In the time it took to read this sentence:
A new idea was born.A new innovation that will change the world just emerged. A new business registered. A new way of thinking is now viral.
The speed-of-light change is coursing through every industry. Each has its own examples of those who are part of the movement. They come in three forms: the map makers, the ship captains and the willing passengers. Each needs the others.
And every industry has examples of those who chose not to be part of the movement. They come in three forms: the disbelievers, the stubborn and the uniformed.
Real estate is on the fast track of change. It has its share of map makers and disbelievers, ship captains and the uninformed, willing passengers and the stubborn.
I’ve been short on sleep lately. If you’re a sailor you’ll understand why. The wind of change is blowing steadily at 30 knots and I’m Columbus out on the Web’s open seas — looking for new worlds to discover, new ideas to grab onto, to cultivate. What a time to be alive, I think.
My RSS reader chugs along pouring hundreds of new articles a day into my engine. I carry the Web in my palm so I don’t miss a thing.
What kind of life is that? It’s exhilarating. Besides, what’s the alternative? Wading in the shallows? Staying tied to the dock? I can’t imagine that. Not now. The consequences are too high. Information is freedom. Freedom from dependency. Freedom from manipulation. Freedom to form your own opinions rather than be influenced by the masses. Freedom to succeed while others wonder how.
Tending the Garden
I plant seeds. I consider my registration on new 2.0 sites my little contribution to the online garden where seasons change daily. I willingly sign up for sites that capture me for all the right reasons — where the benefits are obvious. I join a network, mingle with fellow humans, participate in history in the making.
Many of the sites I’ve joined have grown mightily. I feel as if I am part of the solution, part of the future, a viable member of a worldwide community that enacts change.
I’m a dreamer. I believe that one day social networks, due to the mass participation from humans all over the planet, will drive massive and positive change worldwide. At the very least, it further flattens our world and opens up channels to do business with people we otherwise would never meet.
Look What I Stumbled Upon
Awhile back I stumbled upon Stumbleupon.com while customizing my Firefox browser. It has enabled me to search in ways that Google can’t by connecting my searches to related places recommended by other StumbleUpon users. It’s a referral network where people like me help each other make sense of the world. I assume you already know that.
In a way this is the start of Web 3.0 — the combination of search with the collective knowledge of a community.
What does this mean for real estate?
Are you being StumbledUpon? How many people are tripping into your gardens and spreading your seeds out to others? How many of your sites are growing into towering beanstalks? Being spread virally across the fertile soil of social networks that attract boomers like me down to your next client 20 years from now?
How many of you are shriveling from a lack of fertilizer and water?
Real estate brokers and agents want to be at the center of the transaction. Cool. What are you doing about it? Real estate search begins on the Web where it appears only 65 percent of industry professionals have established some sort of presence (usually a poorly designed vanity Web site geared toward “capturing” consumers.)
Here’s the opportunity: Millions of consumers are out there on the Web, planting seeds like me. They are connecting, stumbling upon others for referrals.
Imagine a real estate version of StumbleUpon where the home-search paradigm factors in age, gender and special interests. Results would be ranked, tagged and guided by other site users.
Imagine a StumbleUpon agent finder. StumbleUpon Brokerages. StumbleUpon Neighborhoods. The possibilities are endless.
You can sit and imagine (and look at what they are accomplishing), remain blissfully unaware or build something of your own. If you do build something, I’ll be among the first to sign up. Judging by the success of past sites I’ve discovered and signed up on, it seems l have a green thumb.
What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.