Are your blog and comments offending both consumers and colleagues?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Intero Real Estate CA BRE #01191946

I read a post yesterday from a fellow blogger that got a huge stream of negative feedback comments.  The article was supposed to be funny but several agents found it offensive and when I read it, felt that consumers might take offense as well.  Without going into details, suffice it to say the blog would have been better off being "Members Only".  My point is, do you know what content will offend consumers, colleagues, or both?

Let's start with the first rule of blogging:  Once you post to the Net, it's there FOREVER!

If you write and post something that could be considered offensive, the readers will form an impression of you.  Do it once and most people will forgive you.  Do it more than once and it's likely you'll lose consumer leads and subscriptions by colleagues.  Your success on Activerain depends on the impression you make.

What's Offensive?  A few possibly offensive blog topics include:

  • Any article that's sexist or deals with sex in a vulgar manner
  • Any discussion of race, racism, or elitism
  • Demeaning fellow agents (actually violates the Code of Ethics too)
  • "Potty humor"

If you're thinking about writing about anything that would not be appropriate with a current client or colleague in your office, it's probably best left unsaid.  You might lose prospects and hurt relationships with colleagues.

What about offensive comments?  All too often I've seen comments that attack the writer, get rude, or deeply personal and border on slander.  Guess what?  When consumers and colleagues read those comments, they won't hold you in high esteem.  If you feel strongly about something:  TAKE IT UP VIA EMAIL!  If you just can't hold your tongue, don't do it in a public forum.  Send a private email message and say whatever you need to.  Even then, keep in mind that your reputation is based on how people perceive you.



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Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Bryan, I think the way to handle a post you don't like is to go to one. 

Dec 28, 2011 01:12 PM #48
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

Bottom line is that members only posts don't mean the consumer isn't joining AR either. My clients read constantly...and boy do I hear some feedback!  It's just the difference between 'hiding behind the keyboard' or being transparent (in a good way that is:)

Dec 28, 2011 01:17 PM #49
Karen Salmon
Royal LePage Benchmark - Okotoks, AB
Okotoks Real Estate Agent

I have seen agents post on their own blogs stuff that makes my head shake! And I agree about comments being too personal, some topics just don't belong in public!

Dec 28, 2011 01:28 PM #50
Lisa Dunham
Alexandria, VA
Associate Broker, Alexandria Virginia Real Estate

Excellent point Bryan!  I did not read the blog in question.  However, I have definitely read a few blog posts that were borderline offensive.

Dec 28, 2011 01:40 PM #51
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

I like Sally's comment....consumers would mostly be scared away from commenting on some of these free-for-alls....but they still read them.

Dec 28, 2011 02:13 PM #52
David Saks
Memphis, TN

About three years ago, Bryan, I ran into an uncommon nut case in AR, stalking me and harrassing me about my hair because it's sun bleached, that I wear t shirts and jeans all day at work, drive a Corvette and like cats.

He's the perfect example of a useless lurker that thrives on behavior unbecoming a member of the real estate profession.

I told him that many of the people who live in Memphis believe that a man who wears a suit is either a pauper or a swindler, and those people won't do business with a suit.

He went nuts, took it personally, wanted to fight me bareknuckle, and accused me of being a homophobe.

I got a few racy emails from Mr. Obnoxious and forwarded them to his real estate board and state real estate commission.

He did his license, his website, his marriage, and his job.

Happy New Year !

Dec 28, 2011 03:40 PM #53
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Bryan - I think too many people forget that what's posted to the internet is not invisible and doesn't delete well.  We need to consider what we're saying and where we're saying it.

Dec 28, 2011 03:49 PM #54
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

A bit of controversy is good.  If we all thought the same, this would be a pretty boring community.  However, because we are a community we should all allow one another a certain level of respect, even if we disagree.  I didn't read the post in question but I agree with those that have recommended stepping back and re-reading and re-thinking before you hit "post" or "Submit comment".

Dec 28, 2011 04:49 PM #55
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Bryan, I think too many people forget the audience may go beyond intended, or may not perceive it the way the poster intended.  Either way, the consequences can be significant.

Dec 28, 2011 04:53 PM #56
Demarco & Marisa
Remax Kings Realty - Riverside, CA
"The Choice is Clear!"

I agree with you here. Rude comments are such a pet peeve of mine and offensive blogs are even worse. Not a good business move in either case, if you ask me.


Dec 28, 2011 07:35 PM #57
Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D.
Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795 - Santa Maria, CA
Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879

Very true.  In fact, I did not comment regularly on AR for years because I did not want to participate in some of the rowdy debates.  Obviously, I changed course on that.  I know I have some comments out there that would offend people -- it is impossible not to offend SOMEone and some people are too easily offended.  Being a slightly saracastic and very opinionated person, the airport and the internet are very dangerous places for me.  :-)

I do always try to be respectful of people though -- even when they beg for different treatment. :-)  Not sure I always get it right.  Your post is important, keep the context in mind and the "member's only" function is fantastic...use it.

Dec 28, 2011 10:08 PM #58
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

This is a public forum.  If you post or comment, the world will see it.  It may be better to not do either in some situations.

Dec 28, 2011 10:28 PM #59
Charlie Dresen
Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty - Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro

Bryan, I missed the blog you referenced, but have seen some that fall into the same category and ditto on comments as well. Age old advice that I always try to keep in mind is to sleep on something potentially adversarial before you send it. In this day and age sleeping on it may seem like a lifetime, so perhaps just keep it on hold for 30 minutes before hitting submit, or at least walk away for a few minutes and come back, read it again and determine if you truly want to send it out to the world. Written words can't be taken back, aren't forgotten and definitely leave an impression.

Dec 28, 2011 11:14 PM #60
Ken Brandon
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage (Jacksonville, NC) - Jacksonville, NC
Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC

I like the words of Jim Rohn when he speaks of watching your language (or writing) if the offensive remarks or statements keep you from being able to participate in certain business dealings and the language costs you $100,000 a year...well you are free to do that but it doesn't make good business sense. (Let's add if it costs you $50,000 or $25,000, or $10,000, or one deal...doesn't seem worth it.) You are right in that good judgment should be used in ALL aspects that can impact business.

Dec 29, 2011 08:19 AM #61
Rob Thomson
Jupiter, FL

We should always edify each other. Build up, never tear down.

Dec 29, 2011 08:45 AM #62
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists

Totally agree Bryan. Not sure which blog post you are referring to, but we have seen some that certainly can be taken offensive!

Dec 29, 2011 09:00 AM #63
Rich Quigley
Chicago, IL


Excellent post and a very wise suggestion. I hold some pretty strong views and I sometimes have difficulty in restraining my comments, but you are a wise man in your advice. I've recently decided to avoid those groups that make my blood pressure rise. Another point is, if you disagree with someone, and especially if that disagreement becomes hostile, you're never going to change that person's opinion. So why even bother commenting?

Dec 30, 2011 08:37 AM #64
LaNita Cates
REMAX of Joliet - Joliet, IL

I've seen some posts made public that have surprised me. I make it a point to be careful what I say and how I say it. I have offended people and never meant it that way.

Jan 06, 2012 09:22 AM #65
Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h

Excellent post.  However, keep in mind that it doesn't take much to "join" Activerain and so even Members Only posts are accessible to the public if they simply try.

Jan 07, 2012 05:02 AM #66
Karen Steed
Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton - Tallapoosa, GA
Associate Broker Haralson Realty

Mark Delgado #66 is right about members only posts.  Someone had a post recently about a members only post that came back to haunt her.

Jan 12, 2012 03:17 PM #67
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