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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Staying in character...

We recently had a training session in our office where we were tested on our knowledge of the slang and Text Messaging terms/phrases of what could be called Generation Y – the current younger generation of potential home buyers. I did OK on the slang – I got 22 out of 25 correct. I wasn’t nearly as good on the Text Messaging stuff, since I don’t TXT. There were multiple points to the exercise, I’m sure; not the least of which was to at least try to understand what’s going on around us with the younger people that we see as clients.

I don’t see myself becoming an TXTer. I use email all the time and couldn’t get by without it. I remember the days when FAXing was the only way to quickly get stuff (contracts or other documents) to someone. Now it’s just as easy and more convenient to scan them in and email them. Perhaps if I were a younger parent I would learn to TXT, because that seems to be a good way to keep track (or at least try to) of children. The “WRU” message (where are you) is apparently a favorite in the TXT world. Of course kids are likely to respond “MYOB” – mind your on business – or “NOYB” – none of your business – ;although maybe not to mom or dad.

Our real estate business is struggling with what direction to go to keep up with the modern, mobile world. Our local multi-list service is experimenting with mobile access to the MLS from phones and devices like the Blackberry or Palm Treo. The theory is that an agent will be able to respond on the fly with information about a house by accessing the MLS data from his/her car on their phone/device. I’ve certainly made a number of sign calls while sitting in front of a house with customers and can see some value in being able to access information on the fly. I think I might feel better with a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection; but I can see where a handheld might be convenient, too, at leat for that.

I have several young clients right now; many looking to buy their first home. I suppose that they TXT with their friends and family, but none have asked me if I do and I haven’t received a single TXT message from them (yes my cell phone does support an TXT service). I’ve decided that the best route for me is to stay in character. I’m not some young, hip 20-something. I’m even on the before side of the Baby Boomer generation, so trying to be hip in a modern sense would likely look ridiculous. I could see myself doing email on a Blackberry, even though I don’t have one of those. At least I’d probably be reading and replying in whole words, not some abbreviation code. I’ll stick with what I have – several Web sites and my blog, my cell phone and email. That’s cool enough for me. Oops, I used an old fogey term there didn’t I? In the mean time, CU.

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