Who Lives in Your Blogosphere?

I’m tough to buy gifts for. It drove my wife and son nuts. But they have always racked their brains and come up with some outstanding things for birthdays or Father’s day. This year my son and daughter-in-law got off easy.

Knowing how involved I had become in Blogging and social media, they bought me three terrific books for Father’s day. The New Influencers by Paul Gillin, What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting by Ted Demopoulos, and Blogging Heroes by Michael A. Banks. I started on Blogging Heroes first.

Blogging Heroes is described as a set of interviews with “30 of the worlds’ top bloggers”. The book was fascinating to me because of the diversity of the people interviewed and the blogs they ran. I’ll spend more time talking about that another time.

One of the first interviews is with Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine and author of the Long Tail. In it Chris says “There is no one blogosphere. There is an infinite number of blogospheres. My 220 feeds are not your 220 feeds”.

In our business blogs seem to fall into a number of categories. There are the peer to peer blogs, the vendor to Real estate professional blogs, the real estate professional to consumer blogs, and some consumer to consumer blogs. Each one of them has a different message for their reader, because each of the writers has a different ax to grind, and each set of blogs creates a different blogosphere that may not give any credence to , or even acknowledge the existence of the others.

In the peer to peer arena, there are examples like the blog you are reading, Teresa Boardman’s Real Estate Weenie, and of course the large players at AgentGenius (winner’s of Inman’s 2008 Innovators Award) and BloodhoundBlog. All of them are written by active real estate professionals, though AgentGenius and BloodhoundBlog are both written by multiple authors. Each of these blogs have unique personalities. Reading each of them would provide the reader with a different perception of the real estate industry, its key players, and the roles and motivations of real estate’s professional organizations.

With the exception of the views and opinions in this blog, all of these blogs have some bias generated by the position of the authors and their experience in the real estate industry. All of them (current author excepted) have opinions that are based on their experience in the industry, and unless you have held every position in every company and professional organization, that leads to a bias built around the limits of your experience. For example, a real estate professional may not truly understand the consumer’s point of view, and their stresses and issues if they have never bought a home. An agent who has never owned a company may not understand the challenges facing the owner of a brokerage. Some one who has not participated in a professional organization may not have any idea of the actual workings or motivation of that organization. But still they write – and pontificate in some instances about what they think is wrong, or unfair, or needs to be corrected.

There’s part of me that thinks that’s OK. Everyone has the right to an opinion, and to voice it. And they don’t even need to be right (though I prefer to be personally). However the problem comes in when the posts get read. The reader may not have the knowledge to dismiss an inaccurate statement, or to differentiate between a well supported opinion and an unfounded one. All too often something is taken as gospel because its on the Internet and therefore it must be right. And that’s where knowing who’s in your blogosphere becomes crucial.

You can choose to live in a blogosphere that is full of rhetoric and bombast, where the light shines all to infrequently. Or you can choose to live in a blogosphere where positions are supported by facts and discourse can lead you to change your mind, or you can change the minds of others if you make your point well. Me, I know where I choose to live.

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