Social Networking - where and why?

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Lately I have been obsessed with Active Rain. My obsession didn't take hold at first, I was a member for a couple months before I even realized what to do with it. But once it took - I was hooked. But why? I've joined other social sites and never really been interested to the degree I am at Active Rain. Perhaps it was a matter of timing. In a business that is changing, whether it be real estate or health care - everyone is forced to examine how they are doing business. During my own self examination, I re-discovered my interest in all things technology. Until now, incorporating those interests into my real estate career never really took off. Then, one night as I began blogging - I had an epiphany. Suddenly my worlds of Real Estate and the Internet/technology came together.

But this life changing event was more than an isolated incident. I discovered my online "persona" so to speak. The advent of social networking brings a new level of transparency to the business world. People we do business with now have photos online, profiles at myspace or have their names listed in membership lists on the web. Suddenly, it has become easier to know more about the people behind the titles. This level of transparency brings with it questions of privacy, personal responsibility and the obvious benefits of networking. Even now, I am still discovering how to connect all these different online aspects of my life. I use myspace to connect with friends, LinkedIn to do business and Facebook for family links. But why keep those different areas of my life separate? I've done plenty of business with both friends and family. The challenge is learning how to use each of these tools in different ways.

So, I arrive here - tweaking and adding to my various online profiles at different social networking sites. Below is a list of different networks available and how they see themselves or how I am using them:
  • MySpace - gained its notoriety with teens. I mostly use this site for connecting with friends - a profile of my more personal life. Because of the inherent personal nature of MySpace you need to connect on a more personal level. MySpace has a heavy music component and has helped launch many musicians.
  • LinkedIn - a monster of a business networking site I am just learning to use. Here's a great article by Mario Sundar "10 ways to use LinkedIn"
  • FaceBook -Facebook has brought privacy online! Due to its lack of public profiles (someone must be approved before reading details about you), my brothers, sisters, nieces & nephews have latched onto Facebook. I am mostly using Facebook for family connections.
  • ActiveRain - THE social network for Realtors. Need I say anything else?
  • Twitter - a service that lets you keep friends and family up to date on "What you are doing". I don't think I want to be that responsible to everyone I know!
  • Jaiku - a social networking site that was recently acquired by google. It is similar to twitter - you keep friends up to date on what you are doing. Right now, you have to request an invite - probably because they are going through changes related to the acquisition.
  • MeetUp - a way to connect to people locally who are interested in similar activities. Looking for someone to jump out of a plane with? Find them at
  • Lyro - similar to linkedin. A business community - but not as robust as linkedin. I found out about linked in after googling an old boss I was trying to connect with. I found his lyro card and sent him an email. He called me the same day!!
  • Plaxo - just discovered this one tonight and joined. Their tag line "Connect your personal and professional life in one place". I basically copied and pasted everything from my linkedin profile.
  • Pownce - unless you have friends on here already, I'm not sure why you'd join. Seems like a well designed site, but I just don't have the energy to join one more site tonight!

There are a lot more sites out there. A great resource is this list of social networking sites at wikipedia. Enjoy!


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Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
It is just really hard to keep up with all the sites and participate in them all - at least for us. We have to pick and choose in order to do the job of selling real estate. Otherwise all the internet sites can become a full time job.
Apr 23, 2008 06:00 PM #1
Johnny Huang
Pleasant Hill, CA
Insurance and Real Estate Broker
I'm about halfway down the list. I feel sometimes I put too much time in updating my pages than prospecting for new business. It's a process...yes, we need to time block social networking!
Apr 23, 2008 06:00 PM #2
Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

This is a great Networking List...Thank-You!

Tom Davis

Apr 23, 2008 06:02 PM #3
Leslie Stewart
Oregon Licensed Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Professionals - Stayton, OR
Realtor, ABR, CRS, Oregon Licensed Broker

Nice to see all the sites.  I am guilty of three of them at the moment.  Thanks for the explainations.  I have been wondering about Twitter but didn't have time to google it yet.

Apr 23, 2008 06:06 PM #4
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
Seems like there's a new social network popping up everyday! It's difficult to weed through them all, and figure which ones offer true value for your business, or are simply time wasters. I am doing a series of articles on reviewing the various social networks. I recently posted on "Twitter" and plan the next one on Facebook.
Apr 23, 2008 06:30 PM #6
Bo Buchanan - Oswego, IL Directory, For Real Estate Pronulls
I think many of these sites are just a good idea to join and have a presence.  I do not check them all daily - at least once I week I pop in to myspace & linkedin.  Facebook less often.  I haven't been back to lyro since I joined - but it comes up #14 in google when I search for my name - near the top of page two.  That's pretty good for my name - because a lot of entries for the soap opera character Bo Buchanan come up in that search.  Even if you only check on them once a month, I think that's enough to just keep your presence up to date. 
Apr 23, 2008 06:32 PM #7
Ron Mackey
Connect Financial Services - Roseville, CA
Bo thanks for the information.  I am new to this and am trying desperately to grasp and embrace technology.  I'll look into a couple more of these.  Thanks again.
Apr 23, 2008 06:48 PM #8
Susie Blackmon
Ocala, FL
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

Lots of things to do 'out there.'  I love all the networking.  Twitter in my Twitbin keeps me up on the buzz out there.  Speaking of buzz, don't forget about!


Apr 23, 2008 08:50 PM #9
Chip Jefferson
Advanced Building LLC - Lexington, SC
Time blocking and scheduling is the key. I usually get all my internet, web site, emails done before 9 AM. Then I have the mid morning for follow up on customers. Its a flow. I work again on the internet for 1 hour in the afternoon if I dont have ball.
Apr 23, 2008 11:56 PM #10
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
BO, I am on a bunch of social networks but really don't have time to spend much time figuring them out.  I find some of them to be confusing and I'm not sure what purpose they serve.
Apr 24, 2008 04:22 PM #11
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck
Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections - Houston, TX
The Plaxo site was introduced to me by a fellow AR member, and I have found it to be more useful than other sites. The various bits of information they send out have proven a good way to make personal contacts. Naymz is interesting, and I think of it more highly than LinkedIn, but I still cannot get my head around the concept of making associations with people that I know nothing about. For that reason, AR has been my favorite, because I can read someone's blog before seeing who I want to connect with.
Apr 24, 2008 09:44 PM #13
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