Posts belonging to Category Technology



President’s Message, April 2014

We are having a busy spring at TBR! 

Great American REALTOR® Day. Our CEO, Steven Louchheim; DVP, Debbie Kirkland; president-elect, Mariela Santurri; past-president, Bert Bevis; other TBR members, including Joy Woodruff; and I attended the Florida REALTORS® Meet & Greet with Governor Scott at the Governor’s Mansion. Governor Scott reinforced his support of Florida REALTORS®’ continued efforts to improve the state’s economy. He also mentioned how much he valued the Florida REALTORS®’ friendship and John Sebree keeping him informed of pertinent public policy issues. 

Each year, Great American REALTOR® Day provides an opportunity for delegation of TBR members to visit the Capital to talk to our legislators about REALTOR® Party issues. This year, we had meetings scheduled with Senator Bill Montford and representatives Alan Williams and Michele Rehwinkle Vasilinda.

As most of you know, we are advocates for our clients’ private property rights, as well as protecting the means of making a living for our REALTORS® and business partners. Some of the key issues this year include:

1. Taxes on commercial leases. This tax on Florida businesses is a deterrent to those looking to relocate to our state.

2. The Sadowski Fund. We have been paying into this fund with every closed transaction, specifically to help first-time homebuyers and other real estate buyers, and this fund has been raided by the State of Florida as a general revenue source. We are trying to either discontinue this fee or have it be used for its intended purpose. [Note: As of this writing, the Florida Senate has approved full funding for the Sadowski fund ($275 million). We are now waiting for the House to act on this issue.]

3. Clean water. We are trying to enforce laws to protect our waterways and ensure all communities have clean water. 

Springtime Tallahassee. TBR had our first professionally decorated float in the Springtime Tallahassee parade! While the weather started out raining (and threatening more bad weather), by the time the parade kicked off and started down the route, the skies opened up and the sun came shining through! Thanks again to the hard-working Communications Committee for bringing it all together. 

Habitat for Humanity. Our TBR/FSU Habitat Build is coming along nicely; we have had groups of 15 to 20 REALTORS® and affiliate business partners each Build Day. We’re looking forward to the dedication ceremony—stay tuned to eBoard Briefs for the announcement, and make plans to join us in presenting this beautiful new home to a happy new homeowner. 

#CTF2014. Our annual CATRS Tech Forum will be coming up May 8. You do not want to miss this opportunity—the event sold out last year! In addition to the latest tech tips and news, we’ll have over10 exhibitors—from cell phones and electronics, to Paragon MLS and REALTORS® Property Resource—and they are sure to have some fantastic door prizes for attendees. 

Professional Development. If you don’t already have your REP pass, we have so many great classes coming up that you may want to get it! April classes include one on home inspections, and an informative look at what it takes to make the leap from salesperson to broker. 

Another REP class is of interest to appraisers—the Florida Appraisers State Law Update on April 18. And we’re offering two other courses required for appraisers, with great tuition rates for TBR members: the USPAP National Update course on April 17 and Appraiser Supervisor/Trainee class on April 18. 

Interested in designation courses? At Home with Diversity on May 1 provides seven hours continuing education credit, and can be credited towards several real estate designations: ABR, CIPS, CRS, PMN, AHWD, RSPS. And after taking the class, participants can apply to NAR to receive the AHWD certification. 

Jeffrey D. Doxsee, Sr.
2014 TBR President
Capital Property Consultants

MLS: What Are You Missing?

PART I
I guess everyone knows what an MLS is. At its core, the MLS is a means for participants (brokers) in the MLS to communicate offers of compensation with other participants. That is it. Your MLS is a means to an orderly marketplace, where brokers can assist their sellers and their buyers.

Over the years, a greater number of tools have been added to the MLS to assist participants and subscribers (agents) in finding and evaluating the real estate market in any given area. Just about everyone uses basic search functionality: area, price, bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc. But I bet there are some hidden gems in the system that most agents either don’t realize exist, or, if they ever knew, have not used or don’t know how to use.

Multi-tasking
Did you know that you can run up to three different searches in each class at the same time?

In the screenshot at left, I am doing searches in Residential, Multi-Family, and Lots and Land classes. In the Multi-Family class, I have two searches (see the tabs) and the green “+New Search” button lets me know I can do a third search.

