"Is it possible to be TOO transparent?" - Blog Tips for Rain Drips

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams West Sound Realty

One of the big buzz words circulating around the blogosphere these days is 'Transparency.'

 Supposedly, according to net-savvy soothsayers and proponents of Web 2.0, today's consumers are demanding greater transparency in our business practices and ethics. Aspects of our trade that have long been cloaked in mystery are being exposed and explained.

This trend of 'Transparency' has naturally found it's way into conversational blogging as well. In order to develop trust with our readers, we are encouraged to reveal our true selves - to convey a candid authenticity through our writing; a willingness to be vulnerable and open.

But is it possible for us to become TOO transparent? Can we share TOO much information in the process?

I find that TV commercials reflect similar trends in our society. Now, thanks to transparency in advertising, I have to explain to my youngest son what erectile dysfunction is. And I'm so glad that it's a 'growing' problem, not a 'going' problem!

Is it possible to take this heightened desire for 'transparency' TOO far to one extreme? Is it still considered 'taboo' to reveal too much about your personal details on the Web?

On his blog, The Reasoner, Bes Zain states that transparency should be 'relevant' to your content and the nature of your blogsite.

In order to effectively build a relationship of trust with our audience, to what extent do we need to reveal ourselves? Are there any limits or boundaries to what we should share?

For further Food for Thought, consider this additional valued article:

"Should Transparency Really include our Private Lives?" by our beloved TLW

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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG and Crabbing in the Hood, or e-mail:  kitsapagent@gmail.com

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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Rich - I am exceptionally transparent in my personal life and in my professional life (i.e. there is a blurry line there sometimes).  I have found that people are infinitely more comfortable befriending me and doing business with me if I share a bit of myself with them.  In fact, I used to use Hobbs-Herder marketing materials, and I remember how much they talked about making the consumer comfortable before they even pick up the phone or email you. 

I think it is really up to the individual to determine how transparent they wish to be.  I, for one, will never judge anyone for sharing personal details that they want to share.  Conversely, if someone doesn't feel comfortable doing this, I don't think they should feel pressured to do so either.  I just know what works for me!  So far, in about two and a half months here, I have had one sale and two referrals from Active Rain, none of which came from my "real estate" posts.  Just my two cents.

Oct 16, 2007 04:42 PM #24
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Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
Jason - Foremost, I think consumers want the 'real' deal (no, not Neal Bloom!), but just the genuine article. They want honesty in what we do. They want to know that we really care about them and will work diligently on their behalf. 
Oct 16, 2007 04:47 PM #25
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Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
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Susan - while you may leave out specific details of your personal life, your genuineness and concern for clients becomes apparent through your writing.
Oct 16, 2007 04:49 PM #26
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Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
Rich - I couldn't agree more.  I may share more personal details than others, but there is not really a right or wrong way to blog, in my opinion.  I suppose my answer to the original question posed here is no, unless you are doing something to endanger others or yourself, or if you are posting something really inappropriate.  Thanks for a thought-provoking post!
Oct 16, 2007 04:50 PM #27
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

I agree completely.  We need more transparency in real estate.

  • We need for buyers to be more transparent about their financials.
  • We need for buyers to be more transparent about their loyalty.
  • We need for buyers to be more transparent about their real estate friends and relatives.
  • We need for sellers to be more transparent about their intention to sell at market.
  • We need for sellers to be more transparent about property condition.

Yep.  Transparency is a good thing.

Oct 16, 2007 04:58 PM #28
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Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
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Lenn - once again, your wisdom pervades the day! If only it truly were a two-way street! But unfortunately, what's good for the goose just gets him cooked!
Oct 16, 2007 05:01 PM #29
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Thomas Weiss
Thomas R. Weiss - West Palm Beach, FL

Rich,

I just learned something new from you :0) I always gain something, and good points.

Thanks,

Tom Weiss

Oct 16, 2007 07:33 PM #30
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Randal Keberlein
BMO Harris - Milwaukee, WI
I think transparency is the next step in "relationship" sales.  I think that in this case it is wise to make sure the next step does'nt lead you over the proverbial cliff.
Oct 16, 2007 07:50 PM #31
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Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
Thomas - Sweet! How cool is that? That's truly the best compliment I could ever receive. Thanks, man!
Oct 16, 2007 07:59 PM #32
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Revealing bits of your personal life to clients in person is one thing. Revealing those things over the internet is quite another. It's just too dangerous. I try to be personable with my blogging, but not personal. To me there is a distinction between those words.

