Acton Real Estate Blog ~ Re-Introducing the Flip Phone and the REALTOR®

By: Victor Normand
Published: September 2012

Is there any question that we are in a time of information overload? And are we about to enter a time of dysfunction because of too much information? Right now, 80% of all emails that come to our office are quarantined as junk, spam or otherwise unwanted. Now text messages are beginning to arrive unsolicited.

Here’s an example to prove the adage “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” Smart phones all have a built in Global Positioning System, or GPS which allows location related applications to work. A recent article in Time magazine talked about how bricks and mortar retailers will be taking advantage of this technology to send consumers offers to purchase items in real time by text messaging just as the consumer nears the location of the store.

This is called GPS marketing and like everything technologically new, will soon be in widespread use. Since Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, CVS and others have been gathering information about our buying and lifestyle habits for some time, the GPS marketers will have lots of information to use when they try to interest us as we pass from store to store. But what happens when we enter an urban commercial area or a three dimensional marketplace like a shopping mall where scores of retail establishments suddenly are upon us? The ensuing blizzard of texts will be overwhelming, confusing and mixed in with text messages we might actually want to receive.

So, will this innovation collapse under its own weight and give way to the re-introduction of the flip phone that only makes and receives calls and has as its only high tech feature, the speed dial? Probably not, but it does call into question how we all will cope with the products of technology. Until someone invents a logarithm to sort out wanted or needed information in real time, for real people, only the human mind will truly be able to cope with this dilemma.

As far as the real estate business goes, the buying and selling of property has always been a complicated proposition. Over time it has become increasingly more complicated, and over the past several years since the sub-prime debacle, exponentially even more difficult to fathom. While we have been coping with the regulatory effects of the housing crisis, in general, the flow of all information has increased in both quantity and velocity.

It’s a bit like entering the Burlington Mall and getting 185 text messages with information and offers that are, in one form or another, meaningful and varyingly relevant, but not organized or prioritized. Enter the REALTOR®, who is an experienced and engaged human being with a mind that still dwarfs the most powerful computers when it comes to sorting out information and relating that information to other human beings, located without the aid of the GPS.

Strike the right balance between becoming informed and then relying on a “Resident Expert.”