Teresa's unique blog/cell phone communications tool

Teresa Boardman is a wonderful friend and
blogger. She wrote this intriguing article about how she uses blogging technology together with her cell phone as a voice-enabled security system for herself (as a Realtor). She then extends the system by creating blogs for her clients so she can communicate updates to them via the blogs using her cell phone.
(Kevin Boer, wired agent, would be proud of the setup...)

by Teresa - - -

Pat was kind enough to give me some space today to write about something that is kind of geeky, but also a public service message for real estate agents..  I have a blog of my own but it is mostly about St. Paul and about real estate, the most excellent Transparent Real Estate is an industry blog, read by real estate professionals all over the country, and a more appropriate place to make a nerdy post (I'll take that as a compliment...pk)
My life has changed quite a bit in the last year.  I used to work out of a real estate office with other agents, but am now an army of one, working alone from my home and a few neighborhood coffee shops with wireless internet access.  Technology has helped me do all of this with the greatest of ease.  It wasn't my goal to work alone and it did take me six months to get used to it. 
Services that I used to rely on people for now come from cyber space, but an incident happened a couple of weeks ago that opened my eyes to a serious flaw in my systems.  Being a real estate agent can be dangerous.  I meet with total strangers in vacant houses and no one knows where I am or who I am with. When I worked from a real estate office, other agents and the front desk staff knew where I was.  I have told my husband several times that if he ever has to file a missing persons report to leave out the fact that I am a realtor or no one will bother to look for me.
Maybe I should not use such harsh words but the truth is that realtors do get killed every year, and men have just as high of a death rate as woman do.  There are so many situations that we get into that are unsafe.  Robbery is the most common motive for crimes committed against realtors.   (See realtor safety)
I used my imagination and a little technology and set up a mobile blog using Blogger, which is free.  I started with a  test blog using the same technology,  it seems to amuse some of my friends and colleagues, as I go about my day taking random photos and leaving short comments, I am so addicted to it that I can't help making a few posts everyday.

*** Just have to provide a peek at Teresa's test blog, which I guess by publicizing it, now becomes Teresa's beta blog... pk ***
I use my cell phone with a built in camera to snap a picture of the stranger that I meet at a vacant house.  Sometimes I just take a picture of the vehicle they arrive in from my car, taking care to focus on the license plate.  It is nice to get the shot sent and posted before I get out of my car. I can easily type an address in the subject line and the picture tells the rest of the story.  
With the press of a button I send the picture with a few identifying words to my blog using MMS technology. I can do this very quickly, with one hand.  MMS, (multimedia messaging service) is a protocol used to send graphics or even sound from one phone to another.  It can also be used to send images to the internet.  It works the same way as SMS, short messaging service but makes it possible to send bigger units of data.  SMS is just like it sounds, and is used for sending text messages.
The blog is password protected and  three or four people have the password and can check it.  If I fail to show up at home my husband can call me, but if I don't answer with in a reasonable length of time he can check the blog and he might just find that I am in a coffee shop, just a few blocks away,  writing an offer and not answering my phone.
Blogger also accepts voice files which can be sent to the blog and are translated into MP3 files, which means I can simply say where I am and what I am doing. Using an address that is stored in my phone makes sending data to the blog faster than making a phone call.  The post appears on the blog seconds after it is sent.  Not to sound too geeky but I think the technology is drop dead cool!
As a communication tool using a blog is only limited by our imaginations, I am sure the same statement can be made about numerous other technologies that we don't even think about.  I also started setting up blogs for my sellers.  I can post feedback from showings and list what services I have provided to market the property each week. They are actually wiki's but I am finding that no one really wants to hear about my wiki's so I just call them blogs.  This works better than email because my clients can get the information when they want it and I don't have to worry about a misunderstanding caused by hyperactive spam filters that prevent my email from getting to my clients.
Teresa Boardman

Thank you Teresa...

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  • 2/12/2007 8:46 AM Kevin Boer wrote:
    Teresa, this wins my prize for "creative real estate technology" and then some! I'm pretty wired myself, but I have to say my security system pales in comparison to yours. Mine consists of a cannister of pepper spray!
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  • 2/12/2007 4:28 PM Norm Fisher wrote:
    Great idea Teresa. Glad to hear that you're thinking about safety. We had a very unfortunate situation here last year. I am still amazed how most agents will run out into the dark to meet a total stranger.
    Reply to this

  • 3/24/2007 2:49 PM Dave Lopez wrote:
    Brilliant! And you make it sound so easy and it probably is. I'll get there. Question. With the new regulation that e-mail files now must be stored as records for possible future legal reasons along with our conversation logs, how do you save the wiki/blog dialogues?
    Reply to this

  • 3/25/2007 5:46 AM Teresa Boardman wrote:
    David - I am not sure I understand the question but everything on my mobile blog is archived and nothing is ever deleted. I suppose I could back up the files in a seperate location incase something goes wrong but I suspect it all all pretty safe.
    Reply to this

  • 7/30/2008 8:26 AM John Garger wrote:
    Can someone give me an idea whether or not I should go for a smart phone or just use a more stylish phone and wait for some better technology? I am on the Sprint network, and was referred to http://www.sanyowireless.com , but I'm not seeing any options that look like smart phones. I don't need an MP3 player or a camera, I'd rather have a phone that is lighter and easier to carry. Any recommendations would be welcome.
    Reply to this

  • 11/9/2008 2:48 AM venkat gadde wrote:
    plot for selll k p h b nalagantha&tellapur huda lay out s
    Reply to this

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