Mapping
Powerful mapping tools in the MLS allow you to search by any shape. For example, have a buyer that wants to be in Southwood, but not on the golf course? Since the frontage feature does not allow you to exclude, just draw shapes on the map that fits the criteria—you can catch houses on the same street as golf course frontage and are sure to meet the buyer’s needs.

PART 2
Stay tuned to next month’s eZine/blog post for other features in the MLS.

Steven Louchheim
TBR Executive Director

Immediate Action Required: Back Up Your Data Now

You may be aware of a new ransomware known as Cryptolocker. Yes, you read correctly: it is ransomware that can infect your PC or servers in the form of a Trojan, virus, or phishing attack. It renders your files and folders unreadable by encrypting them. The software sniffs out your personal office documents, photos, music, etc. first before the program demands that you pay $300 to receive the security key to decrypt your files and folders.

A few questions & answers:

Should I pay the ransom? No. Your issues will go from bad to worse. First, there is no guarantee that you will receive a key to decrypt your files. If a software attacker will resort to holding your data hostage, imagine what he can do with your banking or credit card information.

Isn’t it possible to otherwise recover my files? It’s highly unlikely. Cryptolocker can create irreversible data loss by infecting the PC and then encrypting your data. Encryption manipulates good data into secret code; without the security key, your files and folders are still present but cannot be opened, read, or otherwise used.

What should you do first? Be proactive. Back up your files and folders to Blu-Ray, DVD, or an external hard drive. Don’t wait until your device is infected to do so. Caution: If you back up to an external drive, do not leave it connected to the PC. Once you have backed up your files, disconnect the drive. Take advantage of the CATRS Technology Services–we can perform backups for you. Contact us at (850) 224-7713.

What software security modifications should I be sure to make on my PC? Make sure that your PC has antivirus and antimalware software installed and updated. Make sure that Windows is up-to-date with all current security updates and patches. Make sure that your firewall is turned on and operating correctly.

Why the rush? Couldn’t I just have my IT person remove the virus? Yes, it’s possible to remove the virus; however, a lot—if not all—of your files would have already been encrypted by the ransomware.

Will my antivirus detect the virus? This variant of the virus is relatively new. Security companies and antivirus manufacturers are working on solutions to detect the virus, but do not have one yet. Malwarebytes antispyware has had some success with at least removing it. Keep in mind, if your files and folders are encrypted there is no way to decrypt them.

I have a Mac; I’m in good shape, right? No. This has affected Mac users as well.

If my PC is infected, what steps can I take to prevent it from spreading? Turn off the PC immediately! The infection can be spread across networks to other connected PCs, servers, and devices. Therefore, unplug the network cable from the infected PC. If the PC is connected to the network wirelessly, disable the wireless network adapter.

What safe PC habits should I form to avoid infection? Do not open attachments from anyone you’re not expecting an attachment from. Do not click on hyperlinks from untrusted sources. This includes emails from financial institutions and shipping companies like UPS and FedEx. Do not allow USB flash drives to be inserted into your PC before first scanning them for the ransomware.

Are cloud backup services like Carbonite and Mozy sufficient for backups? No. If the PC has been infected, then these online services will still be backing up encrypted (unreadable) files and folders.

If the virus has been removed, should I feel confident adding new files and folders to my PC? This depends on your confidence in the person removing the virus. The only way of making 100% sure a computer is no longer infected is to have your technician perform a clean install of the operating system and supporting software. If you have uninfected backups, this is the preferable course.

Make no mistake–this variant causes severe data loss. If your files are encrypted, it is worse than actually deleting the files.

Paul Galloway
Manager of Association Technology

Technology: Security Tools for Everyday Use

It is understandable that one of the major issues agents have to worry about is how to protect one of their main business tools—their computer—from security threats. In addition, it follows that they also worry about what they can do when (and if) they ever find their security has been compromised. I am pleased to report that there are many solutions to this problem that meet my three favorite requirements for almost any acquisition: safe, reliable, and free!

I’ll briefly outline five such products that we currently recommend (in fact, we use them here on our TBR computers), including what they are, what they do, and why we use them. Each is free, has a small “footprint” and doesn’t slow down your computer.

First, let’s talk about Antivirus Products:

What it is: MICROSOFT SECURITY ESSENTIALS
What it does: Real-time protection that helps to guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
Why we use it: It has proven to be reliable at catching and resolving most issues. It doesn’t hurt that it has the Microsoft name and resources behind it, either.

What it is: AVG ANTIVIRUS FREE 2014
What it does: AVG stands for “Anti-Virus Guard,” and as the name suggests it does just that.  The product also includes anti-spyware, link scanner technology, and theft-prevention software.
Why we use it: Grisoft’s product quickly gained a reputation for security, ease of use, and reliability.

Now, let’s talk about Anti-Malware and Anti-Spyware Products:

What it is: MALWAREBYTES
What it does: Anti-malware application for removing malware and spyware.
Why we use it: Malwarebytes does a decent job of finding malware that some other products might miss, including rogue security software, adware, and spyware.

What it is: SPYBOT- SEARCH & DESTROY
What it does: Spybot – Search & Destroy is a spyware and adware removal program. It scans your computer’s hard disk and RAM for malicious software.
Why we use it: Spybot – Search & Destroy is a go-to for us in a pinch, as it is feature-rich with options like registry repair and browser hijacking repair. It also has the ability to detect some Trojans.

Last, let’s talk about a little PC cleanup:

What it is: CCLEANER
What it does: CCleaner does an awesome job of quickly cleaning off unwanted files from your computer that might be slowing it down, including temporary internet files, cookies, recycle bin, and any small files left behind once having been deleted. Ease-of-use is one of its greatest features.
Why we use it: Easy to use and pure performance in addition to the wide array of options makes CCleaner one of our favorites.

Of course there are lots of free products available and these are just a small sample of a few that we use here at TBR. You can find a list of other recommended products HERE and of course you can always call the CATRS Technology Desk at (850) 224-7713 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and we will be happy to assist you. Here’s to your security!

Will Shepherd
CATRS/TBR Technology Support Specialist

Professional Development Committee Update

The Tallahassee Board is constantly changing and improving for your benefit. If you have not been on the TBR campus in the last couple of months, you have missed a lot.  There are weekly opportunities for learning, experiencing, and growing. Make learning a priority…talk to some of your peers and ask them if they went to any of these events and you will be disappointed you didn’t attend. Pick one a month, or, at a minimum, one a quarter. If you don’t see anything you like, let TBR know. Remember, they are here for you! These are some of the things you have missed, and future offerings you won’t want to miss:

CATRS 2013 Technology Forum & District 8 Summit. This sold-out forum included a fun way to breeze through some of the technology affecting and helping REALTORS®. There was a discussion on everything from iPads to IMAPP, and even some discussion on the most useful apps. It was a blast and only cost $5! There was a packed house of over 100 REALTORS®.  Don’t miss out on next year’s event which is already in the planning stages.

REP: Introduction to iPad. A discussion on how to use and make the iPad work for your business—if you missed the May class, don’t wait to register for the November 13 class.  It’s free with REP pass or $25 for members.
     “Having just purchased an iPad mini I was anxious to attend the class. I was not disappointed!! The information presented was thorough and pertinent. As always the instructor was well-informed and open to questions. The TBR classes are invaluable to me and the efficient operation of my business.”  Kathy Eubanks Rivenbark, PrimeSouth Fezler, Russell and Ferrie

Lunch & Learn: REOs and Foreclosures. Our own REALTORS® that are experts in the REO/foreclosure field showed how to present your best offer and the differences between the Big Three – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD properties. This one was so popular, we have scheduled another class on August 29 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
     “I appreciated the open dialogue and structure of the lunch and learn. Each presenter did a nice job of presenting their materials and trying to associate with the other presenters. It’s always helpful to hear “real world” examples from both presenters and the audience.”  Your Fellow REALTOR®, Kevin Hattaway, Linda Dix Realty

Lunch & Learn: Hurricanes & Insurance. We had a great discussion on insurance and everyone learned a lot on how to assist clients to buy the property they want, without insurance getting in the way. Fantastic information about how to keep everyone informed on the many facets of insurance.
     “The most helpful thing to me was hearing how difficult it will continue to be to insure older homes. The need to bring them up to code on certain things and higher insurance costs. Clarifies that pre-listing four point inspections will be the way to go, and educating sellers and buyers on this, since I sell a lot of older homes.” Terry Kant, Kant Realty.

     “I’m so thankful for our TBR Affiliates hosting the recent Hurricanes and Insurance Lunch & Learn workshop. The host exceeded all expectations by serving us a southern style delicious lunch, plus, they offered unique wisdom and hands-on knowledge and even encouraged us to use these tools in our respective businesses. Personally, after attending the event, I suggested to a new home-buyer client: ‘You might want to consider ordering the classic home inspection and the four point home inspection at the same time.’ And, it saved them money. Because, later their insurance agency required the four point inspection. This one small suggestion resulted in a happy vendor and a happy client, too! Thank you, Lunch & Learn – TBR Affiliates!” Joan E. Smith, BuyerSide Realty.

     “Thank you for suggesting this luncheon. It was a great opportunity to hear Mary Katharine and Will speak about securing insurance in Florida during the hurricane season. Most of the situations and examples used during the discussion I had not previously heard of or encountered. I particularly enjoyed the outline of how to prevent buyers from losing out on their home purchase because of insurance inspections.” Rebecca M. Bollmann, Landmark Real Estate Company.

IMAGINE Tallahassee Visioning Forum. A group of REALTORS® met at the Tallahassee Board of Realtors® on June 20 for a two-hour visioning session of what they envision as greatness in Tallahassee in the future, and brainstormed ideas for how to achieve the ideas that the group agreed would make Tallahassee a more desirable place to visit and live.

Imagine Tallahassee is:

  • A grassroots citizens’ initiative
  • Financed with private funds
  • Supported by Leon County and the City of Tallahassee
  • Advisory to the Leon County Sales Tax Committee 

The Goal:  A long-term community vision and strategy for allocating up to 15% of future infrastructure sales tax revenues for economic development investment.

The Imagine Tallahassee Vision Plan will consist of three elements:

  • Existing Conditions Report Card
  • Vision Statement/Strategic Directions
  • Prioritized Economic Development Initiatives 

Once the branding process is complete, Imagine Tallahassee will provide the Sales Tax Committee, and ultimately the County and City Commissions, a compass for future economic development investment in our community.  Following the Imagine Tallahassee initiative, the Sales Tax Committee will determine its final recommendations relating to the allocation of funds toward economic development and infrastructure projects.”

You can view the recommendations from the TBR visioning forum exercise by logging in to the members-only portion of our website.

COMING UP IN JULY! Register right away for your favorites.

Lunch & Learn: Short Sales, Thursday, July 11, noon 1:30 p.m. Don’t be afraid of the BIG BAD short sale! Come have lunch and discuss how to approach short sales from both sides of the table with fellow REALTORS® Mike Carlos, Keller Williams Town and Country Realty, and Matt Hale, Capital City Real Estate Group, whose businesses thrive on dealing with short sales. Come with questions and stories! Enjoy lunch provided by Smith, Thompson, Shaw, Minacci & Colon, P.A.

REP: Contract I: Learn Our Sales Contract (6 hours CE), Thursday, July 18, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The class provides a clause-by-clause examination using “real life” situations and practical examples and focuses attention on the effective drafting of the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS® Contract for Sale and Purchase.

REP: Roadmap to a Successful Closing (4 hours CE), Friday, July 19, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. This course will help real estate professionals understand the importance of knowing who is responsible for the various parts of the closing, how to overcome the problems that may be encountered, and getting to the closing table and ensuring that the REALTOR®’s fees are received without obstacles or road blocks.

Danielle Galvin
1st Choice Real Estate Service

President’s Message, May 2013

TOMORROW
Howlin’ for Habitat. This is our second ever “Howlin’” karaoke party benefiting Habitat for Humanity—don’t miss it! It’s tomorrow, Thursday, May 9, 5 – 8 p.m. at Krewe de Gras. Have fun with your friends and “karaoke for a cause”—you’ll have plenty of chances to sing (and to avoid singing, if you’re shy…). 

THIS WEEKEND
Parade of Homes. The Tallahassee Builders Association’s annual Parade of Homes is coming this weekend and next, May 11 – 12 and 18 – 19. Jane Bixler Conn, chairman of our REALTOR®/Builder Committee, will announce the winners of the REALTORS® Choice awards at the Tallahassee Builders Association awards ceremony on May 15th. Winners will also be posted in eBoard Briefs the Friday after the ceremony, and again in that Sunday’s “Real Estate Corner” in the Tallahassee Democrat.

NEXT WEEK
NAR Midyear Meetings. I’m looking forward to NAR’s Midyear meetings in Washington, D.C. along with Jeff Doxsee, TBR President-Elect; Steven Louchheim, TBR Executive Director; and Paul Galloway, TBR Manager of Association Technology. We have a full schedule: updates on Federal priority issues, professional standards, and member policy. We’ll meet with Rep. Southerland and Senators Nelson and Rubio. Paul will meet with our membership software vendor, Rapattoni and attend CMLS training—a designation for MLS executives. Steven will attend an update from Supra, our lockbox and key provider. I’ll report the details in June’s President Message.

