The day was August 28 of 2007 @ 3:30pm a great day and I felt MARVOULOUS! A day that would change the way I use the internet FOREVER!
It was just a little over 4 months since I allowed my real estate license to be revoked by not renewing it (a blog post for another time). I had not been actively practicing real estate since October 2005. At this time, the most networking I did was a Yahoo Group I founded in 2004, a couple of web sites, and an email list. On this warm beautiful August day at my nice cushy job as an on-site title rep for LSI at JP Morgan Chase Home Loan Direct. The sun was shining, it was warm outside, the birds were singing, and I was waiting for the hammer to drop. I had found out through the grapevine I was going to be laid off in less then an hour. I was ok with it though, I literally prayed that week if I should plan on my departure to start a new venture. God has a funny way of answering prayers? Anyway, I digress.
Is it just me or are the lights a little bright?
I had been using Linkedin for about 3 months at that point. Connecting with old and new friends, building my network as I was planning to become self employed again, possibly get back in to real estate, or go full bore in to a print broker business I had been toying with for a few months on the side. However as fate had it, I was going how to spend the next few months enjoying unemployment.
I feel the beginnings of a headache right now.
In October 2007 (my wife has given permission to reactivate my license, which I did not do at this point), I connected with Misty Khan of http://www.arrow-tips.come/, an EXPERT on using MS Outlook and consulting for business. I made my first few blog entries at http://www.therockson.com/ and posted a request for critiques of the design and content on Linkedin's Q & A section. At that time, Misty (a non agent by the way) responded with some kind words of encouragement for a beginning "bloogger" (definition found here ) and introduced me to 2 new LIFE CHANGING term's, "WEB 2.0" and "Social Media!" Two terms scorched in the inner most part of my grey matter.
It's just a dull pain in the temple area, nothing serious.
Being the curious bloke that I am, I preceded to Google these odd terms "WEB 2.0" and Social Media." Immeadialty I began learning how these terms pertain to marketing, branding, networking, and connecting. Sites called "MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin" were appearing in page after page, blog after blog, website after website. Quickly I discerned "THESE" are the places to be, and I needed to learn to take advantage of them quickly as possible.
Why do the clicks of the keyboard sound like a jack hammer downtown during rush hour?
With Facebook and MySpace, I suddenly connected with relatives, old friends, new friends, long time friends, class mates, and drum & bugle corps buddies. We were reliving good times, building spheres of influence, and networking. Most importantly, I was catching up on who has children, how many, and their ages. Fast and furiously, I was communicating with people in other means then the old fashion telephone, and the soon to be outdated email. Bulletins and friend comments were the preferred method of communications!
Oh boy does it hurt when I think!
Jan 3, 2008 it is a new year, and I have less then 2 months left for my unemployment (my wife is also suggesting I find a "Real Job" as in "Not Real Estate!"). I had taken the Ohio Real Estate exam for a 2nd time and passed. It was great, I was excited, and I was ready to take over the real estate world again. I also started paying attention to Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter more often. I noticed that I had connected to a few real estate agents, some I had found others had found me. Included in my new group of connections is preacher in my church, a few "social media experts," a guy hawking his virtual tour website (another post), and my now good online friend Misty Khan (Oh yeah I almost forgot, a mortgage borker I almost rented a room off of once, and co-oped with another time when he was an agent, but we will not talk about him much ;^) *again another post*)
Who put the 2000 lb lead weight on my head?
At this point, other sites start being passed around by my new found networking partners (mostly agents). The conversations involve how they promote themselves and their listings on Flickr (Cheap Sunglasses Club ROCKS!), Utterz, You Tube, OOVOO, Stumble Upon, Digg, Pownce, Seemic, Google Talk, Skype, the Realtor designation "e-TWIT (which I have earned) and this really odd acronym "AR" to name a few. Inquisitively, I start checking each site out one by one, looking at the need for joining such group and what they offer. Also at this time other strange things start happening, my spam increases to join this group, that group, and to "gain my trust" by connecting.
If I don't do something about this sharpe pain, my head is going to explode!
Now it has been 2 days since joining Skype (Thanks for the party), keeping up with friend feed, constantly checking my tweets, keeping 2 blogs, 2 MySpace pages (personal and professional), Facebook page, posting to my Yahoo Group, receiving my first listing in 3 years, posting my first listing on Craig's List, (and everywhere else), being advised to also go to Point 2 Agent, scouring through my email, keeping my Linkedin connections up to date AND writing my first post on Active Rain!" No wonder MY HEAD HURTS!
So to the crux of it all, the questions that will keep my head from pounding:
How do you decide what "WEB 2.0" or "Social Media" tools to use? What are the ones to stay on top of? How you keep up with what is new?
Real Estate was SOOOO MUCH simpler in 2005.
Oh yeah, could you pass the Advil please? I am going to bed!