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Balance Touch & Tech

This issue of Realtor® AE magazine is dedicated to bringing you great ideas on how to leverage technology to benefit your association and members. In this issue you’ll learn how other associations are using and exploring technology, but don’t forget that technology will never replace human touch.

I have a serious love/hate relationship with technology. I love technology when it works as it should and when it saves me time and money. I hate technology when it doesn’t work and wastes my time and money. I love the efficiency of e-mailing my entire board of directors and getting responses within hours, but I miss being able to reach them in person. I love my Kindle (electronic book) because it’s easy to carry and read, saves money on print books, and I can enlarge the print. But I miss the sight and smell of having full bookshelves in my house.

You get my drift. Technology has wonderful advantages, but I wonder if it’s made us all just a bit too impersonal and removed from one another.

For example, many of us recently returned from the Association Executives Institute in Boston where AEs Patrick Reilly and Bob Hamilton, along with the entire AEI Advisory Board, put on a fabulous program where nearly a thousand AEs mixed, mingled, and learned from one another in person. Although there are many opportunities to participate in online conferences and seminars these days, nothing replaces the value of sharing ideas in a classroom and then sharing conversation and a glass of wine or cup of coffee afterward. Thanks to the AEI Advisory Board and the great staff members at NAR for planning such a wonderful, successful, learning-filled institute!

There’s so much technology today that I’m often overwhelmed by it. Like many of you, I’m still working to fully understand the latest phenomenon called social networking and how it applies to my association (see feature, p. 14), and how best to leverage video, podcasts, Webcasts, blogs, and other technology to the benefit of my members. It’s the dawn of the Web 2.0 age, and I know I have lots to learn.

In fact, it’s our responsibility as AEs to understand the latest and greatest technologies that can make our associations and MLSs better. It’s also our responsibility to be out in front of technology and teach our members how to use it to improve their business and their service to customers and clients. Of course, it may not be possible for all of us to become experts on technology, but we should know where to find the answers to our member technology questions and make sure we can direct them to reliable information sources. NAR’s Web site,, and magazines—both Realtor® AE and Realtor® Magazine—are great resources for technology information.

Finally, I’d like to extend my heartiest congratulations to the winners of the Realtor® Association Outstanding Web Site Contest. Developing and maintaining an interesting, informative, and easy-to-navigate Web site for members is a real challenge for all of us. These sites are shining examples of the types of member service we can offer online. Now go out there and learn about this high-tech age we live in—but don’t forget the importance of high-touch, too!

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