Amused to Death?

Real Estate Sales Representative with Immeubles Deakin Realty

I'm feeling philosophical this Monday morning.  Roger Waters is coming to play the entire album The Wall here in Montreal at the Bell Centre.  Hubby is going, but I'm not.  Though I'm a huge Roger Waters fan, it's his solo stuff I prefer and so I just couldn't justify the price tag: a cool $250.  The Wall is Ritch's favourite album, so he must go.

I'm feeling philosophical because I've had to ask myself some tough questions about how I've been spending my time lately.  I've spent the better part of a year investigating and experimenting in social media, including blogging.  It's been a huge learning curve for me, and though I'm not done learning yet, I know I need to be more focused in how I spend my time. 

It's just so easy to convince myself that what I'm doing is "work."  And most of the time it is; at other times, it's purely social -- and I need to be honest about that and figure out whether I can afford that time to be social or whether I should be working on other things.  Or here's a thought: how about being social with the real live friends and family who are already in my life?

I was on Facebook a while back when Jared James asked the question:

"Is what you're doing right now productive?"

The quote in today's Montreal Gazette was from Dante:

"Heaven wheels above you, displaying her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground."

And from Roger Waters' Amused to Death, a beautiful, mystical, passionate and prophetic song:

"No tears to cry. No feelings left.  The species has amused itself to death."

Here's to having our feet planted firmly on the ground, to looking for - and seeing - the beauty that surrounds us, to spending less time plugged in and more time just being...and to being honest about why we do what we do.  

Have a great week, my friends.

Note: Though this post had been brewing for a while, a covergence of forces, including Paul Slaybaugh's recent musings, helped push it to life.  Paul has this uncanny ability to put into words the various thoughts that compete for attention in my sometimes scattered brain.


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Tanya Nouwens

Tanya Nouwens Inc., Montreal Real Estate Broker and Canadian Staging Professional (TM) 


C. 514-919-8468

This blog is written with my opinions. My opinions are presented with accuracy but not guarantees. Copyright Tanya Nouwens - 2015. If you want to reprint parts of this, just email me for my permission at


Comments (23)

Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Tanya, We All ask ourselves the same thing... is our blogging and social networking taking us away from family and friends, Is it worth it? Well, there are two sides, for what we learn and the friendships we make, and the negative of picking up a child late or no milk in the house cause we were too busy to shop.

Balance is all I can think! Set reasonable time limits and adhere to them. Then you will see the best results, including a fun positive spirit when you talk about a blog you read or about a person you met.

Oct 18, 2010 04:41 AM
Cherise Selley
Selley Group Real Estate, LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realtor


I'm afraid the concept of balance is long gone for many.  And social media is still in its infancy stage as far as discovering its profitability.  This is why I'm helping Cherise out right now with blogging.  If she spent the time on this, it would distract her from more meaningful, and profitable tasks.  We're taking this one day at a time... g

Oct 18, 2010 05:04 AM
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

Paul would be amused to think he organizes your thoughts!  I spend way too much time online, both here and on facebook, but to be honest, it gives me pleasure and it amuses me.  But it is largely unproductive.  I just don't happen to feel I have to be productive every single minute of the day.  In fact, right now, I'm brewing a nice up of tea and I am going to sit down with it and two cookies and a book until I have to leave for my 1:30 appointment!  Have a wonderful day pretty lady.  xxoo

Oct 18, 2010 05:39 AM
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

As opposed to many people, I believe that social media has peaked in terms of its business use.  The scale has tipped, and now that a large percentage of real estate professionals are aboard the social media train it will become a less profitable activity for the average agent.

Oct 18, 2010 05:47 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Judith, congratulations on getting your first lead from blogging.  That happened to me just last week too.  I don't intend to stop blogging, but I do intend to stop clicking away like a mad woman and lurking on SM sites willy-nilly.

Ellen, I think balance is the quintessential existentialist question of our time!

Gordon, one day at a time indeed. In this crazy, ever-evolving world of SM, that may be a wise approach.

