Six Degrees of Connecting with Clients

Social media aren’t new, but their adoption rate is growing among real estate practitioners as ways to connect with consumers and create professional camaraderie in a business that doesn’t tie people to their offices.

June 1, 2008

One of my favorite movies is “Six Degrees of Separation,” an edgy film from 1993, based on a play by John Guare. A premise of the story is that each of us is a mere six personal connections away from everyone else. I wonder how many degrees of separation Guare would have envisioned between us all if he were writing his play today?

Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Digg, del.icio.us, and thousands of blogs are fostering connections among people as never before. These “social media” tools allow information to be easily updated, shared, commented on, and rated.

Social media aren’t new, but their adoption rate is growing among real estate practitioners as ways to connect with consumers and create professional camaraderie in a business that doesn’t tie people to their offices. Consider this data from NAR’s 2008 Member Profile (released in May): 8 percent of all NAR members now have a blog (it was 4 percent last year), and another 13 percent plan to start a blog in the future. Even more telling, 31 percent of REALTORS® age 49 or younger have a blog, and another 53 percent plan to start one.

You need not look far to find these digitally engaged REALTORS®. Many of our newest group of 30 outstanding practitioners under 30—meet them beginning on page 26—leverage all manner of social media to broaden the reach of their businesses. I had a chance to spend the day with five of these talented and successful practitioners in April in Chicago at the photo shoot for this month’s cover. I found the group to be bright, passionate, and very savvy about social media.

NAR, too, is engaging in more social media to better connect with you. NAR now has a Facebook page, where you can find news about real estate trends and industry events, leave comments, and become “a fan.” Or join the new NAR group on LinkedIn, a great professional networking resource. And at major NAR meetings and conferences, you can stay current on the latest happenings by following the “tweets” (or comments) of conference attendees and NAR staff on Twitter, a real-time microblogging platform.

For sure, six degrees of separation in today’s networked world seems like an awful lot. If Guare were writing today, I think he might have titled his work “One-Sixth of a Degree of Separation.”

Pamela Geurds Kabati is the former publisher of REALTOR® Magazine and senior vice president of communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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