A hubbub of technological euphoria swirls in real estate. It’s been here since the early days of agent domain squatters and will likely last well past Real Estate Connect 2008, where talking heads, brokers, innovators, technologists and bloggers sipped from the Pixie Sticks of cool and trendy.

Web 2.0. It’s now a bona fide addiction. Connect proved that. The merry band of bloggers and Twitterers mingled, typed and grooved to the orange and green.

Part one of a two-part series.

A hubbub of technological euphoria swirls in real estate. It’s been here since the early days of agent domain squatters and will likely last well past Real Estate Connect 2008, where talking heads, brokers, innovators, technologists and bloggers sipped from the Pixie Sticks of cool and trendy.

Web 2.0. It’s now a bona fide addiction. Connect proved that. The merry band of bloggers and Twitterers mingled, typed and grooved to the orange and green.

For some, it has become a lifestyle. But this stuff can also be a van loaded with weapons, packed and ready to go.

Or it can be a gravesite out by the highway — a place nobody knows.

And gunfire off in the distance

By the close of Connect, dozens sat in airports Twittering about sitting in the airport. Others madly signed up "friends" on social networks. Bloggers blogged to other bloggers about all the blogging taking place at the conference.

I spent the weekend sifting though e-mails, accepting and denying invites from people I do not know.

I wondered how any of this helps build business.

Of course I get Web 2.0. But with a calm reserve. Enthusiasts might note that my year-old consulting firm has benefitted greatly from our blog, but that would detract from the experience my business partner and I have inside this industry.

And herein lies a balance I feel is often overlooked by the preachers, teachers and believers. The promiscuous social necking and compost heap of useless tweets that steam atop the real estate "conversation" often, for me anyway, have no correlation to terrestrial real estate excellence.

Real estate is in the market equivalent of wartime. The battle fought between what’s trendy and what’s real. Between anecdotal and fact. Between hype and truth. Between profit and loss. With so many Web 2.0 tools and applications now being deployed onto real estate it feels as if practitioners are armed with only a fuse. Bullets of random advice are pinging off your helmets daily. Your efforts ricocheting out of control.

The explosive power of deeper thinking and real application of these revolutionary tools is left unharnessed and lost.

Three passports and a couple of visas

Video, mapping, blogs, vertical social networks — these Web 2.0 tools are sound. But I wonder how are you applying them? How are you not applying them? Are you caught up in a facile enthusiasm, spending days and nights Twittering about what you’re doing instead of Twittering about the consequential benefit of that activity to your clients? Are you scratching your head wondering what the heck the bottom line is on all this stuff?

And she was

I now find myself believing that real estate had it right all along. That buying a home is different than buying a used car. Or airline tickets. Or shoes. While there are things we can and must borrow from Web 2.0 — both in spirit and application — it is, and will always be, a complement, not a replacement, for the old-fashioned tenets of real estate services that are born out of providing a deep sense of intellectual guidance and benefit to the consumer.

Real estate. As in the song lyrics by "Talking Heads": "This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, This ain’t no fooling around, No time for dancing, or lovey dovey," or stumbling publicly through the learning curve of tools and technology.

"You ain’t got time for that now!"

This is part one of a two-part series. Next week: a deep, balanced dive into the new tools, what they mean and how to get the most out of them.

Marc Davison is a partner at 1000watt Consulting. He can be reached at marc@1000wattconsulting.com.

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