I miss blogging.

Instagram: you gotta pay

While the terms of service changes (and reversals) over at Instagram didn’t bother me much (they probably should have bothered me more), the changes did inspire me to have a few conversations around where original content should live.

It seems the WordPress mobile posting and syndication tools have come a long way in the past few years I want to see what it would mean to have my blog be the primary source for my content.

With that in mind, over the next few weeks, my plan is to think “blog first” whenever I feel inspired to share a link or post a photo and see what that looks like when implemented…  For those of you who follow along, hope you enjoy the ride!

Can you safely jump off a moving freight train?

In college I had a friend who was very much into hopping freight trains. So much so that he wrote his thesis for his Cultural Anthropology major on the hobo lifestyle… (and if I remember it right, he was the editor of a popular ‘zine for hobos.)

I learned one really valuable lesson from this friend on my first “ride” down the California coast: He showed me how to get off a moving train. You have to wait until it slows down to about 20 mph or slower and then slowly navigate down one of the ladders on the side of a grainer (or any or freight car) until you can “run” along the ground flintstone-style. If you try to just jump off a moving freight train, bad things can happen! But if you first run along the train, then you can get some grip on the ground and run along the train until you can safely let go of the ladder.

I start my 2012 blogging off with this story because for much of 2011, I felt like I was on one hell of a fast moving freight train and there was no chance to safely jump off. Now that 2012 is here, I’m thinking it’s time to take a deep breath, climb down that ladder, get some grip on the ground and welcome in a new year.

With that said, some great things happened in 2011… I traveled more than any other time in my life, starting dating an amazing woman, moved into a new place only blocks from the beach in Santa Monica, started a full-time gig with the most interesting startup in Southern California, and created some crazy good memories with my kids.

Suffice to say 2011 will not be forgotten any time soon.

[Also, thanks to thecoug for the great creative commons photo. It brought back some great memories of catching the trains up to Davenport!]

Real Estate WordCamp is Coming to NARdiGras!

I’ve been working with the NAR team to put together a WordPress event at NARdiGras, and couldn’t be more excited that we’re ready to start announcing details!

In a nutshell, we’ve broken the half-day event into two tracks — one for beginners and one for more advanced WordPress users — and the folks we’ve agreed to present are some of the most knowledgeable WordPress people in real estate.  All the sessions will be be on the morning of Monday, November 8th.

Below is a summery of the schedule, although this page on the NARdiGras site will quickly become the definitive source of all session information soon!

Track 1: An Introduction to WordPress

Track 2: Maximizing WordPress

The idea is that if you’re relatively new to WordPress (and even if you don’t have a wordpress site yet!), you should be able to leave the first track with enough knowledge to feel comfortable setting up a site and have an idea for what a successful website marketing strategy would look like.

For those who are comfortable blogging, Todd Carpenter is going to be hosting the Maximizing WordPress track. With Kelley, Steve and Gahlord as presenters, you’re sure to get tons of tools and strategies to take your online marketing to the next level.

I couldn’t be more excited to be heading to New Orleans again and look forward to seeing you there!

WordPress at Real Estate Connect SF?

Are you breaking the rules with WordPress in real estate? I wanna know!

wordpress sticker on laptopThe good folks at Inman News have asked me to moderate the WordPress Summit at Real Estate Connect this summer and I couldn’t be more excited!

While we haven’t tried to confirm any speakers yet (that’s where I want your help), I’m positive the lineup is going to be awesome. We’re going to be covering themes, plugins, strategy, advanced installs, listings, and the future of WordPress!

The idea of a half-day at Real Estate Connect dedicated to WordPress is simply awesome.   I love WordPress and have been using it since the very birth of Rain City Guide (over 5 years ago!).  Over the years I’ve been a part of too many WordPress blogs than I could count… And unlike a lot of software I was using in 2005, WordPress has continued to improve with each iteration!    Especially now that website vendors are building in advanced IDX and CRM tools into the platform, it’s become a no-brainer option for real estate professionals!

By the way, did you know the new conference website for Real Estate Connect was built on WordPress?

I think it’s a pretty slick design and implementation, although I’m probably a bit biased since we designed and built the site!  🙂

Coming full circle… If you know someone in the real estate space doing interesting things with WordPress, send ’em my way!   I want to make this the best half-day on WordPress educational event around!

And finally, a huge hat-tip to Dan Woolley for the idea behind this post when he wrote about his ConnectTech Workshop!

Two of the slickest aspects of using the…

Two of the slickest aspects of using the P2 theme are 1) it gives me the option to write simple posts directly from the homepage (twitter-style) and 2) it updates comments and posts without any need to “reload” the page. To give you an idea of how cool this is, while I was writing my last post, two new comments were being left on the previous post and I got to see the comments in real time as they were being made… It’s pretty slick technology for a wordpress blog… and I’m totally lov’n it!

