Popcorn, Soda, Candy, Part Trois! (Then I’m Done)

And the drama has escalated once again.  The brouhaha was sort of dying down, but the flames have roared into life once again, with this from Dustin Luther (obviously a great and influential blogger), then this, and this, and I’m sure others I’m missing.

The comments in the Luther post are fascinating.

As a brand newbie into the RE.net, it’s fairly obvious that I have no dog in this fight, bloodhound or otherwise.  I like them all.  And Marc Davison’s original rock star post, despite my puzzling over it, hardly seems like the likely candidate for igniting such controversy.  He seems like a very smart guy — and apparently he held my current position before I got onboard (hey, a pun!), so I feel some strange connection to the man.  Seth Godin is a really smart guy too, but sometimes, he says crap that makes me scratch my head too.

I am a veteran in the political blogosphere (and even more vicious, the video gaming world), so this whole kerfuffle strikes me as a whole lot of much ado about nothing.  So some blogger was a prick to some other blogger.  Happens every hour of every day.  Far harsher things are said in that world than in this one, and I get that.  At least RE.net shares a common worldview, and a common reality, even if people disagree on what should be done within that reality.

If I might make a small suggestion — and I realize this may be presumptuous coming from a brand newbian — that everyone put away his or her outrage at one or the other side, internalize it, and move on?  Unsubscribe, bash each other, etc. etc. but I’m thinking it’s time to get back to business.  Maybe apologies all around and kumbayahs and joining hands might be good too.  I just don’t see the point in getting all personal about frikkin’ blog posts on either side of this controversy.

I figure, the blogosphere isn’t really about personality at the end of the day.  It’s about intelligence and insight.  Either someone says something worth hearing, or he doesn’t.  The nicest guy in the world could have nothing to contribute to the conversation, while the meanest son of a bitch might have insights that are useful to the various participants.  Or vice versa.

There is a valuable lesson here somewhere, however.  And I think it is this: On the Internet, it’s not who you are, but what you say, that matters.  These are just words on a screen — there’s no way to capture the tone of voice, the force of personality, the relationships, etc. that make up a person.  Some agents and companies love to blog about “personal” topics — for example, this post from Zillow.  In small doses, that kind of content can help humanize what would otherwise be a faceless corporation.  And that’s good.  But you have to have something worth reading, some insight, some viewpoint, some information as the rest of your content.  Otherwise, you’re just a nice guy with nothing to say.

As one might imagine, I’m trying to fit this into the official OnBoard blog strategy in my day job.  It’s actually a lot harder than it looks, so my hat is off to the people at Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Bloodhound, 4realz, 1000watts, and elsewhere that keep a lively blog going with useful information, thoughts and viewpoints worth checking out.

As for me, I’ll read any blogger, any blog post, that has interesting things in it — even if I disagree, flame the post, flame the poster, whatever.  Because it isn’t about them, but about me — what am I learning, what thoughts am I provoked to have, what assumptions am I having to question, etc.?

Having said all that, seems to me it would be a simple thing for Mr. Swann to just apologize, Mr. Davison to accept the apology, and there can be a nice happy ending to this drama. 🙂


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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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