By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
David Carr, media and culture columnist at The New York Times, said Thursday morning in a presentation at Inman’s Real Estate Connect conference that the line between consumers and producers of content is blurring, and for the twenty-something “digital natives” of today and subsequent generations, that line doesn’t even exist.
“Consuming and producing media are no longer discrete activities,” he explained.
That’s just one of the developments that’s triggering a revolution in media, he said. Another is the instant access to information available through a number of platforms. Carr pointed out that he totes more informational power around in his backpack than existed in the first newsroom he worked in. Moreover, the silos between those various platforms are breaking down as content can be delivered in so many different ways.
All of this points to a kind of convergence, in which there are few if any distinctions between categories of people, devices, and delivery methods in the media space.
“We’re all going to end up in the same business very quickly,” he said. “The traditional verticals of TV, Web, and so forth are not going to be sustained.”
The implication of this is that if you’re in the business of brokering the relationship between the consumer and information, the long-term outlook is precarious, Carr added.
So, does the proliferation of data and ways to access it — often in just a click or two — present a threat to real estate pros? After all, if consumers will be able get all the information they need about a property or market on their own, will they really need to hire a practitioner?
Carr thinks they will. That’s because real estate professionals provide services that go beyond information. They do everything from guiding buyers and sellers through the transaction process to offering emotional support through difficult decisions. In his talk, Carr fondly recalled the REALTOR® who helped reign in his anxieties and unrealistic expectations during his first home purchase. It’s that kind of assistance that will keep practitioners relevant for the foreseeable future.
“What do I need (a practitioner) for? Why can’t we live in an FSBO world? It’s because there’s value added beyond the data,” Carr said.