Rants, Rights, and Reputations - Lessons in Online Behavior

By
Real Estate Agent with Fathom Realty West Sound WA State 52404
https://activerain.com/droplet/bkn

If you've been navigating the Internet for any length of time, at some point, you'll no doubt encounter a flame war, some fisking, or a good old fashioned comment stream smackdown.

Managing Your Online Reputation and Behavior

At times, it's difficult not to allow our emotions to get the best of us and get caught up in the fray. However, as real estate professionals, and people whose livelihood/business is heavily dependent upon the nature of our online presence, the manner in which we respond to such situations needs to be tempered by calm civility, and a high concern for ethical integrity. And ultimately, by the impact our actions/words may possibly have on our readers (clients and potential clients).

Allow me to share five lessons/observations to help you better manage your online behavior:

1.   Passion should be tempered with Prudence – let’s face it, most of the folks operating within the RE.net space are extremely passionate people. They’re passionate about their careers, they’re passionate about their clients, they’re passionate about social media & technology, and they’re especially passionate about their friends. Unfortunately, there are times when our loyalty and love for friends can overshadow and cloud our ability to use sound judgment and reason. While it’s an admirable trait to have your friend’s back and rush quickly to their defense, emotions can impair rational thought and prevent us from exercising caution before acting.

2.   Freedom of Speech demands Responsible Speech – social media has provided each of us with a voice that empowers us to connect and communicate quickly with a potentially vast audience. Such freedom doesn’t necessarily grant us the license to say whatever we want to say, whenever we want to say it. As business professionals, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than most. This dictates that we conduct ourselves with civility and integrity. Just as we strive to maintain a consistent reputation for ethical behavior in our business practices, so should we strive to maintain a similar reputation in our on-line activities/conversations. This doesn't mean that we can't have a personal opinion or viewpoint, just when and where it's appropriate/wise to voice/share such things.

3.   Keep it Professional, not Personal - There’s no shortage of opinions and viewpoints in social media. Bloggers, especially, tend to be rather outspoken and opinionated. However, it’s one thing to suggest that a person’s behavior or actions are stupid or idiotic, but quite another to accuse that person of being stupid or an idiot. In expressing our opinions, we need to be careful not to cross the line over into character assassination, defamation, or personal slander/attack.

4.   Social Media isn’t Holding Hands Singing 'Kumbaya' – the transition to the new social media is challenging for many, to say the least. Even fairly sedate platforms like Facebook can become somewhat adversarial at times. To expect everyone to be kind, objective, and play fair in the on-line sandbox is unrealistic. This certainly isn’t an excuse for people to act like a horse’s behind on a social network, but simply an understanding that not every conversation you encounter will be filled with hugs and warm fuzzies.

5.    Be Careful What You Say - Recognize that everything you say online becomes part of the digital record, and as such, comes with a very long shelf life. In addition, anything you do or say online can be spread extremely fast, and the reputation you took so long to build can be destroyed with the click of a mouse.

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."   ~Leo Aikman

~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~

Homes-for-sale-in-Kitsap-County-WA

Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional with Windermere Real Estate, providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.comSoundBiteBlog, and Crabbing in the Hood, or e-mail:  kitsapagent@gmail.com

 

 

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Rich Jacobson is a District Director for Fathom Realty and a licensed REALTOR®; an avid Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, He is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Cory Barbee 05/24/2011 06:15 AM
  2. Greg Large 06/28/2016 04:56 AM
Topic:
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Tags:
integrity
ethics
flame wars
online reputation management
online behavior
fisking
comment stream smackdown

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Rainmaker
694,322
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

I have always thought of commenting this way.

"Don't say anything that might come back and bite you later". Especially if you are thinking of running for office in the future.

Remember they will dig really deep to find anything they can to discredit you.

Clint McKie

May 25, 2011 11:08 PM #148
Rainmaker
149,210
Jeremy Joslin
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - South Windsor, CT
Professional Real Estate Marketing and Sales
Great Advice for building a good reputation.
May 26, 2011 01:54 AM #149
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Mike:  Seriously, I meant you no disrespect. And I wasn't suggesting that YOU were a redneck in-bread. I was simply trying to make a point. And I am certaining not 'lecturing' you. Obviously, we are both on different wavelengths here, and that's okay. I welcome your comments and opinions. That's the beauty of conversational blogging.

From the Free Dictionary:

Honor – noun

1.
honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: aman of honor.
2.
a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one'sfamily.
3.
high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held inhonor.
In my business and in my personal life, I strive to conduct myself with honesty, fairness, and with great integrity. Therefore, I consider myself a man of honor.

Now, as far as military service is concerned, I have the utmost respect and appreciation for those who have faithfully served our great country in the Armed Forces. Here in Kitsap County, we are part of a very large military community, comprised of the The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, The Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and the Bangor Subase. A large majority of my clients are Active-Duty military, and I am privileged to assist them in their real estate needs.

And yes, I served, onboard the USS George Washington (SSBN598), the world's first nuclear ballistic missle submarine. Perhaps not directly in the line of fire, but still contributing to the safety and security of our nation.

So just BS? You're entitled to your opinion. But as I have attempted to point out here, as responsible real estate professionals, we should hold ourselves to much higher standards of conduct, and exercise greater discretion/discipline in the way we behave both online and off. This doesn't suggest, by any means, that we are somehow weaker or bowing down to the pressures of being PC. Quite the contrary, we demonstrate strength of character and our ability to control our own actions.

May 26, 2011 05:35 AM #150
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
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Michael Ford:  You make some really excellent points. How boring it would be if all the comments/conversations/discussions here were simply "Great Post!" or "Nice job!"...Now, I realize that here on ActiveRain, there are those who just comment for the points (say it isn't so!). But as you say, that really doesn't add any significant value to the conversation. Not to say that such comments aren't appreciated when genuninely intended. As you state, if you're easily offended, the Online realm probably isn't a good playground for you!

