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The Real Estate Vacuum: It Sucks For Noobs

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real-estate-noob.jpgThis is my first post here at Genius, and since I probably have a much larger audience here than over at Real Estate Remix, I would like to address something that bothers me about the real estate blog world. The most popular blogs in the real estate realm seem to be saturated by posts that assume that their readers are extremely tech savvy and hip to the online world. With all of the sarcasm, name dropping, and “inside” jokes, you would think that this stuff is all common knowledge. I mean, I spend at least 2 hours or more per day just clicking around on Google reader and reading my favorite real estate blogs, and with all of this blog-world insider articles out there, sometimes even I feel like I’m out of the loop. And I know for a fact that I’m saturated in it. Who else has dreams that they get to go to Connect NYC?

Can you imagine what a first time reader would think about all this? I can tell you what my co-workers think… NERDS! What are we trying to accomplish in our writing? We are starting to write to our savvycolleagues first, customers second. True, most readers of blogs come from inside this tech-savvy tight circle… but are we really trying to reach them? If you need links from them, maybe. If you are trying to make blog friends, surely. But if you are trying to present useful, long lasting information… don’t write to yourcolleagues.

A blog positions you as an expert in your industry. Use that platform to educate, not just critique. When you start to assume that your readers know about everything you do, you will never take a step down and realize that there are millions of real estate professionals who don’t know the first thing about blogging or wordpress, much less the stories behind VFlyer, Redfin, Trulia, Google Base, Zillow, FOREM, Tomato, RSS Pieces, Carnival of RE, Inman Connect BlogFiesta, The Sellsius Bus, or even Active Rain. Of course, they all know about AgentGenius :). At this point, I see around 2,000 registered profiles in Texas on ActiveRain. Only a fraction of a percent of those people actually use it regularly. That means an enormous amount of real estate professionals in this great state have not even created a profile.

I know you may think that posting an introduction to ActiveRain article will make you look really, really behind to your fellow bloggers. They may stick their nose up at your post. You may think “that is so last year”. But the truth is, those old posts are buried in the blogging rubble, and when a bonafide “noob” hits the average real estate related blog for the first time, the first thing they will say is “WTF”. Of course, there are certain blogs (like this one) that clearly have audiences that prefer a more relaxed yet in-depth look at the industry. Like my Grandma says, there’s a place for everything and everything has a place.

The thing that floors me is when I discuss real estate marketing, SEO, or social networking with freinds or coworkers. Their unfamiliarity with online world baffles me. The basics seem like common knowledge by now. But they are not even close. They have real lives. Veteran real estate bloggers and tech experts should be happy though, the chasm between those “in the know” about online real estate and the novices is widening exponentially by the month. Just like any other skill, it takes a lot of time to catch up. And the vets are way ahead of the game.

Who’s reaching out to the noobs? But then again, who really cares?

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    October 18, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Bang! Great post. This is what genius is all about. If you read my recent post on blog networking, Daniels post on twitter, or even his road map to social networking- we’re filling this vacuum. I’m glad you know your audience, and hopefully you can bring the marketing element needed to tie it all together… once again, great post.

  2. Shailes Ghimire

    October 18, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    Carson,

    Brilliant.

    Too many bloggers talk about inside stuff. Quite honestly I get tired of reading the one-up-manship sometimes. I mean if I’m in the market for an agent I really don’t care about their views on Redfin are – okay. Show me what you know and why I should choose you.

    Even though the general population may not be aware of the nuances of blogging etc, they do know about Google. They’ll most likely search your name and find your blog. If you’re slamming some cartoon vote by the NAR in your most recent five posts – I’m not sure the potential client really will think you’re the right agent to sell your home.

    Unless you’re writing for a national audience like in the Genius or Bloodhound my philosophy is to stick with your expertise. Any potential buyer/borrower should come to your blog and leave thinking they really learned a lot and are better for it. Then they’ll call you. Otherwise they’ll tune you out. I mean seriously do you really think they care about your reaction to some blog joke? No.

  3. Mariana - Springs Realty Scoop

    October 18, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Who IS reaching out to the Noobs??? This is the first post in a long time that I didnt just scan -I mean, I DID start to scan it, but had to go back and read each word.
    I teach internet and technology in our office of about 300 agents. Every day I am faced with how LITTLE most agents know. In fact, the word “blog” was brought up in passing and another agent said, “Oh! That is what Mariana is!” (apparently I am a blog – not even a blogger, just a blog.)… THAT is how little agents (as a whole) know.
    Do I really care? No, not really. IMHO if an agent WANTS to “be in the know” then they will figure out a way to be “in the know” – otherwise they will be successfull in their own ways.
    Thanks for the thoughtful post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  4. Chris Lengquist

    October 19, 2007 at 2:39 am

    Carson, remember that time…

    You make an excellent point. But I think newbies just have to jump in. You build relationships and without realizing gravitate towards blogs/authors you like.