Susan, I agree that we do not need to be productive every minute of the day.  But, at least for me, I need to be honest about whether what I'm doing is working, socializing or a mixture of both and whether I can afford the time I'm devoting to each.  Sounds like you have good balance, cherie :)

Malcolm, I find American agents have jumped aboard the SM train more quickly than Canadian ones, at least looking at it from Montreal.  What do you think?


Oct 18, 2010 06:05 AM
Elaine Hanson
Coldwell Banker Realty - Malibu | Topanga - Malibu, CA
REALTOR - Topanga, CA Real Estate Agent

Nicely organized, Tanya ;) Paul might be one of the smartest people I've ever met, online and off, but don't tell him I said so.

I find that the entire process of social media involvement is pointless without the development of offline relationships. I have been fortunate enough to have my online discoussions move offline to productive networking. Even better, I've formed many amazing offline friendships with my online buddies.  They mean the world to me. When online friends finally meet in person, it is as if you've known each other forever. Furthermore, I keep making new contacts and new friends, like a certain Ms. Tanya. 

Client contact and client awareness of your services can begin online, but also has an essential offline component. Clients met offline can be directed to your onlilne presence. Control over time spent and figuring out what works and what is a waste is a highly indivifualized process. Do what works and toss the rest.


Oct 18, 2010 06:12 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Elaine, it's the time spent that is troublesome for me.  Then again, was the time I've spent here to date worth my having found friendships with you, Susan, Melina, Amanda, Paul, Andrew, Inna and Jon, among others?  Without question.  But there seem to be so many voices here in the Rain these days, that the ones that speak to my spirit and my brain take much longer to find.

Oct 18, 2010 06:27 AM
Janice Ankrett
Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Tanya, I enjoy my time on AR. It's a place to celebrate victories and get support when things are slow. I think it has increased my Internet presence. I have just joined facebook and I'm not sure what that will do for me. We'll see.

That being said, I'd rather be actually working than talking about it LOL>

Oct 18, 2010 06:56 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Janice, your last line nailed it :)

John, for me, the quest is for efficient (and yes, fun, too) time spent plugged in.

Oct 18, 2010 07:08 AM
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

This is such a hard thing.  Obviously I love my real estate crew that I've met and just spoke with Jersey for the first time this weekend.  I'm excited to get to know you and Leslie better, but AR is an overwheming place and for me, I have really scaled back how much I participate on here in the past year. I am reminded of that Seinfeld episode when they were talking about the limit on friends and not having any more.  I think someone was taking applications for a friend since one of theirs moved away and they had an "opening."  I don't go out seeking new friends, but if I meet someone with wit, humor, intelligence, confidence, I'm interested in putting them on my follow lists.  There is nothing greater than having an empathic group of people to commiserate with when things going into the toilet.

What I like about social media is that if I have 5 minutes waiting for a client, I can chat with my friends on twitter or facebook for a few minutes but I don't have time for a good phone call often.  Since I own the brokerage, have two kids, and been married for almost two decades, means I often don't have a lot of time for my friends in one sitting, but I can still socialize with my friends in snippets over the day.  I find that I have better friendships because I can find out what they are doing so when we do chat on the phone or get together iRL, I'm up on their life.  I just feel I am better engaged and a better listener because I have been following their lives...albeit, a few sentences at a time.

A good friend moved away and was in town a couple of weeks ago and we chatted like she still lived here because we talk all the time on Facebook.  When you get two working moms with kids,'s hard to stay connected sometimes.  I think social media enhances relationships for me because it allows me to give a little bit of myself to my friends when I have time, which isn't a lot.  Otherwise, it would be sad to say that many of my friendships would go the way of the do do bird, just because i have a crazy life.


Oct 18, 2010 07:49 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Tanya - I struggle with intellectual concepts, so if I missed your point (as eloquent as it was), I apologize!

I truly believe that when you're in the right business for yourself, it often doesn't feel like work. And that carries over to your prospecting. If you're doing ANYTHING that involves other people - and making those other people feel at all special, you are prospecting. And if it doesn't feel like work, so much the better.

