Lately I've read several blog posts from Active Rain bloggers who are receiving derogatory comments on their posts, and are seeing them on other posts as well. I knew this would eventually happen as the site continues to grow, but I was hoping it would be later, rather than sooner.
The scenario I'm about to share, is not one that I had planned on sharing. However, in light of what seems to be a rampant problem, I'm going to do my best to do it justice and not offend the parties involved... well, actually only one party is aware of this particular problem and that party is the one who consulted me.
Not long ago I had a conversation with a local REALTOR(r), who asked for my opinion on a situation that was brewing between himself and a REALTOR(r) here on Active Rain. (The other AR agent is someone I know only through blogging.) At that time, the agent I know personally, wanted to give this other Rainer a piece of his mind, in comment form. I discouraged him from doing so.
It seems that the agent who contacted me had very carefully worded a disagreeing comment on another agents' post. The local REALTOR(r) who contacted me, felt very strongly about this particular subject because he had just come be from a very specialized convention on the subject. So he disagreed, but he told me that he chose his words very carefully. He was now asking for my opinion because he knows I've been blogging for a long time and that I'm familiar with the "netiquette" in this arena. As it turns out, the other agent deleted his comment, which angered him and he now wanted to give her a piece of his mind.
First, let me explain his line of thinking, since if you only considered his side, sounds very logical and convincing. He felt that it was wrong to give the public the wrong impression of what was going on in the market. He was knowlegeable on this subject and wanted to make sure that consumers were not being misled. The public is already blaming everyone who has anything to do with the real estate industry, for all the problems that are happening in this time of crisis.
That seems pretty logical, doesn't it? Now I know that there are many unethical agents out there who will post anything to get business or points, and don't care if it's true or not. But in this case, I know enough about this other agent to know that was not the intention. It's my belief that the other agent was strictly sharing what was happening in their own neck of the woods. I don't believe there was any intentionally misleading information being given. But even if there was, here's the other side of the coin.
We each have our own blog that we use in hopes of gaining new business. I'd like to believe that most of us do our homework before we post to our blogs, and/or we speak from our own experience. So it's not about whether or not you intentionally hurt someone's feelings by deleting a comment from someone who disagreed with you. It's about being courteous to each other. You should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Think of it this way. Would you want to spend an hour (or more) researching and writing a post, just to have another agent come along and possibly make you look bad, by posting a comment that told you you're wrong? I did not read the comment that was posted, so I can't say if there was a "tone" to it or not. I personally am sensitive to "tones". I don't think I'd delete a comment just because another agent disagreed with me. But I would expect them to be respectful of my turf. And I wouldn't take kindly to someone being disrespectful to me, or anyone else who had left a comment on one of my posts.
My mother raised us with the old adage "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". Now, this is business, so it's not as simple as not gossiping or slandering someone. We really don't want the public to believe erroneous information. I'll refer to my mother once more, since she was big on communication. My mother told us that we could get away with saying almost anything, to anybody, if we said it in the right way.
So keeping in mind what I was taught growing up, if I felt very strongly about something, I might post a comment that disagreed, but unles the other person was a complete idiot (OK. I acknowedge that they do exist.) I would want to leave the person with their dignity intact. So somewhere in my comment, I would leave the other person an "out". Example: If I read a post that I disagreed with, and felt so strongly that I felt obligated to respond with a disagreeable comment, I would probably end the comment with something along the lines of,
- "but you are in a different area, so maybe we're not seeing the same circumstances."
Or, I could leave a comment like this.
- "You know, I haven't experienced anything like this in my area. In our area we're experiencing the exact opposite. Isn't it strange how drastically different things can be in different areas?"
- "Yours is the first post I've read that has this information. Where did you find out about it?"
I hope you get the idea. It's about being respectful of another person's "space". And for the record, the agent who contacted me, eventually decided to just write his own post on the subject, after he had cooled down ;)
People, let's keep a professional face on our industry. We're not always going to agree. There are now more business models than ever, and there's the ongoing debate of "national vs local brokerages", and then there's the "virtual office vs actual office" debate. And so on, and so on. But unless we want the public to have an even lower opinion of our industry, we need to behave in a professional manner. The key word in my last sentence is actually not "professional". It's "manner". As in, use good "manners". Some people have no class and that's unfortunate. But anyone with enough determination, can at least keep their mouth (or keyboard in this case) shut when necessary. Or we can always agree to disagree. That's usually the best course of action.
If you're a new blogger and are unsure about how to get started with blog writing and commenting, here's some good writing advice... Write better blogs!