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Real Estate Blogs Change When The Internet Is Scarce

April 30, 2007

I’m one of those people that always in self-analysis mode.  Nothing surprises me more than when my own behavior surprises me.  As I explained before I stayed in a hotel that will remain nameless in a part of Latin America that is extremely popular but outside of my normal stomping grounds. No internet in the rooms…ugg…down to the lobby/bar area to check emails.

Flash back to 1992 in hard hit earthquake area south of Limon, Costa Rica to illustrate my point. All of the permanent bridges south of Limon had been destroyed in the 1991 earthquake and replaced with temporary military style bridges. I decided to stay what seemed a short walk outside of a town with some friends.  Life was returning to normal several months after the earthquake and I was starting to check out properties around the area and talking to local residents while on vacation.  One day, the rain started falling so hard that you *literally* could not see your hand in front of your face. This happens on occasion and normally only lasts a few minutes. This time it rained that hard or almost that hard for 3-4 days with letting up. A wall of flood water from the Sixiola river washed away most if not all of the temporary bridges in the area, not to mention houses and people. Suddenly, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a real emergency and the place where I was staying became a small island onto itself. Every day for almost two weeks, I helped the local residents to haul water that had been helicoptered in just for basic necessities.  What had been a short walk before now seemed like a marathon when loaded down with the scarce daily ration of several gallons of water for drinking, bathing, and cleaning.  When I returned home, I came back with a renewed appreciation for water and the ease with which we had access to water in the US.  My habits changed – I stopped letting the water run while brushing my teeth.  Many of those habits have stayed with me until today as a result.

What does this have to real estate blogging? The internet certainly isnt as much of a necessity as water but it is a requirement in order to run my business while traveling. Having to make myself somewhat presentable and lug my portable computer down the hotel lobby added an element of scarcity to an important resource that I rarely thought about.  The internet had become my “water”. 

Almost by definition, scarcity requires prioritization and choices. As I self-assessed the situation, there was a decision making process required around the few minutes of free time on the hotel internet that required some hard choices about what blogs to read. I started pushing several well known and respected real estate blogs that are normally daily reads to the side only because they really provided little value-add and represented an opportunity cost for blogs that did provide value.

Prior to the hotel experience, I likely would have categorized blogs that I read as follows:

– blogs essential to my business
– blogs essential to personal development
– personal interest blogs

After the blog scarcity experiment, I would add the following category: blogs that everyone else reads (whether there is perceived value or not)

In a scarce Internet environment, many of the real estate and technology blogs that I had been reading and thinking of as being essential really weren’t. I unsubscribed from several for obvious reasons (to me anyway). For example, why waste time reading someone that is basically yelling at me about SEO in almost every post? SEO is important but life is too short to be yelled at by someone that has never seen my pages. Result? Unsubscribed.

Fanatics are often described as people that argue incessently about a single topic and never change that topic. Where is the value in reading 6-7 blog posts over a few day period about an already clearly stated point of view on a fairly unsubstantial topic and insinuating that people that might not agree actually are somehow not enlightened?  Some may cloak such shilling as “liberty”….I’d prefer to call it: unsubscribed.  Is it fun to read a “keyword rich” blog designed and geared to strategy more beneficial to the writer than to the reader? Life can be rich as well; unsubscribed. Do I really need to be told the N best ways to write blog posts Y different times with links to each article? Unsubscribed.

Don’t get me wrong. Readers are the value to real estate blogs but not every article can have value to every reader. There are dozens, hundreds, thousands of great blogs out there. If you wringing value out of your blogs, perfect….but how many do we read that bring little value over time?

Thoughts?

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