    But you are right. We wall need to keep that in mind.

  5. Todd Carpenter

    October 19, 2007 at 6:15 am

    Carson,

    Great minds think alike. In addition to Blog Fiesta, My business partner and I are putting together a blog that represents the absolute most basic tutorials on how RE agents, and other sales professionals can jump into the shallow end of the Internet pool. It’s called brainious.com.

    This new blog is even more basic than agentgenius. We’ll be talking about stuff like why you should use Firefox, how to join gmail, what is RSS, and more. I think the average person who likes to read Mashable, or GeekEstate might consider it torture to read our blog, but my Mom will like it, and that’s who I’m shooting for.

  6. kellys

    October 19, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I totally agree. I get so frustrated when a realtor asks me about blogging for real estate and wants the techie stuff up on their site but then gets agitated when they aren’t getting any leads. Realtors need to decide who their audience is and what the goal of their blog is. I sometimes think they get frustrated unnecessarily. If you want techie stuff on your blog, then expect leads to be fewer than if you put info, info, info on your site for potential clients.

    Back to the basics folks. Write for your audience.

  7. Benn Rosales

    October 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Genius isn’t basic- but we do keep in mind that there are about 250 agents out of 1.5 million that are actually current on what a mashup is.

  8. Scott

    October 19, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Amen, brother. As a not-quite-Boomer, not-quite-Xer in age, I’m new-ish to the tools and tone of the real estate blogosphere, but one thing I’ve noted: The cool, hip arrogance of many real estate bloggers who rail against the system, who pity those poor morons who don’t blog or understand blogs, and who attack the invisible good old boys club that (according to them) makes the real estate rules. And it’s more ironic that some of those bloggers, with their over-the-top opinions and conspiracy theories, are themselves creating a kind of closed club…that says loud and clear, “if you’re not cool enough to blog and drop names like we do and agree with us, you’re not cool enough to be a part of our little coalition of the arrogant and ill-informed. Granted, it’s NOT all real estate bloggers. But there’s definitely that thread.

  9. Todd Carpenter

    October 19, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    “Never drop names while blogging”. That’s the advice Dustin Luther gave me while attending Drew Meyer’s Geek Estate premier party on the night before Inman Connect. 😉

    I just want to add, I think the tone of exclusivity that some of you a perceiving is not completely accurate. The Internet has a way of masking a person’s otherwise friendly nature. I bet I met a hundred bloggers this summer, it totally changed my perception of many of them.

  10. ARDELL

    October 19, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks names like “AgentGenius” and “Brainius.com” are too agent-centric to be said in the same breath as blogging?

  11. Todd Carpenter

    October 19, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    I picked brainious because I thought it sounded silly.

  12. Carson

    October 19, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    I really dont see any reason (except for the love of the game) for an agent to write about hardcore in-depth industry topics and trends…

    However, it does show expertise in marketing, and industry knowledge, which would be good for attracting sellers.

    Blogs like this are exempt… otherwise, writing this post would have been extremely hypocritical.

    Oh well… forget the noobs, it’s boring to write to them anyway.

  13. Benn Rosales

    October 20, 2007 at 12:13 am

    ha

  14. joseph ferrara.sellsius

    October 21, 2007 at 1:14 am

    All true. We often forget that the new kids to the party don’t know what the heck we’re talking about. But it doesn’t take long to figure it all out. It’s like a soap opera– watch it for a week and you know who’s doing who.
    Todd– love your idea. I had someone ask me recently how to put in a link.

  15. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 22, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Some agents just enjoy the techie stuff for its own sake. For those of us who understand technology to one degree or another, it puts us a step a head of the pack. A friend of mine is taking ePro online. I refuse unless I can get CE credit for it. But what she was describing was very Mickey Mouse and she was STRUGGLING with it! Don’t get me wrong. This person is senior to me as a broker and is far more established. In many ways she doesn’t need the internet as much as I do, but I and others like me are filling a void in our locations. We have a dearth of bloggers in my area – and I’m hoping that the information I provide will pull consumers towards me before they pick up the phone to call the “super agent” who can barely print things out from the MLS.

    The main thing that is striking is that everything is so EXTREME. A very few know how to exploit the internet – the rest seem to know little or nothing. It’s not just a void, its a chasm.

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Opinion Editorials

Facebook fights falsehoods (it’s a false flag)

(EDITORIAL) Facebook has chosen Reuters to monitor its site for false information, but what can one company really do, and why would Facebook only pick one?

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Reuters checks facebook

So Facebook has finally taken a step to making sure fake news doesn’t get spread on it’s platform. Like many a decision from them though, they haven’t been thorough with their venture.

