Well, I stumbled across what looks to be a neat media blog at PBS called MediaShift written by Mark Glaser.

Its got a pretty good overview of the whole real estate obsession: bubble, bust, boom, expansion, crash with a heavy dose of vitreol, vengeance, blamethemedia and spin phenomenon and links to the leading blog resources. (ok, ok, Matrix is one of them…I was going to get to that).

I found his slant interesting (hey, its PBS), and perhaps ironic, that the leading bubble bloggers are supposedly making a lot of money (or so they say, yet haven’t quit their day jobs (I thought Ben Jones did?)).

However, I got the impression after reading this PBS piece, that these bubble bloggers were therefore incentivized to fuel the flames to get more readers, namely renters and burned investors (aka more advertising) but still venting their pure emotional frustration with the situation. Try to find one positive aspect of the current real estate market on any bubble blogs. It doesn’t exist because its contrary to the purpose of those blogs to begin with. I guess their counter point would be that there are no positive elements in the current market.

I suppose its a little of both. Bubble blogging was born out of a serious concern over the housing market and the spin from the real estate industry and now it seems to have matured and evolved into a mainstream phenonemon, which seems contrary to why it evolved to begin with. I guess cycles apply to everything. There is some great stuff out there written by people who care about the topic at a pretty deep level, but it doesn’t always mean its accurate or doesn’t have an agenda or spin behind it. They also seem to be free from lawsuits unlike Big Media (since they don’t have deep pockets).

Its a continuing battle to remain pure.

But I guess thats the same with all topics. Think about conversations around the dinner table at Thanksgiving. I am sure the topics for many included politics, religion and of course, real estate.

Mainstream media has tried to figure out blogging with some failures, but increasingly, more success. Included in my list of favorite real estate blogs (and columns) are many from “big media”, several were referenced in his column.

Real estate blogging is going to evolve and change. Technology and consumer acceptance all play a role. I can’t even imagine what the genre is going to look like when the real estate market has another up cycle.

Lord help us.


Tags:


11 Responses to “Real Estate Blogs, A Spiraling Public Discourse On An Obsession”

  1. skep-tic says:

    the best bubble blogs function as a counterweight to the MSM, which tends to publish articles dominated by spin from RE professionals.

    now that the MSM has started to question the strength of RE, it does imply that bubble blogs may not be as crucial as they once were.

    still, they might be viewed as sort of trade publications, since they focus on this single issue more deeply than any major media outlet is likely to. In this sense, they still function as a counterweight to RE industry publications and press releases, and provide value to the community as a result.

  2. Jonathan J. Miller says:

    Exactly! They will serve to offset the spin (as blogs will serve to do in all industries) and they have become another category of the industry trades.

  3. Rajish says:

    The trend is for the information to be transparent like freakonomics talks about. And the internet is helping sites like trulia, zillow and kexter are paving the way for a much more stable Re economy.

  4. Evan Gould says:

    Gosh. I think that blogs are the new trade journals. Have you looked at Realtor magazine recently? Have you ever read a publication from Hanley/Wood? Blogs are written by and commented on by the people “in the trenches” of the trade. They aren’t PR pieces made up by PR departments in trade group offfices in Washington DC. Instead they are current, personal, and a whole lot of fun. I’m hooked.

  5. blogs at their best are a wonderful thing, they’re written by individuals, and represent that persons opinion- like it or not – with no editor, publisher, review committee or advertiser to second guess. And freely distrubuted far and wide.

  6. James Bednar says:

    Blogs have one thing that no other publication can ever have. It’s this, right here.

    Community.

    jb

  7. Jonathan J. Miller says:

    I agree James – community is the difference and that is pretty cool. I think however, the flow of information is one way for most bubble blogs. Its a sense of community, as long as the same general view is held. So you have to extract nuggets when you see them. Opposing view points get squashed and eventually, its learned that they are not welcome and that type of contribution evaporates. So in one sense, while bubble blogs are a great resource, but in the other sense, its a lost opportunity for public discourse. The irony here is that its the antithesis of NAR speak so there is no middle ground.

  8. RE blogging took off around the time that blogging in general took off (maybe with a delay, since so many of us in the ERIC are so darn old).

    This take-off coincided with the change in market direction after the “froth” in so many local markets, so it is natural that many bloggers have been energized to address “froth / post froth” issues, as well as “why froth” issues. The best bloggers have lots of strong opinions, so it is a very good fit.

    Just as I used to love to read William Safire in the NY Times because he said so many things so very well that I largely disagreed with, I will pay more attention to the bubble-bloggers. Or at least the ones that (1) use some data and (2) provide some insight. The all-the-data-is-bogus and the market-is-rigged-against-consumers stuff doe not interest me very much. (Neither does the cheerleading from NAR and REBNY, btw.)

  9. oops … “ERIC” should be REIC, as in Real Estate Industrial Complex

  10. skep-tic says:

    FWIW, the NJ RE Report blog is much more tolerant of non-bubbleheads than most. It is also much more info based than opinion

  11. Jonathan J. Miller says:

    skep-tic I agree wholeheartedly. Jim’s blog (renamed) is not really a bubble blog anymore. Its definitely open to other ideas. However, I think Jim is the more the exception than the rule.