Photo courtesy of Glutnix at Creativecommons.org
I am amazed at the amount of misinformation that floats around RE.net. People don’t know the role or function of their local state or national associations. They aren’t clear on the prupose and function of their blogs, or relationship with the public.
This is my opportunity to make a couple of statements that I believe to be factual:
- NAR does not own or operate an MLS
- An MLS is a business to business platform by its very definition.
- The MLS is not a public utility.
- An MLS may have a public facing web site, but that is an advertising function for its members, not an inherent part of its basic reason for existence
- The Real Estate Industry is a business. That business is not the dissemination of information.
- We disseminate product information for business purposes (marketing and advertising) and not as a public service.
- Social Media can serve a purpose in our business as a networking tool, but the educational quality of that Media is determined by the quality of the material provided.
- Since there is NO control over that quality, great care should be taken in determining what information should be relied upon or used.
Social Media also serves a purpose in allowing individuals who wish to remain anonymous during the research phase of their real estate purchase to learn about real estate companies and professionals through their on-line presence, before deciding who they will contact. Towards that end we provide information to attract consumers, but that is a strategy for acquiring clients and customers, and is not our core business, which is still providing services that facilitate the sale, transfer, exchange and leasing of real property.
Less important then the number of people blogging is the number of people reading Blogs. According to Business-week,quoting a study done by Forrester research, only 1/4 of the adult on-line community reads even one blog per month. While we may, in the real estate industry, be the beneficiary of a larger readership (though there is no empirical evidence that would indicate that) blogging, twittering, facebook, may all be transient forms of communication to reach consumers.
I’m not saying that they are, merely that we don’t know if they are the end method of information dispersal or (more likely) a transient phase of what they may evolve into. But I do believe that as the face of communication changes, our industry needs to move with it, to ascertain where the consumer will be looking for answers. and be prepared to met them at that location. And with that, we have a need to make sure that when we type and publish we provide the consumer with more of what we know , as well as what we think, while being careful to point out the difference.