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Depeche Mode and the cool kids of social media- 1986 all over again

I have noticed a trend of late, that brings me back to 1984. I am a young teen in a small New England town and I have discovered punk, new wave and alternative music. I have fallen in love with this movement and have created a one woman punk rock support group in my little town. Focal to my music selection was Depeche Mode.

Most of my peers thought my appearance (spiked hair, steps, dyed rat tail, copious eyeliner, safety pin earrings and fishnets) was odd enough, but if they paused to ask what I was playing in my “Walkman” (yes the original cassette type) and stayed long enough to listen, they were convinced of my oddity. Almost no one liked Depeche Mode. This very Lynard Skynard crowd was not ready to progress, they didn’t want synthesizers and beat boxes, it was strange and new and foreign. I was there early, I was first and I felt very cool.

Fast forward to about 1986 or so and suddenly they are all sporting parachute pants, edgy haircuts and {GASP} listening to Depeche Mode. Well that was it for me. I was pissed.

Depeche Mode was MY music darnit and they had hated it. I had been a fan for years and they mocked me. These weren’t real fans; they couldn’t appreciate Depeche Mode properly and I was over it. I gave serious consideration to divorcing Depeche Mode…I was not like these new comers, I was cooler.

Luckily, I came to my senses and Depeche Mode and I remain close

Believe it or not, I have a real estate point to make in sharing this story about my musical past.

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A few weeks ago many of my real estate friends and peers attended NAR. I couldn’t go, so I watched their online postings carefully to try to learn from them and see what I had missed.

Was I ever surprised to see that many of them came home feeling like I did when everyone else started listening to Depeche Mode. I saw messages that they think social media has been co-opted or is over and they are disappointed to the point of leaving the social media space. HUH?

Many of the people who were talking smack about social media were people who earn their living FROM social media.

Depeche Mode much?

Seriously, I smell sour grapes. The cool kids don’t get to be the “in the know” crowd if the normal vendors learn our voodoo and hawk their wares on the lanes of real estate conferences.

They want to be the only ones and if these other vendors show up speaking of social media then it must be quackery….snake oil, I tell you, snake oil. Even more amusing to me is the fact that they haven’t seen this coming. Social media is being embraced by everyone and is totally mainstream. Your mom is probably on Facebook and Depeche Mode is heard on muzak in the grocery store. Does that lower the “coolness” quotient? Perhaps, but it opens the doors to lots more exposure, too.

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Now I agree with my fellow AG author, Herman Chan, when he gets upset with the vendors who are trying capitalize on non-tech agent’s naivete by putting the words social media into products and services that are not, in fact, social media. That IS crap. But to all the others that are just bent out of shape because social media has gone mainstream and is popular, I say you just don’t get it.

I was not at NAR, but I know one thing to be true in real estate marketing: you will do what works for you. If cold calling works, you will use it and you will prosper. For me, and many others, the thing that works is social media.

It isn’t snake oil if it works, folks.

I am a REALTOR who has seen success by utilizing social media tools and I say it is good for us that social media is going mainstream. This means our clients will better understand the power of what we are working on and the buyers will be more likely to find our efforts online.

Social media use is growing at an unbelievable pace and for the young home buyers of today social media is like oxygen, it has just always been there. This isn’t over folks, far from it and leaving the space because someone else found it, too, is just silly. Don’t let yourself be Depeche Mode-ed.

You see, Depeche Mode would not have had so many songs make it to the top of the charts if the mainstream public didn’t eventually embrace their music. The cool kids of social media should get over themselves a little bit and recognize that while we were the early adopters, we can’t own the internet any better than I could own Depeche Mode.

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Written By

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.



  1. Ken Brand

    November 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    True, it’s not Snake Oil or Lame, it’s a tool. Like always, what matters is who you are and what you do with the tool. Turns out, we’re the Silver Bullet, always have been…of course some Silver Bullets are faster, sharper and shinier than others.

    Great points Leslie.

    • LesleyLambert

      November 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      I like the concept that we ourselves are the silver bullet.


    November 20, 2010 at 2:35 am

    SM can be a beautiful thing & productive tool when done right, as leslie clearly demonstrates. other times it can be a waste of time. And if someone wants to bail b/c others are “wedging” their way into the SM turf, well then that someone probably wasnt really a fan of SM to begin with. SM is indeed here to stay, but it ain’t for everyone. i’m just sayin’! 😉

  3. Rob McCance

    November 20, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    If SM can generate leads for you, go for it.

    If not, what’s the point?

    Realtors should concentrate their efforts on things that produce clients. I’m still waiting for a working Realtor or Broker to tell me how SM ever produced more than the random client here and there, if at all.

