Blog Tour USA stopped off in Birmingham Michigan on July 14th, and the city rolled out the red carpet. The streets were filled with people, bands played, and a festive atmosphere surrounded Rudy Bachraty and Joe FerraraÂ of Sellsius when they got off of the bus.
Actually, it was Birmingham’s annual Day on the Town, a big sidewalk sale with live entertainment, and it was a nice backdrop for the Sellsius visit. I kept trying to say that all the hoopla was because Birmingham was just sooooo into blogging, but I could not keep a straight face. Here is my rundown on the day…
Rudy called me a few minutes before our designated meeting time to say that they were just outside of town and would be there shortly. I ended up a few cars behind them, just down the street from my office, and watched with astonishment as they turned the bus in exactly the wrong direction from where they needed to go. Their GPS had sent them on a very circuitous route to a destination that was only one left turn away. Anywho, I managed to flag them down and they followed me into the SKBK Sotheby’s parking lot, where we were met by Missy Caulk and Todd Waller, who both drove in from Ann Arbor. I had begged Black Tie Todd to don his tux, and he was a good sport and threw the top half on over jeans after a full morning out showing homes. Todd’s not shy, and I suspect he had planned on wearing it anyway.
I had never met Todd, Missy, Joe or Rudy before, but after knowing them all for at least a year on line through their blogs or other e-groups, it felt like a reunion of old friends. That was nice.
After standing around in the parking lot for a while taking pictures (I think I had more photos taken of me yesterday than I have on any day other than my wedding), we went in my office and Joe and Rudy pulled out the BloggerazziTV.com cam and began filming us for their documentary of their trip. The questions were mostly about blogging and the technologies we use as Realtors. All three of us gave big plugs for vFlyer.com and a few other products. As we are in relatively similar markets, it was interesting to hear things that are and are not working for Todd and Missy.
We had a quick tour of the bus, and got some of the literature for the tour sponsors. I expected to see more beer bottles in the refrigerator. The stove is currently being used as the literature rack, and it does not look like any actual meals are being eaten in the camper. Joe, out of respect for his wife, makes his bed when there is company coming. Or maybe he makes it every day.
After a trip over the the local coney island (that is what we call diners here in Detroit) Rudy and Joe decided it was time to go out and do some man on the street interviews with the Bloggerazzi cam and that was a hoot. Missy is ready for her own network show. She is adept with the microphone. There were some good ‘takeaways’ for me from the interviews and a possible new client for both me and Missy. Observations:
- Most people did not read blogs
- Nobody had heard of real estate blogs and they did not know that Realtors write blogs
- Facebook was the social network of choice from those on the streets of Birmingham. We did not run into any myspace fans.
- Other people don’t spend as much time on line as we bloggers do!
- One guy actually did not have a computer. His wife said this was a good thing because they never have to worry about viruses or worms. He does not have a cell phone either. I was kind of jealous.
- You can get free stuff if you have a microphone and a videocamera. Rudy and Joe walked out of the new soup restaurant with TShirts after chatting with the owner. Maybe you have to be nice too, which they are.
I have to say, I could see some great applications for doing some mini interviews with local merchants, restaurateurs and such in my blogging. I hate the idea of being on camera myself, but the content for the blog could be great.
A huge thanks to Rudy and Joe for honoring Michigan with a visit. We REALLY appreciated it. 5 hours flew by quickly and it was great to meet in a small group and share ideas. Another big thanks to the sponsors, like Inman News, who made this trip a possibility. For many of us, this is the first step to “Bloggers Connect” and I have the feeling that you will see more of us at a future Bloggers Connect because Joe and Rudy stopped by this year to visit us.