Lov’n Real Estate Speaking Opportunities

If you’ve ever been to one of my presentations, you probably know that one of my passions is educating audiences. I simply love everything about a presentation…  and the bigger the audience, the more fun I have!   I’ve been pretty fortunate to land some amazing opportunities including speaking at all recent Annual NAR events, all recent Real Estate Connect events and more than a few regional and brokerage events.

speakers-pageProbably the only thing I haven’t done well with my speaking is spend time reaching out to regional and state REALTOR organizations to let them know about my experience speaking about social media and blogging activities that generates business. That’s where you come help!

If you know someone looking for an experienced speaker to engage an audience around social media and/or blogging topics, please don’t hesitate to send them my way.   If they want more information, you can send them directly to my speaker’s page or my speaker’s bio that summarizes my experience in a more print-friendly form.

No surprise that my presentations have evolved over the years (anyone else remember the bloginars I used to give with Russ Cofano in the summer of ’06???).   My current favorite to give is a three-part presentation that discusses how agents can  (part 1) engage on social networks, (part 2) create a local website or “hub”, and (part 3) use their social networking activity to drive traffic to conversion points within their hub…

By the way, just a few of the speaking gigs lined up in my near future include:

If you’re going to be at any of these, I’d love to connect!

Now Open! The 4realz Bookstore

Early today I was having a conversation with Eric Bryn on twitter when he said:

have you read Guy Kawasaki’s book Art of the Start’?

which was all the impetuous I needed to finally get around to publishing my very own online marketing bookstore here on 4realz. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing ever since I built a similar (Amazon-powered) bookstore for a client, but just never took the time to do for myself.

4realz-bookstore-screenshot

So far, I have three categories of books:

  • Online Marketing
  • Starting Your Business
  • Blogging

and only two books in each category.   My idea is to limit the books under each category so as to make it a “best” of breed books…

Nonetheless, I like the idea of adding a few more books to each of the categories and potentially even another category of two, so if you have a book that should be included because it’s been particularly inspiring to you, definitely let me know!

Another Rock’n Inman Conference

As always, the Real Estate Connect Event put on by Inman this year rocked!  The information, the people, the food, the fun…  it’s just way too much fun (honestly too much!).  And I know I’m a bit biased, but I hang with a really great group of people, even if you’all do stay out a bit too late.

125x125_nyc_09Combine a great New York City trip with being able to team up with Jay Thompson for a session on blogging and you know I’m going to have fun.

Follow that up with a great opportunity to moderate a discussion on the future of mobile technology in real estate with Brad Blumbert of SmarterAgent, Mark Ford of Qwasi, Dawn Doherty of StreetEasy and Jamie Glenn of Trulia and I was feeling pretty darn good!   But then give me the opportunity to moderate another panel on web analytics with Gahlord Dewald of Union Street Media, Marty Frame of CyberHomes, Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria and Anita Gandi of Hitwise and I was in online real estate geek heaven!

I learned a ton from so many folks at Inman this year, so thanks again to everyone who connected up over the past few days!

Sadly, I’m going to be missing out on the last day of the event (thanks to the fact that I doubled up my NYC time with a client meeting on Friday), but I did that very reluctantly as I cherish every minute I get to soak up from the great folks in online real estate!

Can’t wait to see you’all in San Francisco!

NAR is upon us once again!

As I write this on a Wednesday night, I can’t help think what a long week it’s been!   And yet, the week (and the fun) is just beginning.

Tomorrow morning I leave for NAR…. and it’s not until I hit Orlando that things really heat up.

First major stop:

Friday @ 12:30 I’m moderating a panel featuring  Teresa Boardman, Jim Duncan, Ines Hegedus-Garcia, Ginger Wilcox titled Driving REAL business with blogs.

I’m really excited about this panel! There’s a great group of people assembled with very different styles of blogging and I’m really looking forward to peppering them with questions.  The one warning I’ve given to the panelists is that I expect this to be an extremely fast moving panel and I’ve prepared a ton of questions that will let us get through a ton of information out of this crew!   I’ve prepared the panelists that we’re going to move fast and I expect to get through a lot   If you’re going to NAR, this is one of two can’t miss events!  😉

By the way, you might remember way, way back in the beginning of February when I first reached out via twitter to start assembling the panel.   It may be almost a year later, but that only makes it all the better to watch this panel come so close to fruition!

2nd Major Stop:

Sunday @ 11am, I’ve teamed up with Jeff Turner and Rudy Bachraty, to put together an “event” on Using Social Media to Engage Clients.

I don’t want to set expectation too high, but this is not going to be just another presentation…   This is going to be an event. We’re going to have a lot of fun and have plans to involve people from all over the country!

By the way, this presentation started with a simple blog post from CRT that I picked up and was so lucky to have Jeff and Rudy join me in taking on this adventure.  This presentation is going to be fun!

There’s more!

Jeff has tons of details on connecting with others within the social media space @ NAR.  Here’s some highlights:

Some great posts about NAR events:

And on the off chance you want to meet up with me in orlando, the best way to reach out is to connect with me on twitter!   Can’t wait for the fun to begin!