Radical Transparency - Part 1

Remember when you said to yourself: "I'll never have any of my personal information exposed on the internet?"

Flip back five years to Christmas 2001. You may remember the dot.com bust heralded an "internet is dangerous" media push as the spectres of identity fraud, cyberstalking and debilitating viruses mirrored times made fragile by those horrible terrorist attacks. Individual privacy seemed paramount, and the social networks that started in the late 90's with properties like Six Degrees.com all disappeared.

Then, the revolt. Although blogs had existed before, they emerged into mass media and mass consciousness in 2002 first as vehicles for political voices countering the overwhelming "don't question the War" sentiment of the day. Blogging and its breakout cousin
MySpace, which replicates the blog's journal functionality within the context of a social network, ushered in a new social change of personal transparency. The internet is no longer "dangerous" but embraceable - MySpace, blogs and social networks made publishing the facets of personal identity acceptable in society.

Chris Anderson, editor of
Wired and author of Long Tail, runs with the concept to promote Radical Transparency in a set of two articles. I'll be discussing the first article today as it relates to the new real estate marketing and the second part as it relates to personal branding tomorrow:


Chris Anderson considers the differences between web 1.0 of 2001 and today's web 2.0:

THEN: Bookmarks and habit drive traffic to the home page; site architecture and editorial hierarchy determines where readers go next. Portals rule.

NOW: Search and blog links drive readers to individual stories; they leave as quickly as they come. "De-portalization" rules.

LESSON: Although real estate websites try to maintain their status as portals, they will need to add more dynamic content (like blogs and wikis) or risk becoming ineffective. The consumer will be hopping around collecting information before deciding on real estate representation.


THEN: Media as Lecture: we create content, you read it.

NOW: Media as Conversation: a total blur between traditional journalism, blogging and user comment/contributions.

LESSON: Enough said - - real estate blogs/wikis and forums like Active Rain are at the beginning stages of explosive growth as real estate marketing vehicles.


THEN: We control the site. Editors are gatekeepers.

NOW: We share control with readers. Editors catalyze and curate conversations that happen as much "out there" as on our own site.

LESSON: Once the consumer has digested all they need to know about content on a site, they outgrow it and it is no longer relevant. That's why no one links to most IDX websites.  Guiding the consumer on how to best utilize all the information and data on the web will be the premium service a real estate professional can provide to capture the lead.

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  • 12/27/2006 9:02 AM Bonnie Erickson wrote:
    Helpful analysis for a "beginners" like me, Pat. I like power to the people better than power to the portals!
    Reply to this
    1. 12/28/2006 12:42 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Hey Bonnie... you sure know your stuff... we both remember when I was a beginner too

      Reply to this

  • 12/27/2006 10:43 AM Danilo Bogdanovic -real/diaBlog wrote:
    That is the best short, sweet and to the point summaries on the topic I've read yet! You definitely "see the light".

    The question I have is how do we get consumers more involved in blogging? There is still a divide between consumers and industry professionals.

    Industry professionals are engaged, but most consumers are not. Many consumers think that a blog is a personal rant rather than anything else.

    Any suggestions or thoughts?
    Reply to this

  • 12/27/2006 4:28 PM Jerry wrote:
    It is so amazing how far we have come in such a short amount of time with the internet. Whats even more amazing is the difference between static web sites of web 1.0 and how fast we are moving the web towards dynamic use of blogs and the whole 2.0

    The next few years will probably be go even faster with the new technolgies. I'm sure glad I decided to start my blog when I did, albeit a little late, but never the less, it's now up and running.

    Have a good day...talk to you guys soon.
    Reply to this

  • 12/27/2006 7:05 PM Terry Smith wrote:
    I was talking to my father about this during the holidays, the change is so fascinating and being able to see the change in behavior on the internet of all of us, becoming social online, what an opportunity for all of us! If you are out there you will receive, funny though, we have a bad site that we will close on a 650K property in Jan. Something for everyone I guess...
    Reply to this

  • 12/28/2006 12:15 AM Drew Meyers wrote:
    Great question --
    "The question I have is how do we get consumers more involved in blogging? There is still a divide between consumers and industry professionals."

