First off let’s start with the grammar police. Before I even begin there will be people who REFUSE to take anything said further seriously because of what they perceive as non-adherence to or the exact strict following of The Elements Of Style.
And I understand that but and I say this with all the elements of style I can muster, Fuck Off. I don’t give a fuck about YOUR style and or your bitchy ass rules. I know your third-grade teacher gave you a gold star which you still treasure today. And isn’t that sweet, but I received A’s (yes for writing and composition) all the way up beyond and I could care the fuck less. I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times…Write 1000 words TWICE a week, post them up for all the world to see and do it for an entire DECADE and never miss ONE TIME! Oh, and then let me critique every letter, sentence, and comma, in front of your family.
Does that mean I am beyond criticism or asking for leniency about anything I write? Hell no I get it all the time. I’ve gotten over that from about one day after the first thing I ever posted. It’s called self-awareness. Look that definition the fuck up. Maybe quit worrying about syntax and look in the fucking mirror for once.
With that decade of doing whatever you want to call what this is that I am doing, I have seen many things #CRE #PROP and #TECH media and with that depth, I shockingly have my opinions about it.
Let’s jump back to the old days and remember that antiquated form of media called a newspaper. Yea, crazy I know, how are they still relevant. How much information do you get about #CRE in your local newspaper? Me, ZERO. Oh, there will be an occasional piece about how a developer is ruining a neighborhood to build something gaudy and ridiculous for only rich people. That’s all there is, along with who got busted for meth, what coach or teacher got busted for child porn and …..did I just go too far? That’s the point. That’s all newspapers have become. They are not a source of news they are the purveyors of _______ (Fill in your own words) and they only way to justify their existence is to do what. Sensationalize. When was the last time a positive story was written about #CRE? Think…almost never. Unless of course, it’s the local Mayor and the city attorney doing a new project, (that they personally own) well then it’s about the greatest thing the city has ever seen. How many of you are smiling and shaking your head yes because that’s how we all know it works.
As we progressed that little thing called the internet started gaining a hold on the planet and a few hearty souls ventured out there with their name and brands to test what that world had to offer. Back in 2012, I wrote Where Is The “New Media?” Is This a Rant? This was in reaction to a real estate related journalism event I had been invited to. You can read it for yourself but here is a quote from a conversation I had on a bus with one of the attendees. I mentioned to a journalist type that I was a Broker. The response to that was “what do you want to be when you grow up?” My response “even fucking richer!” The naivety to what was coming and their blatant disregard for the people that were covering was astonishing.
In 2010 I had started creating Top Commercial Real Estate Blogs You Must Read Lists. Even then the content was just more about how the business worked and what #CRE people actually do. If you clicked did you notice one or two familiar names? It has evolved into my annual Top 50 Blogs list. I filter it every year, some stay on the list and some just fall away. It takes effort and it takes real work to maintain a writing schedule, most have no desire to even start. Those that do have a huge advantage in the marketplace because they can and are defining their message for the entire world to see. That my friends is a powerful tool to have for any business and for the most part it’s free.
After this small step forward there were some “media” people who saw an opportunity to create their own brand and aggregate news for #CRE #Property and #TECH and basically, that’s all they did, grab an RSS feed from anyone and everyone they could and post it up. They would then either ask people to subscribe and or tease with a few stories and try and monetize it the same way as every other media property. The Pay Wall. And guess where we are five or ten years later? At exactly the same place. Nothing new or innovative at all business model wise. The basic thought seems to be if The New York Times can do it then we should be able to do it. I think that’s bullshit because only the NYT is the NYT and to those that think there is value and that to see anything of value you should pay, fair enough.
I have an original idea, create your own shit and post it up. Wait, is that too hard and too expensive to do? Is the audience not big enough or are there not enough eyeballs to justify a spend from sponsors. Well, sorry, that’s just how the world works. I have an idea, get a better business model…or just give it away for free and figure out how to make money otherwise. Maybe buy a building or something outrageous like that.
Even as far back as 2011 the big visual possibility of YouTube and other outlets could not be ignored. Yes, of course, I jumped in to take a look at it myself. Oh, the time and effort it took to try and put something together was daunting. I am not a fan of seeing my face anywhere. That might be hard to believe in this day and culture of show your ass at every possible moment that we live in. In 2016 I wrote Attraction Marketing or How To Be UNFAMOUS! And I pissed off some vain and narcissistic people to the core which made writing it even better. Here is a small excerpt from that article. “I said being watched by anyone. 17 views 36 views. 43 views. Does that justify the time and effort it takes to put those things together? How many times can you look at your own face?”