Oct 16, 2007 08:10 PM #33
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Ginger Wilcox
Trulia - Larkspur, CA
Hi Rich.  Excellent question.  I am in the middle.  I think customers do need to find a way to connect with you, but I am also conservative when it comes to protecting the safety and privacy of my family.  I believe I am visible in the public, but they don't need to be.  I have serious safety concerns for them + they don't get to choose!  It is a hard balance for me.  I know I am much more transparent here on AR than I am on my other blog.  I think I am still seeking the right transparent spot for me.
Oct 17, 2007 08:33 AM #34
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Marty Van Diest
Valley Market Real Estate - Wasilla, AK
Your Alaskan Realtor

I think it's a sliding scale.  Be as transparent as you want to be while keeping safety for you and your family in mind.

You will attract different clients, not necessarily more or less, based upon your level of transparency.  If you talk about only business on your blog, you will attract people who like that approach.  If you spend a lot of time on a personal or emotional level, you will attract those types of buyers.

The beauty of blogging is that it tends to filter your clientele towards the people you are most comfortable with.  It's "self-regulating prospecting". 

Oct 17, 2007 08:36 AM #35
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Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate
Rich, I agree with Ines and Rick.  There is a fine line between transparency and TMI.  One thing I have found is that over the past 16 years in real estate I am much more likely now to become friends with my clients.  I used to have a professional wall and NEVER allowed myself to be anything other than a true professional.  Only since my move here have I realized it's okay to let my clients "in" a bit and develop long-term relationships.  I now feel more connected with my past clients.  I don't know if this is transparency exactly but I'll share it anyway:)
Oct 17, 2007 08:57 AM #36
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Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE

Enough to show the "real" me....not too much to stun people in going the other direction. I'm sure all of us can tell some "stories".....does everyone want to hear those while conducting business. Maybe...but most likely not. I suppose it would "depend" (no not BB's diapers) on the person I am interacting with. I told one story about myself and it stunned people here. I left it for a reason. It is a success story for me and I have spoken in conferences regarding abuse.

On the other hand...intimate details of my personal life I am stingy with. That's for family and ....friends. (and I have just a couple out of over 50k here).....it still takes TIME to get to know someone....and the only one I have shared more with is TLW. Why? There's trust there. Trust takes time...so transparency falls in that category for me as well.

Oct 17, 2007 01:33 PM #37
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Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Hey, Everyone!  Thanks for all of your input and comments. This is some really excellent dialogue!

Oct 17, 2007 01:37 PM #38
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Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing VP & Real Estate Agent Coach
I prefer to be "opaque", myself...or perhaps "glassblockish"?  We talked about this on your other post about how your faith intersects with your business. I think if it seems appropriate to share online then it  probably is - you're your own best editor after a couple of hundred posts.
Oct 17, 2007 01:51 PM #39
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Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Can I copy and paste Lenns comments ? NO ?

Ok then I agree with everything she said.

Oct 17, 2007 02:55 PM #40
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Justin Jordan
Keller Williams Elite Realty - Bonita Springs, FL
Great Post! I do not believe there is anything wrong with letting your personality come out in your writing. Being too transparate could be putting your personal issues online. For instance an erectile disfuction. 
Oct 18, 2007 02:32 PM #41
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Janie Coffey
One Sotheby's International Realty - Coral Gables, FL
GRI - Miami Real Estate
Hi Rich, my comment is not only about this blog but many of your recent blogs.  They are all just fantastic, great content, well delivered and solid-take home value.  Thank you for sharing so much with the AR community, your fruits will surely be rewarded (and with more than all those gold stars you are racking up!)  
Oct 25, 2007 09:21 AM #42
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Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
Janie - What a wonderful way to start my day, to find this comment from you. Thanks, I really needed to hear that. I wonder sometimes if anything I contribute here really has any practical value. It's nice to know you appreciate them. Have an awesome day!
Oct 25, 2007 09:32 AM #43
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