Now, where did I put my social network?

Yesterday I showed the state of California. In all fairness, it wasn’t the entire state, but just several of the larger Assembly districts. The buyer, who contacted me because he found my blog online, narrowed down his area of interest to seven ZIP codes. "Why these areas?" I asked. "I researched the demographics on ZIPskinny," he replied.

What I said: "Oh, of course!" What I thought: "Huh?"

Once again, I blinked and missed the memo. It is exhausting trying to stay current on this stuff. In the time it takes me to refill my coffee cup, 47 new tools have been introduced to improve my productivity, connect me with friends, expose my listings to buyers, inform and educate my clients, and enhance my online presence. What these tools are really doing is chipping away, ever so slowly, at my sanity, threatening to cut that fine cord that is tenuously holding together the last remaining pieces of order in my world.

Would everybody please stop innovating? I know it is not reasonable to expect that we can cease forward progress altogether, but the rate at which technology is advancing today is logarithmic. I am overwhelmed, and my clients are right there with me. Instead of turning off the innovation deluge at the valve, I am just asking that we shut the faucet off temporarily, maybe for a week or so, to allow us to catch our breath. We could even make it an annual Hallmark moment — just another way for someone to monetize my business. That should make everyone happy.

I now have an IDX solution I am quite pleased with. I like my PDA. Flickr holds my photos and WellcomeMat holds my videos just fine. My widgets are sufficient in number, and between instant chat, video blogging, PDF and spreadsheet embedding, and 8,435 social networks from which to choose, I have more than enough gadgets and curiosities to occupy my side bar and my time. I’m good.

Or maybe someone can just come up with a way to defrag my online world. I need an aggregator for my aggregators. I need an interactive table of contents to remind me on which path I have left all of my Webbed foot prints and on which sites I have dropped my breadcrumbs. I have accounts at several sites for photo hosting, several others for video posting, a couple for podcasting, one for radio, probably a dozen for connecting with "friends," two for document housing, and a countless number for listing promotion. And, each time I add a new toy to my cyber-arsenal, I broaden my reach but dilute my effectiveness. It’s out of control.

I recently became aware of Brightkite, a location-based social networking site that allows you to show your friends where you are at any particular moment. Like all new offerings, I knew I had to get me one of those. So, I shamelessly lobbied (on Twitter) for the coveted invite and immediately posted my whereabouts for the world to see. Now, the entire country thinks I am an agoraphobic shut-in, one who hasn’t left her home in a week. I have, of course (once), but like so many of my other networking tools, I sort of forgot about this one after the initial euphoria of enrollment.

My whole Web assault plan has never been much of a plan at all, but more of a magic show. Now you see me, now you don’t. It’s not that I have a problem finishing what I start, but rather that I am having serious problems remembering what it is I started in the first place. Just this morning, I was notified that someone new is connected to me on MyBlogLog. Now, that one brings back some memories! Unfortunately, those memories don’t include my login password. I see a lot of agents talking about Docstoc as the great new depository for all of those critical documents screaming to be set free from my "C" drive. I recall signing up for that one too, but even if I could remember my username I am not sure the world is ready for my daughter’s summer camp checklist or my recipe for gumbo — these being among the more interesting files on my laptop at this moment.

Being a wannabe geek, I have posted many — although bad — videos and podcasts across the Internet. Unfortunately, with so many sites available, each of which I have at least taken out for a spin, I don’t remember where I put them all. Back in the old days (2006), I finally signed up for a Google account. Then I signed up again, forgetting I had already been there. "Google" I can remember. Which account I am supposed to be logging into — the "good" one with all of my analytics and my chat, or the other — remains a daily challenge. It turns out they are both good, each with different features enabled. So, each morning finds me frantically toggling, a series of sign-ins and outs, until I finally hit pay dirt. I know I could combine the two accounts, but I don’t have time. Someone is asking to be LinkedIn.

"I need a birthday present for Lauren today, and I think Fluffy threw up." After delivering this matter-of-fact State of the Home address at 6:12 a.m. today, my daughter breezed back to the toxic waste site we like to call her bedroom, leaving us to process the information. Clearly, we have been given two action items. Although at first blush unrelated, they are both part of Emily’s (and, now my) business plan today. One of my assignments is easily discharged. I know where the mall is. The other, well, I don’t know exactly where it is that the family cat just redecorated. This one will take some investigation on my part. And, this defines my current State of the Business in a nutshell.

Where the traditional, prescribed business tasks are concerned, I am a finely oiled machine with enough systems and checklists and discipline to make me the envy of the 32nd Airborne Division. On the other hand, where my online presence is concerned, I’m a lot like Fluffy these days. I’m making a mess, and even I can’t remember where, exactly, I did it.

If anyone sees my social network, would you please drop me an instant message? I’ll be here at home (just check Brightkite). If I remember how to login, I will respond. And, maybe we can be "friends," unless of course we already are.

Kris Berg is a real estate broker associate for Prudential California Realty in San Diego. She also writes a consumer-focused real estate blog, The San Diego Home Blog.

Berg will speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008. Register today.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

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