I like Mike Ferry right now.
Yes, I’m aware that some are bashing Mike Ferry for his comments during the smackdown debate between Ferry and Matthew Ferrara at the Coldwell Banker Generation Blue Conference. You can watch the video here, if you haven’t seen it already. I understand that it has created a bit of a stir. What I don’t understand, however, is what all the fuss is about.
I’ll will say this, however, it’s a poorly framed debate. A similar, less theatrical “debate” took place at CRS Sell-A-Bration. As I watched that one, I sent out this tweet, “The “traditional vs technology” debate should die. It’s about the conversation, not technology. #sab11″. The question isn’t whether technology or social media is better than “traditional” methods of creating the opportunity for conversation, the question is whether the right, smarter, better conversations are being created either way.
I’ve watched this “controversial” smackdown twice now, just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. I don’t think I am. Yes, Ferry made some sweeping generalities about social media, as did Ferrara in the opposite direction, but they appeared to be for effect, designed to drive home his point. And his point seemed pretty clear and pretty simple to me, “talk to people.” His arguments against social media were not directed at behaviors that would fall into his or my definition of talking to people, they were directed at behaviors that he felt were a waste of time. And I’m not convinced that anything he had to say was all that far from the truth.
There’s an elephant in the room.
What I am convinced of, however, is that there’s an elephant in the room of social media marketing for REALTORS®. And it appears that some people are willing to treat it as a welcome guest, continuing to feed it and keep it healthy. The elephant is that social media, as a main way of gaining business, is not working effectively for as many people as it should. The way to fix what is broken is not to ignore the messengers who point it out.
“When you avoid talking about what isn’t working, you’re also avoiding what will fix it.” Those of us who see value in this space need to embrace the differences highlighted in this smackdown and work in the trench with those who hold counter perspectives and strive hard to come out of the trench better for the time spent. Those who shun everything old in favor of everything new are as off-base as those who shun everything new in favor of everything old.
I’ve never met Mike Ferry, not even in passing. I’ve never read a single word he’s written or heard him speak until this video. We’re not even Facebook friends. So, I have no idea whether we share similar values. But, I’m willing to bet that if Mike Ferry and I spent a day together, in full, open and respectful dialogue, we’d both come out of the day smarter for the time. And new, improved ways of using social media would emerge from that conversation.
Because it will always be about the conversation, not the medium.
[photo credit: David Blackwell via Flickr]