I recently read two very good posts "Is Your Integrity Worth 25 Points?" - Blog Tips for Rain Drips and another by Bob Cumiskey where he describes bad blogging behavior and states "There are a few "so called bloggers" on the ladder who obviously blog just for the points." Both made me realize that I have also witnessed a number of other blatant attempts to "Game the System" here at Active Rain.
A short time after I joined several of us at my office received an email asking us to join ActiveRain and it turned out that the individual sent a mass email to numerous agents. Evidently, the person was hoping to rack up points by signing up new folks. I learned that the person was later contacted by Active Rain and stopped. I noticed later that this same person began to post the maximum allowable posts each week. I am not an editor or critic but none of the posts were compelling and most were cut and pasted with a few remarks and no outside comments, Curious I began to see similar actions in different parts of the country by people who were obviously, as Bob Cumiskey wrote, just Blogging for the points ~ the lazy blogger. I began to see others who would just post listings. One person in particular was part of a real estate team and would post individual units and homes (by copying and pasting the listings) in projects and by different builders who were represented by the whole group to rack up points! I don't really get that because I am unaware of the general public looking at listings on Active Rain since there are so many other sites where buyers can already view listings and home data.
Recently I noticed a new person rocketing up the ladder in my area and when I looked at this person's profile and blog was amazed to see that they had created hundreds of posts and sent them to 30 and 40 groups at a time. I later saw that many of the posts had the X beside them but, undaunted, the individual continues to post 10 at a time in as many as 50 groups and continues to amass points. I assume the AR guardians will do something soon but that is as sad as it is irritating. They should not have to police this great site from those too ignorant, irresponsible or self serving to care what is correct protocol or even what constitutes decent manners. Every time I see someone abusing the system I am reminded that these are the same people who act inappropriately in the real world and whose corner cutting, ignoring of rules and unprofessional behavior give our profession a bad name. They are the ones who want to do as little as possible and get something for nothing!
Because of these examples, I decided early on to try and put out something of good quality. I began to read posts by others and I learned that we must Blog Often but it begins to look like the Laffer Curve as applied to points. Blogging goes up. Points go up but quality can go down and the end result is Less than Zero. I also try to heed the advice that we must Blog with Purpose, I think Adam Waldman wrote that. I try to follow the lead by Rich, Majority Original Content" or "What's the Point of Points?" and especially the idea to adhere to "Free Speech has a Cost" - The ActiveRain Community Guidelines Re-Visited.
Rich Jacobson defined the goal of blogging and commenting perfectly "One of the most basic and foundational tenets of conversational blogging is to engage one another other in meaningful discussion and dialog. In order for this dialog to successfully occur, the blog author's content needs to be mentally digested, and the reader must respond with comments that are relevant to the topic, adding value to the conversation"
That's exactly what we should try and achieve and I really appreciate Active Rain and the new Localism as a platform to grow our business and to top it all off, it's FREE (or at least very reasonably priced when it comes to neighborhoods)! I do not pretend to be a writer and I do realize that I will never be at the top of the ladder locally but I will be happy to be in the top 5 or 10 and plan to make it there by trying to contribute compelling posts of substance, meaning and value to the realtors, lenders and my fellow members of Active Rain. Eventually, as Localism grows I want the general public to see something of value and not just masses of meaningless posts that do nothing to increase the level of discourse within our community.
One last thing, I do comment on posts and many times I see even more great comments and suggestions that add to the value of the original post. I think most people who take the time to write a legitimate blog want to hear a comment when they post so leave a one... whether it's for the points or to add to the discussion!