Censorship has been on my mind. Not the definitive, prescribed and documented “heavy hand of authority” variety, and not the “thou shalt not be mean to NAR” Memorandum of Paranoia allegedly being unveiled in November, but the worst and most pervasive kind.
What I find more concerning and most stifling is the triple-secret censorship. Unless you are a Broker Owner, with no one to answer to but your own inner voice of reason, you are being judged by what you write. Every word I click onto the page is subject to scrutiny, and I must choose each oh-so carefully while perched atop my podium of egg shells. Sometimes I fail and trash the whole dozen. Independent contractor? Not entirely independent, I’m afraid.
Many topics are safe. Statistics and trend analyses are the poster children of the benign blog entry. Pictures of pretty buildings, diatribes on transactional intricacies, and advice on “how to pick an agent” are all fair game. It’s black or it’s white, and no one can make a compelling argument to the contrary. Fielding questions on contracts leads us closer to the mine field, but if we preface each thought that hits the page with “I am not an attorney,” we mitigate the risk of having to rephrase our post for His Honor.
We can talk about technology. It either is or it isn’t, and my broker is probably not going to hunt me down like a dog for taking a bold stand challenging the site design of Terabitz, nor will he give much thought to my in-depth expose on the accuracy of the Zestimate. While I am cautiously treading water with my choice of topics, however, I am risking either offending the reader with the triviality of my content or boring him senseless.
This blog scares me, because I think it scares my broker. The tone is sometimes caustic, mostly serious, and always challenging of the status quo. I enjoy satire, and I like to laugh. Many things make me laugh, and so many of those are related to common, every day life, the life unrelated to the job. I weave those stories into my writing, too often I suppose, but you can only get away with so many “You won’t believe what my daughter stuffed up her nose today” stories on a business blog.
If one wishes to find humor in a business, there is none better than our business of real estate. Yet, I can’t tell the stories I want to tell. If I reveal the dumb agent tricks I am forced to witness daily, I offend. That’s not the image we want to portray. If I write about the hilarity that is the typical real estate office, I offend. I may tarnish a brand. Speaking negatively about a consumer experience is the ultimate offense. They may not want to work with me, not to mention that I may tarnish a brand.
I understand these triple-secret and unspoken rules, and I have had the pleasure of actually hearing them spoken. If I was in my broker’s britches (figuratively speaking), I would be telling the same secrets. But, this speaks to the conundrum that befalls the blogger over time. I would submit that anyone who has shown consistency and commitment to blogging, who has a measure of longevity communicating in this manner, has made a personal discovery along the way. They have discovered that they enjoy writing, maybe as much or more than they enjoy their real work. To be completely committed to one, however, you must show infidelity to the other. And, using the Ben Franklin approach, I have concluded that I still have bills to pay. Advantage broker.9 comments