Battling stereotypes isn’t anything new in my life. The phrase "young and tech-savvy" is ingrained in our minds and permeates the real estate industry.
It seems to be a fact — I read it someplace almost every day and I am not going to attempt to dispel any myths.
When I worked in the technology sector it was heavily male-dominated and the most talented women never obtained true geek status. Today, I don’t need to be a geek, because I compete in a different arena.
My heart goes out to people in their 20s and 30s who cannot live up to the "young and tech-savvy" phrase and to the women in their 60s who are geeks and technology powerhouses. The tech-savvy agents have never been fully defined, but we are told over and over that they are young.
I have tried to figure out what tech-savvy is, and it seems to revolve around consuming content from mobile devices while keeping in touch with friends.
I can do all of that without taxing my brain, but at my age it does strain the eyes and sometimes I don’t check in because I forgot where I am and when I look in the mirror I still don’t see a young person looking back.
Last year I was asked to give a presentation and asked the organizer who is widely regarded as being young and tech-savvy if there was a projector in the room. I planned on using my iPad for the presentation and explained that I have the necessary cable but needed a projector.
He told me that there is a projector in the room but that it is in the ceiling and that I would need a cable from my iPad that is several yards long to reach it. I did not laugh out loud because I am not very good with audio visual equipment myself.
I chalked it up as one of those fundamental misunderstandings between a baby boomer and a young, tech-savvy agent, and decided that I have some preconceived notions of my own that I would be better off without — like defining tech-savvy as having anything to do with understanding standard conference room equipment.
My websites and blog are magnets for first-time homebuyers, and the vast majority of them are between 25 and 35. I am no longer in that demographic, but I enjoyed it when I was. The younger homebuyers are attracted to the content because they want to know how to buy a house.
I provide that information, along with information about market conditions and consumer-related tips to help homebuyers navigate our laws and business practices.
Young homebuyers use their mobile devices, or more commonly their computers at work, to access the information I publish, and they share the information with their friends.
Content generation is not high-tech or even tech-savvy. My readers cannot tell if it was created with a Macintosh or a PC, or that the letters wore off from my keyboard long ago.
The tech-savvy young buyers consume content and information like crazy, but very few of the tech-savvy local young real estate agents generate content.
Instead, they are more likely to share content that someone else created, acting as expert curators across the social networks. Sharing content is a social approach, yet someone needs to generate content so that people have it to share and discuss.
The best way to compete for those first-time homebuyers is to generate content, build better websites and blogs, publish content, and curate the content that you cannot create.
One of the best things about the Internet is that no one can see me, but they can see what I have to offer and they contact me before they figure out that I could have gone to school with their parents.
The Internet levels the playing field and I can show what I have to offer — and it isn’t technology, it is experience.
It doesn’t matter that I cannot be called "young and tech-savvy."
My goal is to leverage my experience and to compete against my younger peers so that I can be the Realtor of choice for their peers, while at the same time taking advantage of the fact that my peers and their parents have real estate needs, too, and may even appreciate working with a dinosaur.