There are many very knowledgeable professionals in on-line groups (facebook).
If you have a question – ANY question – about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, there’s a self-proclaimed expert just a few taps and clicks away. We all know that, if it’s on the internet, it MUST be true, so . . .
We turn to the internet for answers about medical conditions, fixing stuff (cars, computers, appliances, & etc), Psychological diagnosis, diets for weight loss or health, exercise . . . It’s ALL there, right?
I have one question: “If you don’t know what you don’t know, how can you be comfortable that the information you find on the internet is true and/or accurate?”
There are lots of folks out there who love to give advice to others. Most of these folks never even claim to be experts . . . No one is there checking their credentials . . . They’re simply “experts by default” who just happen to be the ones who answer the question posed . . . and their answers may be egregiously WRONG thereby endangering the health and well being of the poor souls who take their opinions as truth.
These are individuals taking action on questionable information at personal risk.
The real problem is when a “Professional” seeks advice from a group of colleagues. The risk amplifies because misinformation affects not only the professional but also that professional’s client.
I frequently see this play out in closed REALTOR forums.
These forums can be great places to pick the brains of others and to discuss trends and emergent issues or opportunities happening within the industry.
The danger shows up when “Brainstorming” turns into offering and receiving professional (legal) advice.
Once that line is crossed, the questioner must take the issue to his/her Principal Broker on record. Advice from any other source may differ from the Principal Broker’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) not to mention the fact that the Principal Broker is the responsible party RE supervision of the agent.
This is an important distinction, and all too often, the line fuzzy. When in doubt, seek the counsel of the Principal Broker.
A good way to deal with this is to employ a simple “Gestalt” dialog protocol:
Let the Questioner explain the situation – pose the question, and then ask what type of feedback would they like:
- Experiences – The response is a telling of a similar scenario as an example of how they dealt with it
- Walk in my shoes – If I were in your shoes, I would . . .
- Ideation – Brainstorming – Masterminding
I love these forums until/unless they cross that line in giving advice or interpreting legal terms . . . That’s strictly a Principal Broker’s domain.
If your Principal Broker “doesn’t have time” to deal with your questions – well – you’ve got bigger problems than this single issue.