How does this happen? I try to reach out to a social media expert only to find that there is no way to reach him. He has a Web site but it doesn’t have his contact information on it, and I can’t find an e-mail address and there doesn’t seem to be one of those contact forms.

To make matters worse, his name on Twitter is different than his real name and I never remember what the Twitter name is because it isn’t a real word and it doesn’t make sense. I don’t know him well enough to somehow connect the screen name to his actual name.

How does this happen? I try to reach out to a social media expert only to find that there is no way to reach him. He has a Web site but it doesn’t have his contact information on it, and I can’t find an e-mail address and there doesn’t seem to be one of those contact forms.

To make matters worse, his name on Twitter is different than his real name and I never remember what the Twitter name is because it isn’t a real word and it doesn’t make sense. I don’t know him well enough to somehow connect the screen name to his actual name.

There is a picture associated with the Twitter profile, but it isn’t easily recognizable and I can’t connect it with any human face that I recognize. And once I am able to connect his name to his profile, he changes the picture on his profile.

A lot of people have some kind of an avatar, such as cartoons or virtual renderings, associated with their online profiles. Others use profile photos featuring several people, and still others were taken from a distance in a scenic spot. By the time they are shrunk down to profile size it is nearly impossible to distinguish anything human in the image.

Still, I can manage to make the connection in some of these instances … until they change the image. And when their online nickname doesn’t match their real name I forget who they are and I don’t connect with them again until they initiate the contact. From a social networking point of view, they lost me.

There are some clever Twitter names, but they don’t always make sense and I can’t always relate them to a person. And if the person uses the same screen name in a profile and doesn’t give me a real name, I forget the real name.

I once had coffee with someone whom I first met through Twitter and didn’t realize until the next day that the woman I had tweeted with — who had the funny name on Twitter — was the same person whom I had coffee with. Some call the names and avatars branding, but I call them confusing. …CONTINUED

Blogs have become fairly popular for real estate agents. I have had one for almost four years and it isn’t unusual for people to contact me and ask me to look at their new blog and give them some feedback.

Sadly, there are some great bloggers out there and they have some pretty impressive blogs — yet when I look at them I can’t figure out where on the planet the agent sells real estate or which company they work with. Also, they often make me work very hard to find any contact information.

If they had not contacted me and I didn’t know who they were and I wanted to actually use their real estate services, I wouldn’t have a clue as to how to reach them.

An online presence is a must-have for businesses of all types, but I don’t understand how it does any good if the business is hard to contact.

Simply having contact information prominently displayed is only half of what needs to be done. The business also has to respond to phone, Twitter, text or e-mail messages, and I am amazed at how unresponsive some of these businesses are.

Check your Web site, blog or online profiles. Can you figure out how to contact yourself? Is it easy to figure out what you do for a living by looking at the Web site or blog? If they are for personal use it doesn’t matter, but for business purposes it’s essential to have easy-to-find contact information. People still use search engines and they still use the phone and e-mail, too.

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.

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