Is Google+ a License to Talk Out of Both Sides of Our Mouths?

By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®


I’m a big fan of selective transparency. The concept of showcasing what makes you great and sparing your followers the boring, the mediocre, and the downright ugly stuff is especially important when networking online. One of the biggest challenges real estate agents face while online is drawing the line between personal and professional: what to say, and where to say it.

Many use different networks for different reasons. LinkedIn for work, Twitter for play. Facebook has rolled out a suite of tools that help their members segregate communications. But the launch of Google+ is game-changing in that segregation of communications is backed into the “friend/follow” process. To connect with other Google+ users, you add them to various circles. This one-minute video explains it well:

After playing with Circles over the weekend, it’s apparent to me that Google Plus is not so much a social network as a network of smaller social networks. It’s suddenly very easy to not just share personal pictures with your family, but to also craft different messaging to different people. You could even design circles where you are “free to be yourself”. Places where you might even vent about work to your friends. But just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Have you ever helped a close friend or family member buy or sell a home? Have they ever referred business to you? Have you ever generated transactions from the relationships you built at your church or in your PTA? You are always a real estate agent. That means you need to be very thoughtful in how you talk to everyone. Don’t mistake these circles as a place where you can behave badly. You never know who could be your next client.

Todd Carpenter

Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR I'm a twenty year veteran of the real estate and mortgage industry, focusing on technology that fosters relationships between professionals and consumers. I am a subject matter expert in data analytics, online consumer trends, enterprise social media strategy, listing data, agent ratings, and public facing MLS portals.

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  1. What ever happened to just being honest? Do people, or REALTORS in particular really need to “craft an image” when dealing with friends, co-workers, clients, and potential clients; having a separate image for each “class” of friends? That’s just too much work for me.
    Honesty works across all groups. It’s really pretty comfortable when you get used to it.

    I’m inclined to take mild offense at the claim above that I am “always a real estate agent” because this is not true for me. I am, however, always an honest person who is trying to earn an honest living working in the profession of real estate.

  2. Steve, by “always a real estate agent” I mean that you are always in a position where you might be called upon for your expertise. It could be at a softball game, or at an open house, or at church. Just because you aren’t actively trying to sell someone a house, people are evaluating you as an agent in even the most casual of settings.

    I think you’re totally on track with your take on just being honest.

  3. Lets remember guys and gals, Realtors are held to a higher standard in the community. People expect you to act and communicate in a professional manor. If you believe and remind your self, in any situation either personal or private, I am a Realtor, that means something and I represent my community, broker and real estate firm, You will do fine in all social circles.

  4. It’s not about being honest or dishonest, we all have interests in life that others aren’t particularly interested in hearing about. I never discuss my personal life, religion or politics with clients.

    Google+ allows one to discuss topics with people who share the same interests. I have witnessed more than one REALTOR® in my office lose a client simply because the client discovered the agent had an interest that didn’t fit within their comfort level.

    I was recently at a dinner party where a few of the guys were talking about the UFC, one woman spoke up and stated she could never be friends or do business with someone who condoned the barbarity of the UFC. By coincidence she’s also looking to purchase a vacation home in my area, had I mentioned that I myself enjoy the UFC fights, I would have lost a client. Being a fan of the UFC (I have two fighters as clients), has nothing to do with my knowledge of and expertise in my local market. She never directly asked my opinion on the fights and I never volunteered that I was fan.

    Sometimes you just have to know when to shut-up!

  5. Hi Todd,
    I have been playing on Google + for a week or so. Hopefully, G+ will not get into the spam and games that Facebook is so famous for.
    I understand what you mean about Circles – some subjects that I might want to talk about would be interesting to folks in one of my circles, but would be of no interest at all to those in another circle.
    And no one outside of my family will want to hear what I say to my 3 daughters in my family circle. 🙂 But the rest of my family would get a kick out of it.