ActiveRain has been a part of my daily life for almost a decade.
I come back for a host of reasons.
Blogging regularly with specific real estate related content that gets found by potential home buyers and sellers brings me business.
Blogging also increases my overall digital footprint, and that helps when agents are searching for "Mason Ohio real estate agents" or a consumer types in "real estate agents near me".
But the other part that keeps me coming back? The people and the culture. I've been part of other real estate groups outside the Rain, and they may start off with the best intentions, but absent a strong moderator presence things can quickly go Lord of The Flies.
Once upon a time ActiveRain had a strong management presence. Believe it or not you'd actually get comments on your posts from people that were ActiveRain Staff. If there was a skirmish between members they'd step in and address the issue, up to the point of ejecting members if that's what it took.
Obviously things change. Multiple management changes. Staff members not returned (#BringKerrieBack), emphasis on other Ben Kinney businesses at the expense of this community, etc. I get it, Ben pays the bills and keeps the lights on and the platform (mostly) stable. It's not like the old days when I didn't know if I'd be able to post at all, or if it would turn into an all day effort. So we've had some bad & some good in all the changes.
But that change and absence of regular management presence creates a void in the community. That leaves it up to us as a community to maintain the culture we value here.
And for the most part, the majority of the members know and follow the spirit and intent of the Community Guidelines. New members may need some coaching (No you DO NOT self-advertise in comments on someone else's post!!!) & that it's best to leave politics at the door. Save it for your personal Facebook page and have at it with machetes at 2 paces.
But sometimes, a member, even a veteran member, will go into territory that perhaps while not literally spelled out as against the Community Guidelines, is unlike anything else I've ever seen in the Rain, and I've seen much here in the Rain while cruising the blog roll.
So when I encounter something that I think is questionable and has potential to damage this community's reputation, what should be done?
Ignore or challenge?
You know the quotes about what happens when good men (or women) do nothing.
But challenging comes with its own risks too.
You know the drill...you can't tell ME what to do or say on MY blog.
And that's true, I can't.
I can advise strongly why the topic isn't appropriate for the Rain.
I can point out apparent errors in fact and why opinions are not facts.
I don't have to drop in one "Jane, you ignorant slut!" to do that (okay, you have to be of a certain age to know the reference).
Maybe the comments get left, or maybe they get deleted.
But ultimately the member has to decide if they're truly doing the right thing leaving that post up to be associated with all of us as a community.
Maybe they realize the damage to their own reputation, their brand and even to this community.
Or they don't.
Freedom of speech has consequences for all involved.
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,
Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz