Interview with Marlow Harris of the 360 Digest

I feel very lucky that for my final interview of the season, one of my favorite bloggers in the world has agreed to answer my questions. One of my Seattle real estate blogging failures has been that I’ve never managed to convince her to start blogging on Rain City Guide and instead she’s gone off and done wonderful things on many other blog platforms. 🙂

What inspired you to start blogging?

I have several websites, including SeattleDreamHomes and SeattleNeighborhoodGuide, but I was unable to have a conversation there so I began the blog 360Digest which has since morphed into a personal and real estate-oriented blog. I’ve also created another site, Unusual Life, where I’m having fun sharing information about unusual homes and architecture and selling books that interest me via Amazon.

I also contribute to several other blogs, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Real Estate Professionals and Inman News and a few others like Realty Blogging and My House Key.

I have actually started and discontinued at least a half-dozen other sites over the years, adding and taking away those that didn’t work or that were ineffective. Expect a culling of these sites too, over 2007. This is still a relatively young field, so some editing and natural selection is inevitable.

I think we’re all watching to see where this new medium will take us.

Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?

Well, I like to be around and work with creative people. Therefore, I enjoy writing about creative people, their homes and creative approaches to real estate, art and popular culture. You can’t really write about your listings, that’s boring. And there aren’t that many “stars” in real estate. You’re left with dry prognostications or dull mathematical calculations. Or you can try to make connections between real estate and other endeavors. For me, that’s art and popular culture. My favorite magazine is Juxtapoz and the word “juxtapose” sums up what I like about making connections between the relationships of art, real estate and popular culture. It’s the intersections, random connections and juxtapositions that I find the most fascinating. One’s home is often a reflection of self, ones values and desires, and I love to see the choices people make.

What have you done to personalize your blog?

I write like you and I were sitting in the same room having a chat. I write about things that interest me. And I hope it will interest others.

Do you have any favorite posts?

Well, I think it’s funny to try to see how often I can mention Elvis in conjunction with real estate. It’s just so stupid, a bad joke that’s got out of hand. It’s absurd and it makes me laugh.

And one post that’s on my mind this week was the time I was asked by a movie location scout to find a place to film the true story of the local guy who, uhmmm… uh… loved horses. The film just debuted at Sundance this week and the reviewers fell all over themselves praising the aesthetic v.s. salacious approach to the film. I love the local angle of the story, it’s bizarre, strange and perverse….. all the things I love.

What are some of your favorite blogs (real estate or otherwise)?

Oh, you mean besides Rain City Guide (smile) and all of these? I like Grow-a-Brain, Boing Boing, Fark and Unique Daily.

What do you think real estate blogging will look like 3 years from now?

There are very few people who have anything remotely interesting to say, let alone write. Perhaps everyone will be blogging and instead of a couple of dozen really good blogs, there will be tens of thousands of mediocre blogs out there that no one reads. (Actually, I think that’s already happened.)

I think for many writers, the blog is just a big energy suck and a huge waste of time.

It’s fine that blogging is getting all this attention, but I’m concerned about the predictions of the end of traditional journalism and newspapers. Not many bloggers are going to attend school board meetings, city council meetings, and other important (and, perhaps boring) community meetings and events. Without paid reporters, there could be a huge hole that unpaid bloggers will never begin to fill. We need paid reporters — who’s going to follow those political candidates around, attend labor meetings, and report on local and national news if newspapers cease to exist and paid journalists disappear? Volunteer bloggers cannot possibly fill the void left by newspaper and professional journalists and they both serve different purposes. Professional journalists at least strive to be impartial, even if they are not always successful.

Blogging is an interesting endeavor, but I think it’s important for bloggers to keep what they’re doing in perspective. It’s usually marketing or ego gratification. It’s rarely journalism.

Thanks again Marlow for the wonderful insights!

Lots more to pick up via osmosis from these real estate bloggers:

As this is my last interview of the season, I figure it is only fair that I let others know that my interview from last year where Andy Kaufman subjected me to the same questions is still live on his blog.

14 thoughts on “Interview with Marlow Harris of the 360 Digest

  1. note: I just deleted a mean-spirited comment by our favorite troll, Synthetik. I think I’d be more understanding if he didn’t try to hide behind false names but had the strength to actually stand behind his opinions.

  2. Thank you Dustin, for such a diverse list of interviews. Marlow is the cherry on top!

    I was very glad to see that she started and stopped many before finding her groove. Speaking of groove, that is a very “groovy” top she has on…brings back memories.

  3. Dustin, thank you for protecting my delicate psyche from meanie bubble-blabbers.

    And Ardell, thanks for the kind words! We should really get together one of these days….

  4. Marlow:

    I too am a fellow farker! It’s the first site I check every day. Fark has actually crashed my server a few times.

    I posted a link to a picture on there and my site got over 500 hits in less than 5 minutes and the next thing I knew, the entire server went down.

  5. Pingback: 360Digest » Offbeat America

  6. Pingback: Unusual Life » Offbeat America

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