After meeting with Real Messenger execs this week, I’ve decided the company has come up with something with implications well beyond the real estate market it’s currently focused on: a social network that’s actually useful for business. The big problem with current social networks is that they try to be everything to everyone and, instead, fail to really focus on anyone for anything. Facebook, for instance, does have groups. But they are moderated by users, aren’t targeted by developers to create unique and powerful experiences, and live under the same rules and annoyances that plague the rest of the service. Real Messenger, in contrast, is a social network focused only on the real estate market. It does a far better job of serving that market than Facebook, or any general social network can, because it was created by real estate agents for real estate agents and customers. It is generally better to have a tool created by those who will use it than a universal tool that, by nature of its universality, can’t focus on a market or individual use case. Let me explain what Real Messenger is, and what it could evolve into.Real Messenger: The real estate social networkIn a general social network, you have a lot of groups that are partially moderated by users and partially moderated by the service provider but with no real connection between the developers of the tool and those that use it. This leads to outcomes, like Facebook, that are clearly suboptimal if you want to make progress.Real Messenger was jointly developed with some of the top realtors in the US to better connect real estate agents and people with the properties they might want to sell or buy. While the company currently is self-funded and pre-revenue now, its unique focus on bringing buyers and sellers together virtually is unique.The user scrolls through properties and marks the ones they like. Over time, Real Messenger uses artificial intelligence to look at that information and discern what architecture and features the user wants to better serve up properties that are uniquely attractive. Right now, it appears to mostly focus on very expensive, single-occupancy homes or plots (one property in my feed was an island going for $100 million). The app also serves somewhat as a realtor dating service by helping users find a realtor who works with properties like they want to sell or properties with unique appeal.This reduces the amount of time needed to find a property, better assures that it will be the ideal property for you, and potentially increases the sales price (by attracting more would-be buyers). Though it is rudimentary now, it could serve as a precursor for the future of social networking. Data is keyThe service is young now, but once it’s in wide use the data it collects on prospective buyers and sellers could dramatically change how homes are sold. For instance, it could provide a tool that presents you with a virtual perfect home (that could eventually be placed in the metaverse) and then do a world-wide search to find a property as close to your ideal as possible. And, based on what it knows about your past real estate engagements, it could help find the perfect agent for you in terms of knowledge and personality. (It could also identify problem clients and help real estate agents figure out how to avoid any related problems.) This also suggests how social networks could evolve. They would differ significantly from the world-domination approach of the big-league players toward more localized, specialized services that better meet the needs of a targeted group. Imagine an auto messenger, boat messenger, a gun messenger, or private plane messenger keeping buyers engaged with interesting products for sale until they’re ready to buy or sell — and then pivoting to make that sale fast and easy. Real Messenger is just one example. As we apply AI to the social networking problem, the opportunity to improve sales close rates, boost customer satisfaction, and capture more useful market information will be unprecedented. In addition, should this approach become successful, more services will pop up. And while targeted services like this are no threat to the likes of Facebook, collectively they could make Facebook redundant and force a needed change — social networks currently lack necessary focus, in my opinion — for a more powerful social networking future. While Real Messenger is nascent and still has a lot of growing to do, it points to a future of social networking that’s focused like Real Messenger instead of broad-based offerings like Facebook that struggle with anything approaching focus.
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