed on paper? (Please note the nod to the great Commonwealth of Virginia)Or that the Magna Carta had less impact because it was written on parchment?

    I enjoyed the video, but the concept that something as basic as needing to accept change is new is a pain – even though I think its true – I’m just amazed that everybody isn’t aware of it yet – can’t we get the word out?

  10. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Matthew, I realize that throughout history, each generation has complained about the decline of civilization even as civilization kept marching forward. At this point in our history, I see a critical difference. We may still have the best universities in the world, but the young people taking full advantage of those universities are immigrants or the children of immigrants. The ability to use the internet to learn Java is real, but the young people using it that way are in Bangalore, not Boston. If you’re trying to look ahead to your client base ten years from now, look at building bridges to highly skilled, highly paid immigrants, because they will be driving our economy. This will be a challenge for an industry that has historically been led by the perspective of old, white men.

  11. Bob

    June 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    We may still have the best universities in the world, but the young people taking full advantage of those universities are immigrants or the children of immigrants.

    That has always been the case. We are a nation of immigrants.

  12. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Bob, I think you’ll find the split towards immigrants and first generation children of immigrants is more dramatic now than it has been in decades. The post-boomer generations have been complacent.

  13. Bob

    June 18, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Frank, I think complacent is an apt description. We tend to expect opportunity to land in our lap while others seek it.

    Confucius say, “Man who wait for Peking Duck to fly into mouth will soon starve.”

    I think this applies to the narrow 2.0 mindset of some agents as well. The one that says “If I blog, they will come”.

  14. Frank Jewett

    June 18, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Bob, several local brokers have expressed frustration with agents whose marketing plan consists of a website and/or blog and waiting patiently by the phone.

  15. Missy Caulk

    June 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Matt, that is a powerful video. As a mother of 3 in college…I would have to agree with alot of it, especially buying those 100 and 200 text books that rarely get opened. Then sell on Amazon for 1.2 price.

  16. Bill Lublin

    June 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    We may still have the best universities in the world, but the young people taking full advantage of those universities are immigrants or the children of immigrants.

    SO three out of four of my my Grandparents were immigrants –
    Their children, went to those colleges, My Mom – Pennslyvania College of Optometry, her sisters , University of Pennsylvania, Derexel University,
    Their Children, Penn State, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Rutgers, Temple University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania (again) (and married two immigrants who also attended those schools)
    Their Children; Yale, Princeton, Syracuse, ….
    I think I can stop… these immigrants provided several Doctors, Lawyers, Economists, Business Owners, Professors, Artists, – So what’s the point when you say

    look at building bridges to highly skilled, highly paid immigrants, because they will be driving our economy

    What is new or insightful about that ? The immigrants and children of immigrants in my family helped drive the economy. With the exception of the Native American Population who isn’t an immigrant here? (And even they may have migrated from Asia over the land bridge) –
    Tacky Frank – just tacky

  17. Frank Jewett

    June 19, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Bill, I was referring only to the first generation of immigrants and their children, not every single generation that ever descended from an immigrant. You also seem confused about my purpose, which wasn’t to criticize or denigrate immigrants, but to point out that more recent immigrants are driving the economy.

    Here in Santa Clara County we have a very diverse population. Our organized real estate community is also diverse with Asian, Indian, Hispanic, and other affiliate groups modeled along the lines of affiliate groups like the Woman’s Council of Realtors.

    In my time in the industry, several people have privately questioned the purpose of these affiliate groups, posing the rhetorical question “What would they say if we formed a white men’s association of Realtors?”

    I didn’t have the nerve to point out that such organizations have existed for decades, from NAR to the state and local AORs. Affiliates like WCR formed because the needs of their membership were being ignored by the old white men running the business.

    Perhaps it has gotten better, but insiders tell me that we still have a long way to go and I believe it because the rhetorical question above is a direct quote I’ve heard on more than one occaision.

    What does this have to do with my earlier comments?

    Old attitudes about other cultures aren’t going to be competitive in the 21st century, at least not here in Santa Clara County. People who look down their noses at Asians, Indians, and other recent immigrants are going to be missing out on some of the most talented and successful members of our society.

  18. Bill Lublin

    June 19, 2008 at 3:56 am

    @Frank;
    Point taken – (I unruffle my feathers and apologize for the misunderstanding) – And I would agree with you, but I think that the “New Americans” have always had the best work ethics, because they usually come from harsher environments, and may not have had the opportunity to improve their situations before. Perhaps they are just more appreciative of what a wonderful place we live

    I agree with your comment about Associations. I belong to NAHREP as well as NAR (no I’m not Hispanic, but you don;t need to be to join, I’m just supportive of Hispanichome ownership – Helck – I think everyone should own real estate) The Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS is a charter member of NAR founded in 1908. In my time I have seen the first Female President and the First African American President (whose term was the year before mine IN THE 1990’S). And thank Goodness things have gotten some better – but there are savants and fools of every type-

    Guess we just need to keep working at- But it was fun trying to remember everyone’s schools and brag on the family a little bit 😉

  19. Frank Jewett

    June 19, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Here’s the citation I couldn’t find when I first responded to this post:

    “Two-thirds of the Ph.D.s in engineering awarded by U.S. universities went to non-U.S. citizens.” – Forbes

    Tying it back together, the attitude depicted in the video above is not the attitude of an over-achiever being held back by an antequated educational system, but rather the attitude of the spoiled brat who hasn’t made the connection between the ability to learn and the ability to achieve. Such people may well spend a disproportionate amount of their time on Facebook. They are falling behind.

    Am I disappointed? Nope. It’s human nature.

    I’m grateful that immigrants still see this country as the land of opportunity. We need their desire because our own is lacking, as shown by the statistic above. The forward thinking Realtor should spend as much time developing an appreciation for other cultures as she or he does learning how to blog and tweet.

  20. Frank Jewett

    June 19, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Bill, I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to find the Forbes quote when I first responded. It probably would have helped illustrate what I was talking about. My great grandfather used to say “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations”, which was his way of describing how work ethic leads to opportunity which leads to success which leads to complacency over the course of a few generations. When I looked at that video, I saw ignorance and complacency. College isn’t about learning to sit in a seat, it’s about learning how to study, analyze, and learn because your ability to do those things will determine your success over the course of your life.

  21. Bill Lublin

    June 19, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Frank – Your Great Grandfather was a smart guy! And I agree completely with your analysis of the college opportunity, but let’s not forget the rest of the experience – football, bars, and parties (I was the Penn State guy obviously!)
    😀

  22. Jay Thompson

    June 19, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Thought I’d add something deep and profound to the conversation here:

    That video kicks ass.

  23. Sue

    June 20, 2008 at 7:50 am

    That was a good video… Obviously those kids are future home buyers and look how they spend their time! I believe its important to keep up with technology. Some of the old school ways work, but the real estate future seems to be constantly changing and evolving. The statistics and comparisons were interesting, really makes you think. I think I got lots more sleep than 7 hours when i was that age…Sad that only 18% of teachers knew the kids name.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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