I am a scientifically driven person, I want facts, figures, and evidence to determine what is reality. Technology is a double edged sword in this arena; sure having a camera on every device any person can hold makes it easy to film events, but deepfakes have made even video more questionable.

Many social media platforms have tried to ban deepfakes but others have actually encouraged it. “I’ll believe it when I see it” was the rally cry for the skeptical, but now it doesn’t mean anything. Altering video in realistic ways has destroyed the credibility of the medium, we have to question even what we see with our eyes.

The expansion of the internet has created a tighter communication net for all of humanity to share, but when specific groups want to sway everyone else there isn’t a lot stopping them if they shout louder than the rest.

With the use of bots, and knowing the specifics of a group you want to sway, it’s easy to spread a lie as truth. Considering how much information is known about almost any user on any social media platform, it’s easy to pick targets that don’t question what they see online.

Facebook has been the worst offender in knowing consumer data and what they do with that data. Even if you never post anything political, they know what your affiliation is. If you want to delete that information, it’s hidden in advertising customization.

Part of me is thrilled that Facebook has decided to try and stand against this spread of misinformation, but how they pursued this goal is anything but complete and foolproof.

Reuters is the news organization that Facebook has chosen to fact check the massive amount of posts, photos, and videos that show up on their platform everyday. It makes sense to grab a news organization to verify facts compared to “alternative facts”.

A big problem I have with this is that Reuters is a company, companies exist to make money. Lies sell better than truths. Ask 2007 banks how well lies sell, ask Enron how that business plan worked out, ask the actors from Game of Thrones about that last season.

Since Reuters is a company, some other bigger company could come along, buy them, and change everything, or put in people who let things slide. Even Captain America recognizes this process. “It’s run by people with agendas, and agendas change.” This could either begin pushing falsehoods into Facebook, or destroy Reuters credibility, and bite Facebook in the ass.

If some large group wants to spread misinformation, but can’t do it themselves, why wouldn’t they go after the number one place that people share information?

I really question if Reuters can handle the amount of information flowing through Facebook, remember almost a 3rd of the whole world uses Facebook. 2.45 Billion people will be checked by 25,800 employees at Reuters? I can appreciate their effort, but they will fail.

Why did Facebook only tag one company to handle this monumental task? If you know that many people are using your platform, and such a limited number of people work for the company you tasked with guarding the users, why wouldn’t you tag a dozen companies to tackle that nigh insurmountable number of users?

I think it’s because Facebook just needs that first headline “Facebook fights falsehoods”. That one line gets spread around but the rest of the story is ignored, or not thought about at all. If there is anything Facebook has learned about the spread of fake information on their platform, it’s how to spread it better.

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Opinion Editorials

Will shopping for that luxury item actually lower your quality of life?

(EDITORIAL) Want to buy yourself a pick-me-up? Have you thought of all the ramifications of that purchase? Try to avoid splurging on it.

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shopping bags

In an era of “treat-yo-self,” the urge to splurge is real. It doesn’t help that shopping – or what ends up being closer to impulse shopping – provides us with a hit of dopamine and a fleeting sense of control. Whether your life feels like it’s going downhill or you’ve just had a bad day, buying something you want (or think you want) can seem like an easy fix.

Unfortunately, it might not be so great when it comes to long-term happiness.

As you might have already guessed, purchasing new goods doesn’t fall in line with the minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the globe. Being saddled with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (and don’t even like!) is sure to make your mood dip, especially if the clutter makes it harder to concentrate. Plus, if you’ve got a real spending problem, the ache in your wallet is sure to manifest.

If that seems depressing, I’ve got even more bad news. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College have found yet another way spending can make us more unhappy in the long run: imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when it seems like you’re not as good as your peers and they just haven’t caught on yet. This insecurity often arises in competitive careers, academics and, apparently, shopping.

Now, there’s one big caveat to this idea that purchasing goods will make you feel inferior: it really only applies to luxury goods. I’m talking about things like a Louis Vuitton purse, a top of the line Mercedes Benz, a cast iron skillet from Williams Sonoma (or is that one just me?). The point is, the study found that about 67% of people – regardless of their income – believed their purchase was inauthentic to their “true self.”

And this imposter syndrome even existed when the luxury items were bought on sale.

Does this mean you should avoid making a nice purchase you’ve been saving up for? Not necessarily. One researcher at Cambridge found that people were more likely to report happiness for purchases that fit their personalities. Basically, a die-hard golfer is going to enjoy a new club more than someone who bought the same golf club to try to keep up with their co-workers.

Moral of the story: maybe don’t impulse buy a fancy new Apple watch. Waiting to see if it’s something you really want can save your budget…and your overall happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer got you down? Does it make your job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment without budget worries.

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better equipment, better work

Aside from bringing the boss coffee and donuts for a month before asking, what is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes. In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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