Today, social media is a lot about diving, digitally, into other lifestyles—quickly scanning through profiles to get a glimpse at the lives others lead. Users typically crave more of the visual, looking for photos and videos, as they make content appear more personal.
Is that going to change? Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales seems to think so, and has created WT.Social to compete with the most popular platforms available today, removing the presence of ads and prioritizing news.
How does it work?
Upon signing up, users can select a variety of SubWikis to join. Each one is like a separate group for a specific topic, such as “Cars & Motorcycles,” “Astrophotography” and “Technology.” Agents and consumers interested in receiving or posting real estate information could join or create a Real Estate SubWiki. Like Wikipedia, WT.Social relies on users to vet content, ensuring the legitimacy of claims and providing feedback to make news as reliable as possible.
WT.Social’s notification options can be useful for agents looking to combine their social news sharing and their email campaigns. The platform allows users to set up email notifications for each SubWiki, which would alert them any time a new article is posted on their topics of choice.
If this forum-style platform does take off, what can agents expect to post? The following content can be useful for consumers, not only on a news-focused platform, but also on agents’ existing social media and websites:
- Tips on how to stage a home for sale (interior and exterior);
- A breakdown of the real estate process;
- Best practices for individual processes: selling, buying, inspection, negotiations, etc.;
- House-hunting tips (what to look for, open houses, etc.);
- The history of specific neighborhoods and local buildings;
- Statistics about market trends and interest rates;
- and more.
Unfortunately, there are significant drawbacks to this platform.
First, although fully launched, the platform is still very early in the stages of growth—currently, there are around 400,000 users (at press time). Wales has said that changes will come as users provide feedback. Right now, the platform is reminiscent of a ’90s-style forum, rather than mimicking popular platforms like Facebook or Instagram. The layout is clunky and very bare bones, made up mainly of grayscale textboxes.
The benefits of a content-focused social platform?
For one, it has less to do with marketing and more to do with sharing knowledge. In this way, consumers may feel more comfortable connecting, knowing they are receiving content from an industry professional, especially if it’s content that they find relevant and useful.
Additionally, with data privacy a concern, users of WT.Social may feel more secure in knowing the platform does not sell users’ data and bans the use of advertisements, constantly monitoring for and removing “bad actors” who create problem posts or misleading headlines.
A replacement for Facebook? Unlikely. As a supplement to agents’ current social strategies, however, WT.Social could prove a very useful tool.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.