Here’s a somewhat sobering thought, courtesy of Ken Brand, one of the writers from my former stomping grounds at Agent Genius.
“Transparency” easily is the most overused word in the real estate business these days. It’s used to describe multiple situations and these days is used as a side effect of the social media revolution – through Twitter, Facebook and the like we (not just real estate agents “we” but all of us “we”) are giving some insight into our lives.
But there are decided differences in the level of transparency. For instance, if you want to see an inkling of my normal sense of humor, catch me on Twitter (@papgrande.) I’d say I am a solid PG-13 and intentionally don’t brand myself outside the ubiquitous photo of Tobey and me because I’m not really looking for business there.
Facebook, as I joked the other day to a friend, is as transparent as Pravda. (Take a look at Jeff Brown a.k.a. BawldGuy’s example here.) I’m a professional salesperson and, human as we may be, we’re not permitted to have a bad day publicly. There always are exceptions and I’ve been known to rant as much as anyone else. But what you’re going to see in the updates on Facebook often are going to be distilled versions of what’s happening.
Some may have an issue with that … I can tell you right now the social media “experts” will decry the concept of limited disclosure and message. And to that I say, “pfffffft.”
Let’s be real here … my own wife doesn’t necessarily want to know everything that I’m doing during a given day so I think it’s safe to assume most strangers don’t either.
Now for the big question – why do I treat Twitter and Facebook differently? Maybe it’s the nature of Twitter (or a byproduct of using a dynamic application such as Tweetdeck) that the 140-or-fewer characters I enter disappear shortly thereafter. Or maybe it’s the sheer volume of distractions on Facebook. (Can someone explain to me the fascination with Mafia Wars and why I want to be part of someone’s crew?)
And just maybe, it’s because Facebook is daunting as hell as far as connections go. My graduating class was more than 680 people deep and just over one-third of those folks now are on Facebook. I find myself poring through the list, trying to remember some names, wishing I could forget a couple of others and otherwise wondering whether I spent two minutes talking to these folks without their picking on me, as I was a bit on the small and bookish side back then.
Also, as has been discovered at past reunions, there are some I remember who since have forgotten about me and it’s probably best to leave those situations at that stage.
What the point is, assuming I had one, is it’s a bit odd reaching back into the past to talk to some people … Facebook makes it easier but I’m not sure it makes it less awkward.
Yet I agree with Ken’s basic thesis … that this is where communication will take place in the future. My wife, who is a lovely woman but mostly computer illiterate, continually asks me if I heard this news or that news that appears on Facebook. I’ve got more than 500 so-called “friends” on Facebook, many of whom are real estate agents elsewhere, so I tend to miss a lot of what pops up on the updates on my wall.
Perhaps the answer would be distill the list of “friends” to a more manageable number but, again, I’m in sales. The more the merrier and the more people who connect with me there and through my business page, the better. Or so my ego tells me. And also common sense in as much as you never know who might need a real estate agent here and, unlike Twitter where I’m competing with two dozen local agents, the competition for top of mind on Facebook exists only among each person’s sphere.
That I’m going to need to adjust my thinking in regards to Facebook seems to be beyond question. Where the real challenge will come is finding the right balance between reality and Pravda-style filtered perception so as to be simultaneously transparent, human and professional.
Just don’t poke me, okay?[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]