Given all the money we spend to share latte art and tell friends who to vote for, one would think we’d be pretty adept at using these pocket computers of ours by now. I’m afraid we have more work to do.

  • Be sure your client understands the point of your text or email -- emojis don't explain everything you meant.
  • You can no longer use mobile keyboards as an excuse for sloppy messaging.
  • We're all guilty of using our phones more than we should when we drive. It takes a concerted effort to alter our habits.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

I don’t need a bunch of stats to safely say that the use of mobile devices in real estate business has jumped considerably in the last couple of years.

But, because I’m a somewhat responsible journalist, I used the Internet (on my phone) to find a good one: the mobile industry generates $3.1 trillion in annual revenue.

That fact is courtesy of a June report from

Given all the money we spend to share latte art and tell friends who to vote for, one would think we’d be pretty adept at using these pocket computers of ours by now.

I’m afraid we have more work to do.

And as you might imagine, I have some ideas on the subject. Here are five.

1. You are your typos

The time has long passed for us to expect email recipients to excuse typos because they were crafted on the delicate keys of a mobile device.

Until “fat finger” is actually deemed a disability (give big pharma some time), capitalize letters, use proper punctuation and demonstrate other grammatical best practices.

2. Don’t police non-responders

We all want a response as soon as possible; it’s become an expectation of today’s advances in rapid communication.

However, we’re not always entitled to a quick response. When you do have to wait for more than a minute or so for that text return, the worst thing you can do is jump online in an attempt to investigate if your colleague or customer was indeed available and probably just ignoring you.

It’s really none of our business why a person doesn’t respond. Plus, if you’re the type of person to engage in skiptracing efforts, can you blame someone for not wanting to respond?

In mobile business, you are your typos.

3. Re-read your messages

People use emojis because they don’t take the time to write with clarity.

What was once a cute way to add color to a conversation has morphed into a scary form of communication apathy.

The use of these droll, digital cave paintings demonstrates to me that a sender didn’t take time to contextualize his or her thoughts using the 26 letters and just over 1 million words available to them in our language.

Alas, that’s where we are today — no putting that head back in the box.

Nevertheless, emojis are no substitute for clearly written and tonally appropriate messaging, especially in business. Be sure you come off as professional to your clients.

4. Be upfront about availability

The mobile revolution has created the collective assumption that we’re all available 24/7.

I find this notion absurd, but many others don’t. If you’re a real estate agent that values your time, be upfront with customers and colleagues about when you’re available to them.

This will be appreciated and respected.

5. Stop using your phone while driving

I don’t make (or accept) phone calls when I drive. I never text or send an email. But I do fumble around with iTunes and podcasts, a habit I may one day deeply regret.

Mobile device use has evolved into a physical habit for many people, as powerful as the dopamine-driven sensation we experience when alerted to a new tweet or listing appointment.

We can all be better at this. Remember, there are others on the road, too.

And whenever I drive, they all seem to be in the passing lane.

But that’s for another day’s column.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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