I have continuously been intrigued by a blog post penned by the inimitable Seth Godin in January of this year. In that post called "Time to start a newspaper", he suggests that real estate brokers ...wait for it..... start a local newspaper.
Last night I witnessed a variation on this theme: Some local real estate professionals (myself included) help to break a story that we couldn't get any information about from the "real" news sources. Maybe not "break," but at least inform others as to what was going on.
It all started about 8:30 last night when I noticed helicopters flying around my rather rural neighborhood and shining lights in people's backyards (mine included). "Rural" might be an understatement. Where I live, police helicopters don't just start flashing lights on people's houses - ever. This was exciting stuff!
Here's the timeline:
8:43 PM: I simply tweet "Helicopters circling my neighborhood. What gives? Did some cows have a gang fight?" (I know, hilarious. You didn't know you were getting a comedy routine when you started reading this, did you?) I follow that up with a tweet giving more information provided from a Baltimore County Police Department phone call.
At 9:44, I get an email from a neighbor who has a police scanner. I post portions of that email to Posterous here.
At 11:06, Zach closed the story via Twitter by letting us all know, "he's apprehended everyone sleep tight!"
It started with a simple tweet, and within a few hours the story ended with the news that an armed suspect was taken into custody. All broadcast in the public space. I suppose anyone has the ability to do this, but aren't real estate agents who are armed with strong local networks and the ability to get and disseminate information superbly able to?
Photo credit: sskennel