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In the last few years, a new breed of story has developed in journalism. I call it the “Ooooh, technology is changing everything!” story. In some cases, these stories are truly fascinating looks at how, unbeknownst to us, the internet is breaking down our usual human patterns. But, most examples of the “Ooooh, technology is changing everything!” story state the obvious, and for anyone familiar with “The Google,” they’re pretty dull.
The chief perpetrator of this crime is Jose Antonio Vargas, who has authored such pieces as:
- Not Everything Written About Obama on the Web is Nice!
- Politicians Use Social Networking Websites!
- Political Bloggers Exist Outside of the U.S.!
Yeah, news fah-lash: the internet’s important. Well, today, the New York Times does its very own version of the “Ooooh, technology is changing everything!” story, and it just reminded me how irritating I find these articles. Personally, I didn’t even consider this one to be all that terrible. The story is about how people finding vacation homes feel out of their league going into new areas. So—-gasp!—-they check blogs. Here’s the point:
That real-estate agents have an online presence is nothing new. (According to a 2007 study from the National Association of Realtors, 84 percent of home buyers use the Internet in their search.) What’s changing, however, is the growing importance that blogs play in the real-estate world in general, and in the vacation-home market in particular…for prospective buyers, a sophisticated blog—one with more than an agent’s plea, “check out my new listing” —can help potential buyers forge a connection to a faraway community, learn the landscape of an area and, ultimately, make informed purchasing decisions.
Okay, then technically this article applies to anyone who is moving somewhere new. People do that all the time—-and not just when they want to buy a vacation home.
It takes a while to get to anything that differentiates all real estate blogs from blogs in vacation communities:
The family, who plan to rent out their home when it’s not in use, knew they wanted a place with multiple master bedrooms —but, thanks to the Railey Realty blog, expanded their must-have list.
“The blog gave us insight into the rental market,” Kathy Murray said. “We knew what we liked; they had a different perspective.”
Ms. Murray said what they hadn’t considered were the little extras that help a property do well in the short-term rental market, such as a great view or interesting architecture. Looking at the blog, they realized that there were “a lot of factors to consider when buying a rental home,” she said. “You need to have a pool table, Ping-Pong, some sort of entertainment. I could care less if there was a pool table. But in the rental market that we’re going to go into, that appeals to people.”
Got it. File this one under “mediocre” in the “Ooooh, technology is changing everything!” folder.