I still have a land line. It wasn’t all that long ago that I had two phone lines at home: one for personal use and the other was a business line that went into my office, with an extension to my workroom in the basement.
These days my cell phone serves as my business line and my personal line, too. I get calls on the land line but I rarely answer it, as most are from corporations that I don’t want to talk to or charities asking for money.
It is time to get rid of that last land line. At first it was a useful tool. We could call people from it and they would call us. Then the telemarketers started calling and we got an answering machine mainly to screen calls. Then we got voice mail, and then later caller ID. We could see who was calling and wouldn’t answer if it was a telemarketer.
Then along came the Do Not Call list. For a time we actually picked up the phone. Today it is never answered because no one who we know or want to talk to ever calls on it. We check and delete the voice mail every couple of months.
The phone isn’t of any use to us anymore and it doesn’t make sense to keep paying for it so others can bother us.
The same thing is happening with e-mail. When I got my first e-mail account there wasn’t anyone to send e-mail to. None of my friends had it yet, and neither did the local businesses. As people came online we used to send e-mail to each other to keep in touch or to relay important information.
I remember how fun it was when some of my family who live far away got e-mail. We used it to keep in touch once they learned that e-mail could be used for more than forwarding.
As a Realtor I use my e-mail a lot for business. I don’t send out nearly as much e-mail as I get, and I delete or filter out more e-mail than I read. Maybe someday I will figure out how to run my business without a traditional e-mail account.
For now, spam blockers and the delete key are my only defense. When the spam blockers are too strong I lose business. I need to be careful about which e-mails I open, as some contain viruses.
These days I am on the Internet a lot, with blogs and social media accounts. With the blog, the comments used to come from people who were looking for houses for sale or who were interested in buying them. Lately that has changed, and most of the comments come from spammers or from other businesses that want to get a link from a page with page rank to help their own Web presence. …CONTINUED
The blog still brings me as much business so I will keep it for now but may close the comments for awhile.
On Twitter I am followed by and spammed by people who are trying to sell me products or services for my business. Some of my Twitter friends can no longer be engaged in a conversation.
They tweet when they have a new blog post or photo, or to ask for help with a cause. They rarely reply and they don’t respond to direct messages, making it a one-way conversation. The only time there is a two-way conversation is when they initiate and control it.
Engaging others on a social network is a good thing, but if everyone is trying to engage others and few are allowing themselves to be engaged by others I don’t see how it is going to work.
It is becoming one more way for people to get their message out, and they don’t seem to care if anyone wants the message.
I fear that "marketers" will cause social media and social networks to become impractical, like the land line or maybe just plain boring as they take over and dominate the Twitter streams.
Now I am seeing the term "social media marketing" used a lot. Every time I see those three words I realize that the way people use social networks is going to have to change or else many of us will be disconnecting from them or tuning them out.
What is social about marketing? It is still marketing, and some of it is just like telemarketing but on a different platform.
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.
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