Sunday, February 28, 2010

First Blog

I'm brand new to the world of blogging, but an intermediate social media expert. 

I am a 42-year old real estate appraiser who signed my first appraisal when I was 16 under the tutledge of my father.  My father retired in 1999 and I have been running the business he founded in 1970 ever since. 

I first jumped onto the Internet in 1993 with a Prodigy account to connect with Jimmy Buffett fans (called Parrot Head Madness), then in 1994 picked up a Compuserve account because that was how businesses communicated.  By 1995, I was working on my first company web page and in 1996 I taught 350 real estate appraisers how to get on the internet and do everything from research to creating your own web page.  I was teaching them how to use AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, and my favorite at the time Yahoo.  Who can remember the days before Google?

I also had my first webpage in 1996 - it was something like www.internetserviceprovider.com/~alwagner.  Yes, I was teaching people what a tilde was (tilde is the ~ character) - it was easier to describe "that squiggly thing next to the 1-key.  The address was kind of a pain and ddn't fit on a business card.  By 1997, it was time to get my own domain name - http://www.alwagner.com/ and had friends helping me put it together.  My original web pages won a lot of awards because of the thorough content and it was somewhat revolutionary to the real estate appraisal profession.

I began publishing market reports in 1993 based on Local Real Estate Inventory Levels on selected communities throughout Chicagoland.  I did this to enhance the appraisal service I provided to my clients by being more analytical in the market I was appraising in.  A side-effect was an opportunity to market my business, and it has evolved through the years into a much bigger project.  It has gained attention in the press, with fellow real estate professionals, as well as some natoinal users.  I usually try to include an eNewsletter everytime I send out a new release.  Today, I have a distribution list of users that is over 1,500.

Fast forward a few years, and a few billion new users to the Internet.  It is now a way of life at almost every level.  I joined LinkedIn three or four years ago, but only started working on my image and the people I'm linked to in the past year or so.  I joined Facebook in Fall 2008 at the prodding of my brother, honestly just to see what some of my friends from high school looked like.  Now I'm a FB junkie, connected to old friends and new, keeping up to day with family and friends.

I have a small group of friends that are Social Media maestros, and they have encouraged me to leverage my professional knowledge, as well as my social and business networks into a Blog.  (Thanks John D' and Bob P.)  It only seems logical as I have made it this far, and very shortly I hope to have things in place as I learn more how to enhance my on-line persona, with my professoinal expertise as a "real estate analyst in property economics."  (translation: real estate appraiser).

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