I was thinking today about the Active Rain community, and about how much it has become a part of my life. I have made some solid friends already, as well as receiving a few referrals and one sale, all in under three months in the "Rain". So, what else is there to say?
I wish I had started posting and commenting sooner. This is my only regret, if you want to call it that.
I was invited here by a friend of mine back in December, and I immediately set up my profile. I had done some personal blogging before, but never anything very public. By the way, please see my post "Members Only" to read my take on which posts should be public (most of them, in my opinion).
After setting up my profile, I racked up an impressive 1205 points, which (believe it or not) was good enough to put me into the top 25 for Austin back then. Once the profile was in place, what did I do next? Did I write an earth-shattering post that brought lots of witty repartee? Did I write anything? No on both counts. I basically stared at the Blog Post entry screen and I couldn't think of anything worthwhile to say. Yes, I realize it may be hard to believe now if you follow my blog with any regularity.
I didn't even return until March, when I posted a rather lame blog linking to a local news story with some brief comments.
Fast forward to early August. I was spending quite a bit of time at the Real Estate Webmasters website, and I heard some talk about Active Rain there. Actually, I heard talk about "AR", and I had to ask someone what that was. I came to look again, and for whatever reason it excited me this time around. I put out a few short posts, then I started to talk about stuff that interested me – the Dallas Cowboys, integrity, old real estate war stories, etc.
In mid-August, I received my first phone call from an AR friend, too – Adam Waldman. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him. Since then, we have spoken many times and I feel like he is my long lost brother from the north. I also feel a strong camaraderie with Brian Block and Paul Slaybaugh (Paul and I have joked several times that we share a brain). I have had the pleasure of speaking with about 15 or so other Active Rain members since mid-August. I highly encourage you to do this, as three of my friends have already sent me referrals.
Over the past three months (slightly less), I have written 140 posts. Clearly, I am pretty "active" on Active Rain.
A quick look at the "Members" tally in the top right of the screen shows 55,080 members currently. I often wonder how many of these members are active, and how many are enjoying Passive Rain, which means doing what I did for almost eight months (i.e. nothing). I wonder if it is similar to the 80/20 rule, or perhaps 90/10. My guess is that it is closer to the latter, but I may be wrong.
As with many tasks worth doing, most will not step up to the plate here, much less knock one out of the park. Sorry for the baseball analogy – I have Sportscenter on the TV right now, and they are showing highlights from the Boston Red Sox World Series victory tonight. Sorry to digress for a moment, but that last sentence is so topical that it will later date this post dramatically. It reminds me of a funny Saturday Night Live monologue that I saw years ago with Rob Lowe, when he was reading from his diary. He wrote about a party he attended in the early 80's, when "the Thompson Twins spilled a Kamikaze on my parachute pants."
In some ways, I wish a larger percentage of the 55,000 members would start to share and write, and maybe they will. My guess is that most of them will remain passive observers, or even passive non-observers, as I used to be. As I asked someone not too long ago, what is AR?
Well, AR is:
- a great community where lots of my new friends like to hang out
- a friendly, optimistic place
- a great networking site
- an excellent place to learn about the real estate and lending industries
How did I go so long without this community? It's fun to learn, share and befriend people who share the same types of triumphs and struggles that I have here in Austin, Texas. I was imagining what other industries could pull this off. It's hard to perceive of a huge community of doctors or lawyers regaling each other with tales from the field (maybe these exist – what do I know?). Sales simply lends itself to this – we are performers by our nature, and this forum gives instant feedback and virtual applause when the content is good.
Passive Rain is not for me anymore.