I need friends!

Despite my preference for blogs, (I really dislike the peer pressure games associated with almost all online social networks), I’ve been diving into a bunch of other platforms over the past two weeks (call it “work research”).

If you are on any of these, please consider sending an invite to me at dustin (at) raincityguide (dot) com.

If I’m missing a social network that you really like, please feel free to clue me in!

Also, one glaring hole in my social network is ActiveRain. The first reader to (1) send me an invite to ActiveRain AND (2) an invite to connect on at least two other social networks gets the credit for me joining up! 🙂 I’m now an ActiveRain Blogger! Thank you Cheryl of NELALive.

Instant Real Estate Gratification

[photopress:sasha_skyping.JPG,thumb,alignright]Our operators are standing by ready to take your call!

Here at Rain City Guide, we do our best to answer your questions before you ask them (at least that is a major part of good blogging!).

However, I know that we’re barely touching the surface of answering all your Seattle real estate questions and I doubt you want to wait around until we write a blog post about what’s on your mind right now. So, today, I’m releasing an “instant gratification” feature!

Notice how a few of the contributors (on the right panel) have a button under their name that tells you if they are online… Every time you reload a page on Rain City Guide, my server goes out and checks the status of these contributors. If they are online, then making contact with these contributors is simple, using free software called Skype.

So far, I have four RCG contributors who have agreed to take part in this experiment:

  • A Real Estate Agent (Anna Luther)
  • A Real Estate Lawyer (Russ Cofano)
  • A Mortgage Broker (Russ Shulman)
  • A Real Estate Tech Guy (myself)

I’m not sure what I have to offer via this medium, but if you want to talk with an agent, a mortgage broker, and/or a real estate lawyer, they are available to talk with you any time they are online. (By the way, we’re not going to stop here as more RCG contributors should be coming online soon…)

Contacting any of us is very simple and if you already have Skype, you can skip the first step:

  1. Download and Install the Free Skype tool
  2. Return to Rain City Guide and click on the button under anyone whose status says “I’m Online” and/or “I’m not telling”.

This will bring up a pop-up menu that starts the process of calling us over the internet.

Why Skype?

  • It’s free! Anna has been using it for almost a year to talk with her friends and family in Russia (Here is an article she wrote about Skype last September.)
  • The quality of the calls are awesome! They are much better than a cell phone and akin to a land-line.
  • No fancy equipment is needed. Assuming you have speakers and a mic on your computer, it just works. Honestly. I’ve set it up for friends and family on five or ten different computers, and assuming they have a mic (every computer has speakers nowadays), it has worked immediately after installation. Note that even if you don’t have a mic, you can still use Skype to send instant messages, so still consider using Skype to contact us…
  • Did I mention it is free? Skype will cost you nothing and there is no spyware or anything nasty in the software, so go ahead, download the software and start making calls to friends and family around the world.

One last note… The status of some of the people is displayed as “I’m not telling” which is just no fun. The reason is that the status of Skype users can only be displayed on a website if they are connected to Skype through a PC. Anna and I are using a Mac. Nonetheless, I’ve included these buttons because you can still use them to contact us. Assuming I’m online, I’ll definitely answer your calls. Assuming I’m not online, I pay Skype a few dollars a year for voicemail service, so you can always just leave me a message.

(this is a photo of our daughter using Skype to talk with her grandparents in Russia!)


I added both Ardell and Galen (and two more contributors said they were hoping to join up soon)!

I also had some great questions from people about how Skype works. The system is essentially the same as a telephone conversation except it is over the internet. If you call up one of the contributors, you will be talking with them and only them. You are not entering a group conversation, a group chat, or anything like that… It will really just be you talking with them. Simple, but powerful!