A Sea of Information, A Thimbleful of Knowledge

Recently the CEO of Google said that more information is created every two days, than was created from the dawn of time through the year 2003. Some have disputed this. I also saw someone say that 90 percent of all the information that has ever – ever – been created, has been created in the last two years. And there is likely to be 10 times as much information available in the next seven years, than is available today.

Clearly we are awash in information to the point where psychologists often recommend tech and social media holidays to their patients to re-center them. We become obsessed with FOMO – the fear of missing out – so we are plugged in 24/7. Want to learn something? Just go to Google, and within a second you'll have access to more than any reference librarian had 10 years ago. Or if you want to get some information on real estate, you can go to Realtor.com or Zillow and learn a great deal about properties.

If you're a Realtor, you have access to even more specific information through your local, state and national organizations.

But here's the thing.

Information is plentiful. It is also, essentially, free. Knowledge, on the other hand, is not free. Knowledge has great value. It is knowledge that takes the information and is able to synthesize it into action, to put meaning around it. And the only way a person can develop knowledge, is by becoming a subject matter expert in the field in question.

There are 65,000 Realtors here in the three counties of South Florida. How many of them do you think have information for customers, and how many have knowledge? (And how many have neither?)

Over the next few years, pretty much everything about the real estate purchase and sale process that can be taken online, will go online. Much of it already has. Often customers will have seen homes on Zillow or Trulia before even contacting a Realtor. (Sometimes those homes are even available for purchase! (Realtor inside joke.))

The Internet is awash in information. What it cannot offer is knowledge, and custom strategies for acting on that knowledge. Having that knowledge, developing those strategies, and possessing the ability to communicate them with clients, represents the future of the real estate industry. The Realtors who can provide that, will succeed. Those who can't, won't.

James Oaksun, Broward's Real Estate Geek(SM), is a Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Preferred. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).


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