I've been told by many well-intentioned advisor that I need to STOP doing what comes naturally to me (emailing, blogging, commenting) and do more "profitable" things. I should stop answering emails in nano-seconds and charge for any advice I provide. And I've tried, but my replacement activities 1) feel like work and 2) don't seem to lead to any discernible financial benefit.

I've heard real estate trainers tell agents that they should be spending the majority of their time doing things that are directly leading them to a paycheck. That they should hire out the administrative stuff and focus on prospecting prospecting prospecting. Stop designing pretty brochures, stop doing your own paperwork and GET OUT THERE BELLY TO BELLY (ugh). I disagree. If I love making pretty brochures, I can harness that energy and talent and make it work for me. If I'm great at the paperwork, I can use that ability to my financial benefit by being incredibly on top of my transactions and wowing my CURRENT clients. If I return emails in nano-seconds (because I'm such a homebody), I'll snag online leads way before my competition who's out there beating the streets.

Did I totally miss your point? Oh well, I enjoyed making mine ! ;-]

Oct 18, 2010 07:53 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Melina, you've obviously harnessed all the good things social media can do to enhance your current friendships and any future ones that may come along. I haven't yet.  I'm still working on it.  To date, I seem to spend more time lurking than interacting - at least on Facebook.  Part of that is me still getting comfortable there - a work in progress, I guess.  Here on AR, my lurking has been in search of something meaningful to me - and it's taken more time away from the really important things in my life than I can afford.  My aim in all of this is less lurking, more meaningful interaction (via social media and real life) and more focus - front and centre - on what's important to me in my life.

Jennifer, as long as you enjoyed making your point... :)  No, seriously, as I was writing my post, I was thinking of what you would say in terms of my supposed work/fun conflict.  I am having a blast in this nutty business.  But I need to be more conscious of how I spend my time, perhaps prioritize differently, and be more efficient in how I do spend my time (and energy!).  How it is that I can find the time that I do to spend on AR each day and then complain that I don't have enough time to exercise?  Seriously?!

Oct 18, 2010 08:24 AM
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Tanya get an iPad and read your friends blogs and comment while you workout.  You can tweet and Facebook while working out easily with an iPad...unless you run on a treadmill.  Then you can probably only read...if that.  Stairmaster and elliptical work well while iPadding...

Oct 18, 2010 08:37 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Melina, you are WAY past me in terms of efficiency.  And alas, I'm a treader -- or I walk/run outdoors.  Maybe Apple will come up with iPodGoggles - iPoggles!

Oct 19, 2010 02:26 AM
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Ha, Ha...I love it.  iPoggles.  You'd probably run into a few trees, off some would be ugly.  You'd make a mint on a lawsuit though.

Oct 19, 2010 04:08 AM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Tanya, from time immortal, humans have tried to organize their time better. When reading the biographies of world & business leaders the one trait they all say they wish they had was the time to better prioritize their time!

Amazing is it not that the majority feel that we do not channel our time or resources productively? At the end of the day, I may not have reached my daily goal but I sleep wonderfully knowing that those I did come into contact with, being family, friends, prospects or foes, I did my best.


Oct 20, 2010 01:08 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Melina, not my style.  I mean, making a mint is my style, but not making it off of my own stupidity :)

Ty," ...I may not have reached my daily goal but I sleep wonderfully knowing that those I did come into contact with, being family, friends, prospects or foes, I did my best."  You're such a wise man, Ty.  I'm glad to know you.

Oct 20, 2010 03:58 AM
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

I spend the majority of my time now blogging for business.  That is what has been making the phone ring where my previous marketing is producing nothing.  So, how can I knock it.  Not sure that SM has run its course, we just need to keep the momentum up, because you can be sure others are going to.

Oct 20, 2010 08:56 AM
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

BTW love The Wall.  Did you know that the kids featured on the song The Wall brought a law suit against Pink Floyd a few years ago because they were not paid properly and got no royalties.

Oct 20, 2010 08:58 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Jane, I'm happy to hear that blogging is working for you.  I know you work so hard at it.  As for the concert, Roger Waters used a local choir of young singers in the show - what a thrill for them!

Oct 21, 2010 02:24 AM