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REIQ Journal : August 2008
16 FEATURE Online communities Stories or posts usually break on a news service only to find a part of the whole story analysed and dissected on a blog where subscribers receive immediate notification and a thread of discussion creates a whole new platform of debate. This online conversation is slowly but surely creating an influence in the real estate industry – an influence that needs to be heard, managed and respected. To those of you who are already participating – good for you. To those who are not yet – grab a keyboard and join in. Whether you know and can share or need to learn and grow, there is much to say and so much more to still do. A pearl of wisdom Social media Social networking is a concept that’s been around since J.A. Barnes first coined the term in a sociology report back in 1954. However, it was the move onto the web in 1995 and the birth of MySpace in 2003 and Facebook in 2005 that instituted a whole new way of creating a network. It’s clear that marketers are rapidly embracing online social networking, as reflected in the current projections for advertising on these sites. Many mainstream companies have accepted the fast-growing social network scene as a place to market their products, but many are also adopting the same web technology in creating internal networks within their own companies. It turns out that social networking can also be an efficient way for companies to “mine” in-house expertise, discover new recruits and share information within their own walls. One study reports that 20 per cent of employees at large companies say they contribute regularly to blogs, social networks and wikis. Another research firm calculated that Americans spent approximately 12 per cent of all their Internet time on social networks in 2007. The Center for Medial Research reports that the average American spends 105 minutes of spare time online every day. That represents almost 30 minutes per day in a social network; 15 hours per month or four and a half weeks per year. REIQ Journal August 2008 The report also discusses numerous strategies that agents can follow to increase their income and maximise the opportunities created by the shifting market conditions.