What makes a blogger “influential”?

Inman News published a list of what they consider to be the 25 most influential real estate bloggers for 2007. I can’t really argue with the list. I’m on it, so it must be on track. :p

The word “influential” inspired me to look back at the early days of RE Blogging. While focused on 2007, Inman’s list features many of the early players as well. But some of the most influential bloggers of all time are not on that list, and since I’ve been around since the early days, I thought I would share them with you.

Hanan Levin is the single most influential RE blogger. Hanan argues that he is the FIRST RE blogger. I don’t know anyone who has been doing it any longer. What makes him the most influential was his idea to go out onto the Internet, find other RE bloggers, then feature those blogs on his site. This wasn’t a linking scheme, he just did it to promote RE blogging.

Every other attempt to measure RE.net comes from Hanan’s idea. Every attempt also likely involved indexing his list. All of the early bloggers looked at being added to this list as the RE blogging equivalent of seeing their name in lights. I created my own separate page for a similar exercise, that page evolved into the REMBEX search engine, and this blog you see today. Any blogger with a blogroll of other RE blogs can thank Hanan for creating the first bit of connectivity between RE bloggers. When you think about it, every RE blogger competes in one way, or another with other RE Bloggers. It sometimes surprises me that there’s any sense of community at all. Thank Hanan for paying it forward before most of us even knew what a blog was.

Fran and Rowena have been blogging about real estate since 2003, and still going strong. In the early days of blogging, there weren’t very many places to go for inspiration. I know for a fact that many of the bloggers featured on Inman’s top 25 were influenced by what Fran and Rowena were already doing. They are the influencers of the influencers

Frances Flynn Thorsen may be best known by newbies as the Editor of RealTown, but her most influential contribution to RE blogging was to create the first social network of RE bloggers. The Blog Squad was a coalition of about 40 bloggers that worked together to cover the 2005 NAR convention. While the coverage itself has lost relevance over the passage of time, the idea of social networking through RE.net evolves from Frances’ original idea.

Paul Chaney and Richard Nacht wrote the book on realty blogging. Literally. Realty Blogging, a how-to manual on creating a real estate blog took RE.net to the dead tree media. The realtyblogging blog, an extension of the book, has been helping new RE bloggers for years. It’s hard to be any more influential than to go out and tell people how to do it themselves.

I was the first guy to cover the mortgage industry with other professionals as my targeted readers, but Alex Stenback is the Original Mortgage Blogger. A mortgage originator in the Twin Cites, Alex covers real estate more than mortgages, a model that has (and should) be cloned by other mortgage professionals across the country.

Jim Duncan is the first hyper-local RE blogger. OK, I don’t know this for sure, but when he launched realcrozetva, I’d never seen another RE agent focus a blog on such a small market. Jim also writes a great blog covering Central Virginia, but this blog was focused on an area populated by only a few thousand people. Small market, big idea, and a winning formula that many who followed him have emulated.

Finally, Brad Inman has done more to bring blogging into the mainstream than any other. While the Inman Blog is a great real estate blog, it’s the Inman News side of the equation where Brad made his biggest contribution. All the way back in May of 2004, Inman News wrote it’s first series about RE blogs. Several articles over the years have further publicized blogging as a legitimate medium. This year, Inman hosted Bloggers Connect, a conference on blogging that surely represents the largest gathering of RE bloggers to date. He gave us all a measure of legitimacy that simply couldn’t be granted from other bloggers.
In order for all of the bloggers on Inman’s list to acquire such influence, they all had to build their digital soapbox on the foundations these other bloggers have provided. I’m one of those bloggers, and to the above list, thank you.

0 thoughts on “What makes a blogger “influential”?

  1. rudy

    hi todd!

    now this is a great post……

    having hung out with hanan a few times, i can truly say that he is even cooler in person – imagine that. i encouraged him to attend inman sf but he was just too darn busy selling real estate. i hope he can make it out to nyc this january. he should be on that darn list no question!!! hanan is tops in my book.

    the same goes for frances, i met her a few times and she just a fantastic lady. witty as all hell too. she should have been included.

    richard and paul did write the book. nuff said.

    jd is a low key dude, but sharp as a razor. hung out with hime a couple of times and he’s just too cool for an award 🙂

    fran and rowena – never met them, but i acknowledge that they have been around a darn long time.

    met alex in st. paul – serious mortgage dude. sure knows his stuff though.

    and last but not least mr. inman – it was at his 2006 nyc connect that joe and i got inspired to start blogging. it’s all your fault brad 🙂

    blog on!

    – rudy

  2. Greg Swann

    Not to be too contrarian, but this is all Old Testament. None of these people meant anything to me when I was building BloodhoundBlog. If influence means creating the RE.net as we know it, Dustin Luther is the New Testament. He’s not a category killer, but the phenomenon Inman is trying to surf has Dustin as its without-whom-not. I may post on this, because it’s a point we ought not lose in the hoopla. I know Dustin would credit Levin and others, but the fact is that Dustin more than anyone else invented this thing we do.

  3. Todd Carpenter

    Greg, I agree, but Dustin was already on the Inman list. As was Glenn Kelman, the greatest blogger of all! 🙂

    Seriously, Dustin, Pat Kitano, Jonathan Miller, and yourself deserve every bit the credit of those in my list. I just thought it would be redundant.

  4. Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

    With your leave Todd, I add a couple of bloggers that influenced us—the Property Grunt, an agent still ranting truth anonymously in the New York blog trenches. And our other NYC blog bud, Lockhart Steele, whose Curbed is the model for that rare influential blogger — the one that plays to the consumer.


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