    I think it is going to take some time and it won't happen until blogs become more mainstream than they are currently. However, I believe the transition has definitely already started to occur.

    Any further thoughts by anyone else?
    Reply to this
    1. 12/28/2006 12:37 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Danilo, Drew,

      Zillow's Real Estate Wiki is a good start in harnessing the consumer readership and get them interacting with the industry professionals. Stay tuned... I see more activity on the horizon to connect the consumer with the real estate blogosphere.

      (oh, thanks Danilo for the sweet compliment...)

      Reply to this

  • 12/28/2006 6:19 AM Erik Hersman wrote:
    Pat, this is a very thoughtful post.

    It makes me think of the differences that we've seen on community building over the last 4-5 years. Where once community was defined by a single site (think Yahoo), we now find ourselves thinking of our community as those who read and write about many of the same things that we do.

    A good example of this is found in MyBlogLog usage and the instant community that it creates. Though none of us are centered around their website, their tool shows that certain people are reading where you are reading as well. For instance, I noticed that you were reading Keith Teare's post on De-portalization the other day. I knew we were thinking about the same type of stuff and I recognized you as a member of the real estate blogging community that I'm a part of.

    More than anything else, we need to realize that we're on the front end of a very big wave. Many more people are getting into and embracing "de-portalized" media.
    Reply to this
    1. 12/29/2006 1:23 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thanks Eric... we do share similar visions and I think the "stalking" like functionality of MBL is amusing... I do notice your RT icon within our "...hoods".

      Reply to this

  • 12/28/2006 6:29 AM Al Kernek wrote:
    I agree with the comments here. The dynamics of Internet marketing often seem to be evolving faster than we can digest them.

    To retain consumer interest, a Website must be dynamic. Refreshing content is critical to achieving this.

    Consumer interaction on real estate sites is a means of competitive differentiation...and ultimately gaining more business. The challenge is to engage site visitors in a meaningful fashion that motivates them to participate.

    Some good, honest interactive discussion of consumer likes, dislikes, desires, questions, feedback and assessments in a blog or wiki environment will actively engage them and lead to Website models that offer enhanced value.

    Thanks to all of you for this insightful dialogue.
    Reply to this

  • 12/28/2006 11:23 AM Danilo Bogdanovic - real/daiBlog wrote:

    Thanks and I agree. I guess it's a natural progression that will eventually occur. I'm curious as to whether there's anything we as industry professionals and bloggers can do to help.

    And Pat...after reading your comment, do you know something the rest of us don't? Please, do share!
    Reply to this
    1. 12/29/2006 8:45 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Danilo, I'm involved in a project that aspires to bridge consumers with the blogosphere... I'll be able to discuss it pretty soon.

      Reply to this
      1. 12/29/2006 12:32 PM Danilo Bogdanovic - real/diaBlog wrote:
        I look forward to hearing about it when the time comes. The focus and the timing are great, that's for sure.

        I'm working on a project myself - more to come later in the spring. I'll have to get your feedback on it once it's complete.

        Have a great NYE!
        Reply to this

  • 2/26/2007 12:14 PM Diane Cipa wrote:
    I feel like I jumped on a merry-go-round and it feels like a thousand years since I first commented here, Pat. Good post. I keep reading your feeds in continued awe of your grasp on the whole blog blastamonium craze.
    Reply to this

  • 9/11/2007 1:03 PM Collin County Real Estate wrote:
    I remember back when we started using the internet in 1997 or so, my parents were so afraid to buy anything or put out any personal information. How times have changed. My mother just got a facebook account and is an active eBay user. Go figure.
    Reply to this

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