DON’T MISS
CATRS Technology Forum & District 8 Summit. We’re wrapping up this month at TBR with an amazing technology program on May 30—with panelists, tech roundtables, and technology vendors; plus prizes, lunch, a social, Florida REALTORS® candidates and leadership… It’s almost too much to mention! This event, organized by TBR’s own Paul Galloway, is a great resource for TBR members—and we’re welcoming Florida REALTORS® District 8 and the public to attend, as well. Even though this technology forum is three weeks away, very few seats remain…so register now; you won’t want to miss this.

RECAP
Great American REALTOR® Days.
April’s Great American REALTOR® Days at the Capitol was a rousing success with the Rally in Tally. Over 80 TBR members attended the rally, joining nearly 1,300 REALTORS® from across the state. Congratulations to Jack Davidson and Dorrece Lisenby, our iPad winners! And thanks to Kristina Petrandis, Governmental Affairs Chairman, and her committee for their hard work. When you see Tiffany Hamilton, YPN Chairman, and the members of the Capital Area Young Professionals Network, congratulate them on a job well done—they raised $1,200 for Habitat and RPAC with their GARD After Party, which was a huge success and a model of teamwork and creativity.

Frank A. McClean
2013 TBR President
Community Property Management, Inc.

District 8: Tech Forum & District 8 Summit

Coming May 30: CATRS Technology Forum and District 8 Summit. I sure hope you’ve already registered and have this event on your list of “gotta do’s,” because if you live in Florida REALTORS®’ District 8 (this includes Tallahassee), you have a great opportunity coming your way! But, signing up is the key—seats are selling fast; you can buy your tickets online or by calling the TBR office, (850) 224-7713. If you’re a District 8 REALTOR® but not a member of the Tallahassee Board of REALTORS®, call us directly to register at the member rate. Again, seating is limited—this event is also open to the public—so you will want to sign up right away.

The CATRS Technology Forum starts at 11:30 a.m. on May 30, with a boxed lunch followed by an afternoon of fun, cutting-edge technology information, and even opportunities to win some really cool tech prizes and the chance to meet your Florida REALTORS® leadership as well as those wishing to serve as future state association leaders. All in all, it is going to be a great day followed by a social at 5:30.

The future of our associations depends on its members. As a member of the local, state, and National Associations of REALTORS®, your interest and participation is invaluable. Leadership wants to know the membership, and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet and listen to our state leadership team. This is especially true if you are not currently attending the state association meetings or are not involved at the state level. The candidates for Florida REALTORS®’ 2014 leadership team will speak for five minutes each beginning at noon; they’re traveling a long way to see and meet you, so let’s show them a warm District 8 welcome!

The afternoon will be filled with many technology tips and tricks. Our own Paul Galloway, TBR’s Manager of Association Technology, will be heading up the afternoon tech forum with a team he has assembled to bring you all the latest and best technology information available. This will be a sellout. Paul and his team of “techies” have arranged a dynamite program, and you’re going to kick yourself if you miss it! NOT to mention the many opportunities you’ll have to win some great prizes (including a Windows 8 laptop).

While this isn’t designed to be a Q&A session, bring your questions (and even solutions)—if time permits, Paul and his team will help you out. Do take advantage of the opportunity to compare various products at the event’s Vendor Alley, and ask the representatives on hand your questions about their products or technology solutions.

Don’t ignore my advice that time is of the essence—sign up now! Help me make this one of the most successful District 8 meetings Tallahassee has hosted in a while!

Lucretia Thomas
District 8 Vice President
Thomas Acquisition & Property Specialists

Committee Report: Professional Development

Being a REALTOR® is very complicated…and ever-changing. Education and training is often put at the bottom of the To Do list, but with constant changes in our field, you might want to consider putting it back at the top. Take the time to learn and it will breathe new life into your role as a REALTOR® and could even make you more money.

Easy way to start? Get online and check out the classes TBR offers, go to the Tuesday Marketing meetings, attend a conference, buy a real estate book, or simply visit the NAR or Florida REALTORS® websites. If you spend 30 minutes on Facebook a day, commit to spending just 30 minutes a week on the newest ideas in real estate. Maybe you need some help with technology?  Call the TBR helpdesk at (850) 224-7713—it’s not just for MLS questions. Instead of a work lunch, take a TBR course together; you will have fun, learn, and get ideas that can make you money instead of costing you money. Take action to improve your value!  Wake up and commit to learning; you and your customers will be glad you did.