May 26, 2011 05:45 AM #151
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Terry Driscoll:  You have illustrated my point here perfectly. While we certainly have every right to express our opinions, it's not always the most prudent thing to do. Some online conversations are simply not worth our time and effort to become engaged in. There are much better uses of our time and energy!

May 26, 2011 05:53 AM #152
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Sonsie:  I completely agree. Extending common courtesy to one another is not bending to the pressure of being politically correct. It's simply maintaining a sense of professionalism.

May 26, 2011 06:18 AM #153
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
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Richard:  You're absolutely right, we most definitely can speak our minds without compromising our professional integrity! 

May 26, 2011 06:24 AM #154
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
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To All Who Have Commented:

I apologize if I haven't responded to each and every comment left in this stream. Your thoughtful comments have provided welcomed contribution to the discussion.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms!

May 26, 2011 06:27 AM #155
Rainmaker
1,429,390
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Good post and I generally agree.  However, one persons "Responsible" requirement may actually be censorship to others.

May 26, 2011 07:06 AM #156
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Gene:  Censorship is something that is imposed upon us by some outside entity. Responsible conduct is something we ourselves dictate and determine. There is grace and lattitude for each of us to decide what constitutes appropriate conduct/behavior for ourselves. 

May 26, 2011 07:11 AM #157
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
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Mike:  One last thing, for what it's worth. Communication via the Internet many times leaves much to be desired. We can't hear each other's tone and inflection that we'd normally hear in a phone conversation, or observe body language, facial mannerism in a face-to-face discussion. I have a feeling that if we were out on my boat, pulling up crab pots, and tippin' back a few cold ones, that we would discover that we have a lot more things in common than not. Again, thanks for your input here. Your comments are always welcome and valued!

May 26, 2011 01:32 PM #158
Anonymous
Sherry Rondeau

I recently was reminded to be the same voice to all people - prospective clients may be attracted to us from our blogposts, as well as referrals from past clients, etc.. If people recognize us as polite, professional and always taking the high road, acting in the clients bests interest, we will be approachable with, at the very least, a track record of civility.

Great post, I'm going to follow you!

May 27, 2011 08:28 AM #159
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
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Sherry:   I would be most honored!....

May 27, 2011 08:36 AM #160
Rainer
348,838
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate

Rich... passionate people sometimes believe their passion needs no justification; even if it's unjustifiable.

May 27, 2011 09:05 AM #161
Rainer
99,064
RhondaHeaslip NanaimoRealEstate
RE/MAX of Nanaimo - Nanaimo, BC

Professional behavior at all times when online is extremely important. Keep emotions aside and stick to the facts. Express your opinions with respect for the readers. What you say is what they will perceive of you so be respectful, honest and professional at all times.

May 27, 2011 09:19 AM #162
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John DL Arendsen
CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor

I chime in with what you espouse for the most part. Discretion, tact and self discipline are tantamount to positive and effective social networking and communication for professionals in most arenas. However, having said that I also feel that a little passion in ones tone never hurts. If we're just tone deaf about what we say in order to stave off criticism or negative feedback from our readers I consider that somewhat insincere and patronizing to be honest. 

I think it's important for folks to get their point across by whatever means possible short of personal attack and/or cruel and demeaning comments. If I read something that I consider totally innaccurate or ridiculous and know in my heart that lots of folks may be reading this material in hopes of gaining knowledge and insight on a certain subject or issue I'll sound the alarm and speak my piece knowing that the writer may full well come back swinging with all fours.

Professional blogging, as far as I'm concerned, isn't always about walking on eggshells in hopes of not offending or hurting someones feelings. It's about sharing information and knowledge which is, for the most part, important and applicable to anothers decision making on an issue or more importantly a major purchase. If someone is submitting what I consider pure bunk I'll step up and speak my piece even if it means stepping on a toe or two. Likewise, as a professional, I would expect anyone who felt that what I was writing was out of line I would certainly expect them to call me on it as well.

We don't elect folks to important offices or positions without them sharing in strong, convincing and often cruel and unusual dialog in order to drive their points home. If we're contributing our advice and opinions in a professional venue and what we write about influences and persuades others who are seeking our advice in the wrong direction I consider it incumbent on us to sound that alarm for the benefit of the unwary reader seeking said knowledge. Just another opinion and point of view.

Jun 01, 2011 12:26 PM #163
Rainer
318,926
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

Rich, I like the 'sit and simmer rule' I've read about. Let the comment sit for a while and then come back and read it again before you send. I haven't had to use that yet because, since I'm new, I'm not prepared to get 'into the fray' as you say. People tend to forget that once the sent button is clicked, that comment is out there! I have learned so much from my fellow Rainers that I haven't had time to not like what some are saying. I also use my 'freedom to click' the little arrow up on the left hand side if I don't like what I read... :D

Jun 04, 2011 04:03 AM #164
Rainmaker
124,772
Stephanie Leon | Miami Lakes Realtor®
Realty Empire Incorporated - Miami Lakes, FL
Turning For Sale Into SOLD!

You gave some great advice.  I say "If you want others to see you as a professional then one must act as a professional...."

Jun 09, 2011 07:43 AM #165
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Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Stephanie: One would think as much. It's amazing though how easily people forget that when they're conversing online, as if our professional integrity/ethics don't apply....

Jun 09, 2011 07:56 AM #166
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Fred Griffin
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Five years later, and just about everything on the list is still applicable.

Jun 28, 2016 06:54 AM #167
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