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Dicey Business

Friday, March 16, 2012  
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Risk Resource
From the January/February issue

Social media without boundaries
is a gamble with your career

By Jeanie Wilson

In today’s business world we are instantly connected to others. We are linked in with our colleagues via tweeting through the day, blogging about the issues surrounding us, updating our status, and posting videos. Our personal views, thoughts, and feelings are no longer private and our business is "out there” for all to see.

Are you rolling the dice on social media and risk management? It is prudent that REALTORS® (and brokerages) address and respond to the social media risks that are being tweeted, blogged, posted, and videotaped daily.

»For Agents

REALTORS'® activity on social media sites must adhere to their brokerages’ written policies and procedures as well as to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, policy regarding use of the REALTOR® trademark, and the law! In addition, agents must ensure that their status as a real estate professional is readily apparent in their electronic communications. Finally, agents should not make false or misleading statements about competitors, competitors’ businesses, or competitors’ business practices; in fact agents should even remove false or misleading statements made by others on the agent’s own electronic media.

»For Brokers

All brokerages need a social media policy that takes into account additional considerations, such as its business model and corporate or franchise policies. Brokerage liability issues that need to be addressed in regards to social media are copyright infringements, defamation, unauthorized disclosures, anti-trust violations, and Fair Housing Act violations. The NAR Risk Management Committee has created a template for creating a brokerage social media policy, which can be found here (login required).

Avoid rolling the social media dice, and taking a liability gamble! As you are tweeting, blogging, posting, and videotaping onto media sites, the best thing is to remember is the Golden Rule of social media. Would you want that tweet, blog, post, or videotape to be broadcast about you and your brokerage? If the answer is no, then do not put it out there.

Jeanie Wilson, Prudential Florida Realty, is a member of the ORRA Risk Management Committee. She can be reached at

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