    And I mean SM directly, not SM as a vehicle to move a website up the rankings so the website captured the lead.

    • LesleyLambert

      November 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      I have had several sales this year directly tied to Twitter and Facebook alone. It does work for many of us, but not for all, certainly.

      • Rob McCance

        November 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm



        Perhaps you can help me then understand how. Let’s take the Twitter one.

        How did it go down?

        Someone was following your tweets and then became a client? If so, why were they following in the first place?

        This isn’t an interrogation or a challenge, I’m truly just trying to understand how this can/does happen. Perhaps many others would be interested in the exact mechanism as well.

        [maybe you could develop and market it to Realtors: “how to generate clients using Twitter”]



  4. Lisa Oden

    November 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Hey Leslie! I liked Depeche Mode back then, and still like them now. 🙂 I am loving Social Media for the opportunities it has opened for me. It has brought me client referrals, lots of knowledge, business relationships and some totally fabulous friends!
    If “mainstream” business picks up on it too, then fine. I like it because I like it and it works. I’m mature enough to share my toys, without picking them up and taking them home. 🙂

  5. Bob Wilson

    November 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    SM is a sphere of influence tool. It wont replace search for generating business with people you dont already know.

    The funny thing about this discussion is that those who believe SM is the end all usually suck at search or dont understand the laser-like targeting of PPC.

    • Rob McCance

      November 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      I’m not even trying to polarize this, I’m not trying to “win.”

      I really just want a SM fan/user to tell me exactly how they landed a client via SM. And preferably one that actually closed and generated a normal arms length commission.

      I can show you 23 closed for 2010 that came directly from search and PPC. I can track them all the way back to their original registration on my site and (probably – with some work) even tell you what KW they searched or which PPC ad they clicked on if it was not organic.

      I know a lot of people like SM for the “social” aspects and that’s fine. I enjoy that aspect as well. Mostly speaking about blogging.

      For me personally though, if a “lead generation” activity is not generating real leads, in quantity, I’m not doing it.


        November 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm

        hi rob
        the biggest examples for me are Facebook. ppl who i went to highschool and college with (who i have not talked to in literally 15-20 yrs!) said they were looking for a place, or their parents need to sell their property and they saw i sold real estate on FB. (prolly 5 in the past year or so. and yes all the deals closed and normal commission) it’s just an extension of my sphere, like bob said.
        i can’t give u an example of twitter (yet). it is much harder on that platform, indeed! but the twitter postings just re-enforce the brand/personality/website so hopefully it is helping me close deals by extension.

        from door knocking to tweeting, good luck to all!

        • Rob McCance

          November 20, 2010 at 10:13 pm

          I could see that one (Facebook) for sure.

        • Bob Wilson

          November 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

          Hey Herman,

          I can see Facebook for that, but its basically sphere of influence follow up. I think what Rob and I are looking at it is how many transactions can people document from people they didnt already know?

          PPC and search is geared towards pulling in people you dont already know. Most SM doesnt do that in the same amount of time. For instance, if your market is 2nd homes, or an area where in migration relocation accounts for a decent % of the market, SM iusnt going to be as effective.

          For me the snake oil label applies to those who sell it based on the line that if you dont do this you will be out of business. That just isnt true.

          • Darin

            November 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm

            Rob and Bob – to me this isn’t a “prove how social media works!” That would be liking saying “prove to me PPC works” when you have a crappy landing page and don’t have your website lead conversion optimized.

            This is not an all or nothing thing. Social media is tactic, not a strategy. But PPC is the same, its a tactic, not a strategy.

            To me all this stuff blends together to develop your inbound marketing strategy, it is a part of your whole business development strategy.

            And keep in mind everything works, nothing doesn’t.


            November 25, 2010 at 1:31 am

            hola bob,
            i guess i don’t analyze it that much. i mean to me, be it from my sphere or stranger, a deal is a deal.

  6. Kelsey Teel

    November 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm


    Loved your article! It reminds me of when you had to have a college email address to sign up for a Facebook profile. I remember when my mom, aunt, long lost cousin, and even my grandma started to get profiles. Let’s just say the tone of my online voice  changed quite a bit. It felt like an invasion of my social life and the social platform Facebook provided. Everything had to be censored now because it wasn’t just my friends and peers seeing it, it was EVERYONE. A lot of my friends quit right then and there because they didn’t see a point in Facebooking anymore. I adjusted to the change and now I take advantage of the convenient form of communication. In fact, I’m glad everyone jumped on the facebook train. It’s a fabulous resource. 

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