Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Google Your Mom

I was visiting with my folks last weekend when I casually mentioned that I had recently Googled them on the internet. They had no idea what I was talking about. The more I tried to explain, the more glazed over their eyes became. They were born in the 1920's and although they do own a computer it's mostly used as a place to display PostIt notes for doctors appointments and grocery lists. The PostIt note--now thats an invention. I should also mention that they own a cell phone, too--the back of which has all their important numbers scotch taped to it. They may very well have never used it.

I bring this up because until a few years ago I wasn't too far ahead of them, technology-wise. I have a formal writing backgound of sorts, so word processing was my main reason for even owning a computer; that and sending and checking e-mails-- most of which were insignificant to my business. My wife bought me a laptop and made it wireless just so I could go into another room, I'm sure.

Today my business depends on technology. I visit the Grow-a-Brain website whenever I have a few free browsing minutes to spare. I posted three articles on Digg this week alone: You're So Dirty Mr Congressman, Buyers Market? Only If You're Actually Buying!, and just to be in the spirit of things, Top 10 Haunted Cribs In America. I just write the titles and a catchy intro for each--the actual articles are hyperlinked from another cache of sources I'm linked to (Bloglines) then posted on a site a couple zillion people a day look at if even for a fleeting moment. But Google likes this and as a result, makes me more important in some obscure technical category I couldn't begin to explain.

My Treo 700 PDA and I have a friendship akin to a pet owner and his master. (And sometimes yes, the tail does indeed wag the dog!) I often find myself struggling with my assumed Alpha role in this particular relationship. When the darn thing refuses to obey or becomes tempermental, I'm instantly rendered helpless or at the very least, needy. OMG.

I need to be in constant contact with my business and have 24 hour access to my e-mails and internet activity. I need to know immediately when I'm pinged. I have to be prepared to ping(Technorati) or respond to new Haloscan comments in quick fashion. I try to refrain myself from stalking the Statcounter numbers but the web moves at such a frantic pace that both information and consumer curiosity need to be handled at once lest they become stale and dissolve forever into invisible hyperspace particles or at the very least, something technologically equivalent to nothing.

Its ironic that something as seemingly cold and impersonal as raw imformational data entered on a search engine from a relocation buyer 2,000 miles away can lead to something as warm and satisfying as a committed agent/client relationship. But it does. My potential clients today know much more about me from the initial contact than anyone I ever cold called on the phone, farmed by direct mail or even met in person at an open house.

With a few simple keystrokes anyone can investigate my professional background and even see what I look like... Put quotation marks around my name and they can take an even closer look. I instruct strangers and open house visitors these days to Google me as I hand them my business card. The internet is always streaming and expanding so on some level--on many levels!-- I'm always open for business.

Oh, and by the way, Google had one mention of my parents. It was the amount of money they contributed to their parish in 2005. Good thing my wife nudged me under the table and changed the subject to the safest of all subjects--the weather. Now that put a sparkle in the old man's eyes.

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