As we sit here today there is still NOTHING in #CRE that justfies showing your ass on YouTube other than blatant vanity. The views or hits are…worthless. This article I am writing will get (on average) 10-15-20 thousand views, yes that many. Show me that reach or eyeballs on YouTube.
I have to use this somewhere and right here is as good of a place as any but I was having a conversation with someone about this subject and I brought up my space heater. They were like “what?” To my point, I needed to look at the function and controls of my space heater in my apartment so I searched it on YouTube. The video I found had over 56,000 views in less than a year. And I said to them “the space heater is kicking your ass on YouTube.” They were like “what do you mean?” I said “the space heater has 56,000+ views and it just sits there. You take all that time and effort to post to YouTube for what? Your Mom?”
Let me ask this simple question. How many times can old bald white guys sit down and talk to old bald white guys? Is it not the same shit that was said 5-10-15 years ago? What’s the point other than….. vanity? You decide.
The StartUps and Associations.
Way back in the day, the associations of #CRE were in my opinion way ahead of the game. Why? They already had a defined audience and they had an obvious mandate and that was to at the very least educate and inform their audience. One other advantage that they had was that most if not all had professional writers creating content for them. So with that, there was back then and continues today to be some quality content put out by many associations. They know how to do it and do it well.
The startups took a different path and one that I think was refreshing for the time. Maybe it had to do with youth but they were just more transparent. Most of the Ceo’s were on Twitter from the beginning. It was not uncommon to see them on a number of panels and they made every effort to interact with customers when they got the chance. Some of that has tempered but that’s probaly because they are trying to build companies and just like those associations they have hired professional people to help them get the message out.
One thing I must touch on was the recent #CRE #crypto…shitshow. And it was just that. That was how NOT to do media and gain any type of credibility. I look back at that and how many ways can you piss off potential customers, how many ways can you try and blatantly steal money from people. Most if not all of it was media based and they used every possible channel available. Ironically the ones that have stayed around and might actually be building something are using Facebook and Twitter to do their messaging. The others, well they just went back to playing video games in the parent’s basement.
The Media That is Social.
Where do I even start with this? I remember way back at ICSC years ago I did a quick half hour presentation about social media. It just so happens that ICSC wanted one of their “members” on the panel also. So, this guy …had all the badges, all the pins. all the gray hair and all of the multicolored pants and jacket combos you could imagine. Needless to say, it was not pretty…for him. He had no fucking clue. Oh, he had seen Twitter, he had created a LinkedIn profile but I do give him credit he had the balls to sit there and flat out lie his ass off. I wrote recently about one of the issues holding back #CRE and #TECH and that was “experience.” And by that, I meant the ability to bullshit and story away anything that comes along as just something new but not really new at all.
Social media has done away with most of that. Social media, for the most part, creates transparency. Yes, I know there are different parts of social media that are fake as hell like Instagram but for better or worse social media exposes most people for what they are. But, there are some who use it as a business weapon. Twitter is TV for intellectuals, LinkedIn is way underrated for all thigs business and your personal #CRE website is still…shit. There are more platforms trying to take hold like WhatsApp, Slack or whatever but still, it’s about conversations and connections. It always has been and it always will.
One thing that I will give social media credit for is that it has indeed delivered on what it promised and that is worldwide connection. For me to think about the people all over this planet I have met because of social media is astonishing.
It Comes In Waves.
Every three or four years there seems to be a new wave, a wave of people who seem to think they have just discovered an incredible new way to communicate to and with the world. They bust out a fancy website with all kinds of bells and whistles or should I say Firefox, Dreamweaver or Sublime Text and try and pull the #CRE #Prop #Tech community to their little piece of the web. Some if not most all of them stay around for a little while if only until they realize that the simple equation of time equals money is not going their way and then they move on to something else. To me, it’s all the same as before maybe in some ways it could be seen as just that little bit different. But, this is just My Take On #CRE #Prop #Tech Media And Content.
And I’ve Seen This All Before!
+1 Who remembers PikeNet?