Browsing through a real estate trade magazine supposedly targeted at highly successful agents, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the amount of editorial content and advertising focused on social media and internet marketing: Social media ROI, dominating Google, new media marketing, and crash courses in social media. Of course, internet marketing and especially social media marketing are all the buzz in the real estate world now. I am inundated with invites to webinars, offers for training, and book pitches. In an industry dominated for decades by push marketing techniques, giving real estate agents a little basic technical knowledge, without a thorough orientation on social media culture can have disastrous effects.
It is very revealing to check out the social graphs of the real estate social media magazine writers and the highly-touted social media instructors in the industry.Â Many real estate instructors have had to adopt their 20 year old course content rather quickly to the ever-accelerating utilization of social media, technology, and other web based innovations. But it’s not enough to learn how to setup a Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn account, build a Facebook business page, or set up a blog if you don’t understand the culture you are stepping into. I don’t see many articles in the trade magazines about social media culture or engagement, just how to control, leverage, and dominate. One absolute truth about the social media culture: it has very little patience with being controlled, leveraged or dominated.
I first heard of Web 2.0 Suicide Machine a few weeks ago, and, as a closet Luddite, I must admit it had some appeal.Â The site automates your exit from social media, and seems to be gaining popularity with those fed up with the ubiquity of social networking, and yearning for the social elements of REAL life. Read more about the Suicide Machine, and a growing discomfort with the new media in USA TODAY’sSome ditch social networks to reclaim time, privacy.
Every morning after I have poured the first mug of coffee, I open the Google Reader to about 500 posts, RSS feeds from Google Alerts, real estate news, techie stuff, social media stuff, world and local news, commentary, financial……. more than any human needs to be confronted with in the earliest moments of the day.Â Usually that ritual happens before looking outside at the day’s weather. Oh, well I can get that online too, or on my phone.
Then it’s on to Facebook, and a barrage ofÂ personal updates, mostly from people I don’t really know; the invites to groups and fan pages I don’t care about; friend requests, mostly from other real estate people hopping on the social- media-magic-bullet-bandwagon; the incredibly annoying invites to Farmville, Mafia Wars, and other inane apps; and the long list of events that I may attend 2% of.
I learned to harness Twitter early on with Tweetdeck, but even there, folks who I have enjoyed following in the past are starting to get on my nerves with esoterica and kool kid stuff.Â And if it’s not that, it’s DMs from spammers.Â I have read lately about the importance of “Human Aggregators”Â for picking up on the most relevant Web 2.0 thought and trends.Â I don’t really have the time to go through those aggregators’ streams of 50+ tweets a day each to keep up with what’s relevant.
Even good old passive LinkedIn is getting annoying.Â I am getting connection requests from folks who I have nothing in common with. TonightÂ it was someone with 3 connections who lists his profession as Tobacco Professional,Â and a mining engineer with 1 connection.Â Who are these people?Â How did they find me?Â How in the world can the development of theses relationships add to our social capitol?
I find myself singing and humming Dave Matthews’ Too Much more and more these days.Â So what do you do to start re-establishing the connection with real life?
Here is my Plan:
If you invite me to become a fan more than twice, you are gone.
If you want to solicit me to join you in Mafia Wars, Farmville, or any other time wasting app, you are gone.
If your updates are continually in bad taste, overly esoteric, or loaded with promotions for your business, you are gone.
Twitter – Sure fire unfollows:
Excessive business promotion
And that’s just for starters.Â Â Sure, my Friend and Follower numbers will drop, as will my Klout score, but I really need to spend more time with my real life family and friends.Â And give a lot more attention to my clients and customers (you know, those folks who do business with me and allow me to have food and shelter).
What do you think?Â Is it getting to be Too Much?Â Do you have a plan?