Proposed roads to social media freedom

The world as it could be made In his book Proposed Roads to Freedom, social philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote:

“In the daily lives of most men and women, fear plays a greater part than hope: they are more filled with the thought of the possessions that others may take from them, than of the joy that they might create in their own lives and in the lives with which they come in contact. It is not so that life should be lived.”

Russell’s book provided an astute account of socialism, anarchism and syndicalism and how these movements would contribute to a social reconstruction after World War I.

As a pacifist and Utopian dreamer, Russell probably never imagined that a social revolution of sorts would one day unfold online or that his work would be used as a metaphor to tell a story about Twitter on real estate blog.

Roads to social freedom

Russell once said, “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

His life was conditioned by that statement. Throughout it, he would revise his thoughts and perceptions of society and the world around him.

I aspire to that myself and often return to this quote as a means of defusing my own cynicism.

Case in point: Twitter. I signed up soon after it launched and not long after began to form opinions about it. By late 2008, I was convinced it was stupid and vast waste of time.

A fool on a fanatical hill.

In early 2009 I found myself hospitalized and forced into to a month-long recovery that allowed me to rethink many things. Including, oddly, Twitter. I began to research it. Publish on it. And engage socially with people I might never meet otherwise.

So far I’ve made no money from it. I’ve done one better.


Yesterday morning I received a simple tweet from The Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon where I invited a local developer through Twitter to come meet me here where I am staying. Soon after I received this: the-nines2 This simple tweet:

  • Made me feel special
  • Did so in a personalized manner
  • Connected with me via my preferred means of communication
  • Made my choice to stay at the Nines feel more right by connecting with me on that common ground
  • Offered me a way to provide feedback without putting myself out

The return reply I received immediately after my reply back told me there was a real human being behind this brand.

Most hotels acknowledge you by way of a recorded message on your room phone indicated by an annoying blinking red light. Or by emailing you a link to an impersonal survey days after you return home. Most people accept that as business as usual and don’t think much of it, which might explain why most people do not develop personal relationships with hotels.

But not this time. Through a simple tweet and reply that turned into a mutual follow, this hotel which I have never stayed at before, stood out from every hotel I have ever stayed at and became my friend by giving me a simple little online kiss on the cheek.

Social media to the nines

Too many real estate entities are bothered by what they think social media is. Or what it isn’t. Or how much time it takes to embrace it. They reach conclusions about it, embrace them to utter certainty. I can relate.

But consider this: In all of two seconds a hotel accomplished something with me that every entity within real estate longs for. Some have spent fortunes to try and create. And as a result, it will take a massive screw up at this point to not make me a customer for life.

The cost to them? Bupkis.

You might think of me as shallow. Or perhaps a walking paradox that vacillates between philosophical logicism and whimsical musing. Well that’s how I roll. And I believe that in this wild, wacky, social world we now occupy, it’s how others roll as well.

Real estate entities yearn for some magic bullet to win over clients. There’s only one. But first:

  • Turn your front desk receptionist into your online receptionist.
  • Turn your marketing department into your online customer service department.
  • Turn yourself into an online concierge for your brand.
  • Set up Tweetdeck. Set it to alert you every time your town is referenced. Or the phrase real estate. Or your company name. Or whatever you decide is appropriate.
  • Then, as you would socialize at neighbor’s barbecue, immerse yourself in online dialogue. Folks, at 140 characters, we’re talking seconds.
  • Be natural. Be yourself. Be a friend.
  • Extend a little bit of your brand love with a few online kisses of your own. There’s nothing about this you need to fear.

The bullet? Do it.