Should Brokers Have Control Over Online Social Networking

This is a tough one

This is a tough one

An online social profile is a very, intimate piece of marketing, advertising, and communication.  It allows the person to express who they really are so that they can associate with other like-minded people.  The agent has the ability to control who sees what part of their profile, who they associate with, and the comments that are made back and forth with each person.  Since the supervising broker is responsible for the actions of their agents should brokers have control over the profiles of online social networks?

Here are my questions:

1.      Does a broker have the ability to control what happens on an agent’s profile?

2.      Can a broker be liable for the actions that take place on their agents’ profile?

3.      Does the broker reserve the right to terminate an agent solely based on their personal profile?

4.      Should brokers require their agents to join their network, be friends, or participate in the same group?

5.      Can a broker reprimand an agent who recommends another agent or broker (competitor) in the same market?

6.      Should agents keep their online social profiles separate from personal and business?

There are no rules that have been established yet in this game.  Brokers will need to re-examine their policies and procedures to ensure that their agents are abiding by Fair Housing, Code of Ethics and state license laws on a regular basis.

Where does it end?

It won’t.  Free applications, widgets, websites, blogs and profiles will continue to flood the internet making it virtually possible for brokers to keep track of every single agent and their actions on the web.  The best way I can think of is to create Google Alerts for every one of their agents.  There may be others so please make a comment based on what trends you may see.

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One Response to “Should Brokers Have Control Over Online Social Networking”

  1. Dr. Sally Witt Says:

    Doug,

    Excellent points. The Google Alert is such a powerful tool. Any agent has the potential to write something “stupid” or that could be construed as a Fair Housing violation in a casual chat online. People have to remember that nothing is really private. If you Digg a pornographic site, it will show up on google that you recommended that site. An off color joke on a group could show up on search as well. Broker’s need to be aware of potential problems and at the very least document that they spoke to the agent about their potential exposure.

    Always a pleasure to read your posts, Doug.

    Sally Witt
    RE Trainer, Coach
    best-realestate-coach.com

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