At a glance:

Danielle Galvin
1st Choice Real Estate Service
Member, Professional Development Committee

Your Website, Your Leads, Your Money

Most REALTORS® have a website of some description. The question to ask your web provider: “Is my site optimized for real estate, for generation of buyer and/or seller leads, and for mobile use?”

Too many REALTORS® have websites that are merely a page on the Internet with their picture, contact information, and a link to their broker’s site. While your broker may offer you a site like that for “free,” is this site bringing you business? That is the question.

Often I’m asked where to find the answers to these questions. I would offer you the following tips:

  1. Ask your broker, or your provider if you have a lead capture system in your website.
  2. If you have a free broker site, ask your broker where your leads go and how they track them, and to whom are they being distributed ?
  3. Ask your website provider if your site is optimized for results and to show you the analytics results to your site (that may make a few of them shudder!).

If your phone is not ringing, if you are not getting emails with leads coming straight from your website, chances are you do not have an effective website. Learning what is an effective website takes research, including interviews with competent website developers with a specialty in real estate websites. Often it takes visiting these providers at trade shows, hours of consultations, and checking their client references. Most website designers do not understand IDX feeds and why those are important to REALTORS®, much less how to optimize those for the results you need for your business. If you are going to do something right, educate yourself before you throw money and time into a product or service provider. Attend technology conferences and learn about effective websites and content.

If you are concerned about costs, it is important to consider the following:

  1. How much time do I have to devote to building content and managing my own website?
  2. How much would I be willing to pay to build a website that generates leads and is productive enough to support itself and help me build my business?
  3. How much am I willing to budget into my business to allow someone else to manage my website?
  4. What is included in building a website and what is critical for it to be productive?

Like everything else in any marketing business, a learning curve is to be expected. You will only be as successful and as knowledgeable as your efforts in educating yourself about technologies like websites and applications that can be used to your success.

One last tip: is your website optimized for mobile viewing? Test it here.

Debbie Kirkland
Armor Realty of Tallahassee

Alert: Are You Using Social Media, or Becoming a Dinosaur?

In 2013, I will face-down my social media hurdles and challenges! I don’t feel like I am afraid of social media. Here’s a list that just scratches the surface of what’s out there: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, Skype, Go-To-Meeting, YouTube, QR Code generators (such as http://www.qrstuff.com), and apps! I may need to find the time to learn more about social media, and change my thinking so I’m looking at it in the “right” way.

The real estate profession is evolving as an even more interactive social experience because of social media. We know that customers research and drive by our listings using their smartphones and tablets as navigation guides and QR Code readers. With cloud transactional tools, like Form Simplicity with e-signing capacity, coupled with the very good quality picture-taking capabilities of smartphones and tablets, REALTORS® can now operate 100% from the field deep into a transaction—from listing, to marketing, to forming a binding contract! We are brought back down to earth, though, getting the inspections done and closing at the title company or attorney’s office. Social media empowers a REALTOR® to be where you are and still connect, prospect, or market one-on-one with someone where they are, or to the world, just by accessing a “channel” or an app in cyberspace.

Let’s face the “fact” that the world is irretrievably transformed from the analog realm to the digital. Either we must hire social media talent or join in. A bit of both is most likely the best approach. This approach seems the soundest, because there is a different thinking process to social media. For example, recently I was looking for a meeting place that I did not know the address to and so I asked a young man if he knew where it was. He said, “No, but give me a second.” Then he typed the name of the place into his smartphone and told me the address and showed me a map of how best to get there from where we were. Here’s what I am saying about the social-media thinking process: I had a newer smartphone than he had, but it didn’t occur to me to solve my dilemma so efficiently! Come to think of it, it’s a wonder that I did not first try calling 4-1-1 for help.

Other than consulting their phones, my thought is that our more social media-savvy colleagues and neighbors might have sent out an SOS (oops, that’s an analog reference, I should say, a “shout-out”) on Foursquare or Facebook or Twitter or something else available. This is more precisely my 2013 challenge: How will I think and act more digitally going forward?

Should we ask the Professional Development Committee to work with Board staff to deliver more classes to help us with what seems to be a pervasive social media challenge? This is a timely alert. It is not overkill, in my view. I want to stay in business, and be competitive in the social media era. Don’t you?

Wanda Carter

Keller Williams Town & Country Realty