We live in a time of unprecedented access to information. This isn't news. The problem with so much information is that not all of it is good. In an effort to get the information out quickly, people don't always take enough time to make sure that the information is factually correct. Twitter's 140 character limit also forces people to be brief which may not allow them to get a full thought across accurately. In the last few weeks, I have been on the receiving end of so much bad information, some from the press and some business related, that it really made me take a step back. For example, someone walked in to my office two weeks ago with a "comp" for a recent deal. I already had the information, but his source, the landlord, told him that the rent was $2/sf higher than the actual deal terms. In my view, the owner of the building was giving bad information to the market in an effort to increase the rents on future deals.
In my recent blog post, Number 5 on the Lucky 13 list of things I have learned in my 13 years in real estate was, "Information is a close second to relationships. You have to know your stuff." If this true, and I obviously think it is, we have to be very careful about where we get our information and how we disseminate it.
So how do we do it? Who do we trust and whose information do we disregard? My grandfather had a sign in his office that said, "Don't trust anyone". In the song Magic, Bruce sings, "Trust none of what you hear, and less of what you see". Those may be a little extreme, but it's important to take the time to verify information as accurate before passing it along, re-Tweeting, etc.
As service providers, our clients rely on us for a lot of things. Having accurate information is near the top of the list. How we get that information is easier than ever, but deciphering that information has never been more challenging. Take your time, consider your source and their motivation (not always genuine), and be thoughtful of what you pass along. Verify whatever you can, understand the information you are sharing and when appropriate, quote the source. Providing unbiased information helps build credibility.
If you agree with the content of this entry, I would appreciate a Re-Tweet, Share, Forward, etc. If not...well, "I've got a rabbit in my hat, if you want to come and see."