Blogging & Commenting Protocol. Know your Netiquette!

Real Estate Agent with Florida Property Experts

computer blogLately 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.

frustrated agentFirst, 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 havefrustrated agents 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.

not listeningMy 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.comment

  • "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!

Happy Blogging!

Lisa Hill real estate agent

Adams Cameron and Company Realtors

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Comments (51)

Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Lisa, wow.....I rarely see this type of stuff going on. I think it's okay to disagree with what has been posted, and I think calling anyone out because they deleted our comment, is wrong. No need to continue to keep that fire going in my opinion. Just get along people! We're professionals, and we each have our own absolutely right on opinion! We're entitled to that as long as we respect the opinions of others. ;-)



May 20, 2008 01:39 PM
Audrey June-Forshey
RE/MAX Realty Services - Darnestown, MD
GRI, Gaithersburg, MD

Lisa, I seem to live in my own little world and miss these types of posts or comments?  I agree though, if you can't say anything nice, what is the point?  We all know better and should follow the golden rule!

May 20, 2008 02:08 PM
Katrina Madewell
Charles Rutenberg Rlty- More than 5,000 agents(813) 777-1196 - Tampa, FL
Tampa FL Homes for sale | Tampa Bay - (813) 777-1196

"it's My blog and I'll delete if I want to ...   delete if I want to, you might cry too if that happened to you "... Hey I think that's a song!  ..  Oh Wait! party party party ..  YEAH THAT'S IT

May 20, 2008 03:06 PM
Linda Lipscomb
Linda Lipscomb RE/MAX Lexington Henderson County TN - Lexington, TN
731-695-1118, Lexington TN Homes

I am fairly new to AR.  I have only gotten one personal attack.  It was a competitive agent in my market.  I deleted their comment and decided if I received another attack, I would block them completely.  Thankfully, I have not.

Good post.

As the old saying goes, "Agree, to disagree.  It's a win-win.

May 20, 2008 03:47 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Well said Lisa. I politely disagreed with a post just minutes ago. I am not following the conversation and if my comment gets deleted, I don't care. I support any blog owners' right to delete comments. It's a shame though. We all learn something new when we allow a civil difference of opinion.

May 20, 2008 03:58 PM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Lisa,

I'm in agreement with what you said about respect. Seems to me you can disagree and/or have a different opinion and still be within line on another"s post. I appreciate a spirited debate at times, yet there is absolutely no reason to be rude or otherwise.

BTW, congrats on your feature.

May 20, 2008 04:13 PM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Agree -- if a person can't say something nice -- then saying nothing is likely the best. If someone has a different opinion then perhaps they should write their own blog with their own opinions. Just our 2 cents.

May 20, 2008 06:15 PM
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I have always used the "what would Mom think" to keep myself in line online. I try to remember that every person deserves respect, they don't have to earn it from me, Rich J. had a great discussion about RESPECT on AR earlier this year.

One of the best ways to deal is ignore.

I think sometimes other FORUMS have trained people to battle in a way that does not translate in blogging.  On a forum, all are on neutrual ground, that's not true on a blog.  Not true even on a social network like  ActiveRain.  If I leave a comment on Lynda Eisenmann's ActiveRain blog  (just an example Lynda is a couple of comments up) I am on Lynda's turf.  Some people have brought some bad debating habits that worked OK  elsewhere.  They did not work great... but that  worked better in earlier forums than in blogging.  Earlier fourns(ListServ, BB) that don't translate to blogging and web 2.0 you were not on someone's turf.

May 20, 2008 10:07 PM
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

OMG! I didn't even login yesterday. (I felt like taking an AR break) Now I just found out I've been featured. I'll start reading all these comments and get back to anyone who wants feedback!

May 21, 2008 07:00 AM
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

OK. *whew* Just read all your comments =) 

Just in the comments, it's interesting to see that there are differing opinions. But there was nothng derogatory, which backs the point I was trying to make... we can disagree in a comment without being antagonistic. AND, some of you have some great ways of handling sticky situations =)

It's also obvious that some people didn't really read the post before they commented ;) LOL... Gotta get those 25 points! J/K I'd be lying if I said I never skip around when reading posts sometimes.

Anyway, thanks for the feature and all the comments. Now I'm going to go check out some of your posts =D

Lisa Hill

May 21, 2008 09:35 AM
M. Suzi Woods (Gravenstuk)
NOW Sharing the life and spice of the GC one day at a time - Grand Canyon, AZ
Suzi Woods, Prior Independent REBroker in MS

Lisa, I see that the Lady in Red beat me. If you want a hilarious moment at seeing AR members working together when a third party stepped in on a conversation, let us know. Terri and I could have ended up in a cat fight... Instead, we managed to escape the blog with respect and dignity intact. It was touch and go for awhile... To tie this statement to your blog--yes, its often as much as the way we say what we say, as what we say. As Terri commented above, I haven't noticed any back biting or nastiness. Guess I need to read more.

May 21, 2008 05:24 PM
Cynthia Tilghman, RealtorĀ® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC

Hi Lisa,
I've not read others' comments but what I would say is that you understand(and practice) the art of diplomacy, not everyone does.  Sure would be nice if they did. 

May 22, 2008 02:17 PM
Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon

congrats on the star - and like thumpers mom said- if you don't have something nice to say - don't say anything at all

May 22, 2008 04:21 PM
Judy Greenberg
Coldwell Banker Long Grove - Buffalo Grove, IL
Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes

Wow- I can't believe I missed this post!  Lisa, I admire you for getting your point across so nicely!

May 27, 2008 01:00 PM
Carolina Zepeda - REALTORĀ® Houston Texas Real Estate -
Champions Real Estate Group - Cypress, TX

Good advice, it is important to respect others in order to get respect for ourselves.

May 27, 2008 02:40 PM
Leslie Stewart
Oregon Licensed Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Professionals - Stayton, OR
Realtor, ABR, CRS, Oregon Licensed Broker

Well said, tactful and eloquent.  It is always good to have a little respect for each other. 

May 27, 2008 02:51 PM
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA

Excellent advice indeed. I've learned many lessons in blogging, but being polite and respectful is always an excellent way to approach this shared communication medium. There's really not room for bile and anger. The same goes for email, but that's a different post.

May 28, 2008 05:15 PM
Roland Woodworth
eXp Realty - Clarksville, TN
eXp Realty

Lisa: This was a great post. I'm sure there will be people who have their own thoughts a s well. We should always be respectul to others. Some time you get opinon blogs and everone wants the share their own too. It does not make it right

May 29, 2008 07:26 AM
Nancy Robertson
Signature Style Staging - Dallas, TX

Lisa, great post!  Some of the blogs I've read get pretty intense with opposing comments and "tones".  I agree that we all need to remember to respect each other and be professional.  Maybe if there is something so important that you need to dispute another's blog comments, it should be done via private e-mail.

May 29, 2008 08:15 AM
Brooke Valentine
Zip Realty - Black Diamond, WA
Realtor,Matching you to your Dream Home.

Great Post - I try to tread carefully with my comments, and if I don't feel inspired to leave something positive, then I don't comment, or simply sign like a guest book because that's how I feel like a guest in their blog. However if I still feel strongly about an issue I could then create my own post in my own blog with out damaging another space. However I am not sure what I would do if someone left a comment that was rude on my blog, hopefully they will be few and far.

Jun 25, 2008 03:20 AM

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