A few days ago, I received a link to an Instagram account along with a laughing emoji.
The account was called Lords Of Property, which instantly made me cringe at the thought of what stomach-churning content could potentially be on it.
I was expecting to see rented Lamborghinis, no socks, and other stuff disguised as ‘motivation’ spewed from some self-idolising muppet, who worships the ego they see in the mirror.
Upon inspection, my initial expectations were well and truly hit out of the park. A mix of angst, anger and frustration swirled in my tummy. It was like watching car crash videos that I didn’t want to consume but couldn’t look away from.
I was witness to the slow and painful decimation of the individuals on display.
It was horrific, and full of everything that I have been quite open about in suggesting is wrong with the industry.
Personalities, or lack thereof doing nothing to improve the shoddy reputation of the real estate agent and instead shining a light on everything that could be perceived as wrong.
I felt the chip on my shoulder (that many have towards these types of agents) park itself on my right clavicle. I began to dust off my soapbox, ready to step onto the bandwagon as it rapidly gained pace behind this mass mockery of the ridiculous section of the industry.
Then I saw someone I know.
Not a leader, not someone who has stolen many a headline and spun it into self-serving propaganda.
Just a guy who has recently made the move into the sales side of the game and is working hard to carve himself a successful career and life for his young family.
I had already seen my friend’s footage now posted for ridicule. At the time I had thought it was a good insight into who my friend is and made them more relatable.
Interestingly though, The Lords of Property had determined that this footage fell into the wanker basket, alongside some rather dodgy dancing and awkward attempts to sing Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust.
Suddenly, I felt a degree of concern for that individual because I knew that he had been battling with his own confidence and self-worth.
I saw some derogatory comments from the usual suspects that I normally tend to stand alongside, in the view that this sort of stuff only serves ego, and not the industry.
Yet, it made me think.
I noted another ‘bring them down a notch or two’ Instagram account that recently gained a lot of media attention.
A similar account called celeb_spellcheck, started out as lighthearted fun with a Melbourne publicist poking fun at celebrities spelling mistakes and other such gaffs.
But it turned into a marketing monster overnight.
The account amassed more than 100,000 followers in a matter of months, with many expressing glee at other’s misfortune.
The climax came when sportswear designer and footy ‘WAG’ Bec Judd was gifted a tracksuit, and is alleged to have swiftly dropped it at the local Hampton Salvos only to within a matter of hours be ousted by Celeb_Spellcheck.
One can only imagine what happened next because the account was taken down, rejigged and returned with new content – now celebrating celebrities rather than tearing them apart.
Was it a genius marketing ploy to build a following only to convert it to the kind of content they actually wanted to post, or was it quite simply a genius mistake that has now amounted to a valuable account?
It’s interesting to note, the owner of celeb_spellcheck was offered a lot of money to sell the account and they declined.
Are our Lords up to the same trick? Attempting to do the same? Make hay while the sun shines?
I reached out to a couple of people the Lords had singled out to see how they were feeling.
The reactions varied from some who felt attacked and were offended, to those who thought it was hilarious and liked the fact that they had more eyeballs on their content!
One colleague had the following to offer: “I thought it was hilarious to be honest with you, I looked at it more from an opportunity point of view on what sort of content gets good traction and views”.
The observation was that those who are driving their agenda in this way were totally content and comfortable with their actions, and genuinely liked the extra attention.
However, several who were just trying to forge a path felt a strong degree of apprehension towards attempting to create more marketing content for fear of being targeted again.
I decided to put my ‘professional human’ cap on and reflected on my own behaviour and then decided to head to the source.
I asked the Lords themselves how it all started.
It turns out that a few mates had been privately sending each other clips as a laugh, and that the message group got to a size where they figured they’d take it public, such was the popularity of the thread.
There was no malice intended, however, like anything in the public realm, it becomes open to interpretation.
What is harmless, good fun to one, could be construed as bullying by another.
Now with any of this stuff that is not ‘human’ (things like content, pictures, posts etc), the reality is that none of it holds any emotional value until we assign our own value to it.
This value is based on our mind filters and previous experiences.
A case in point is those ‘targeted’ by the Lords who saw the attention as a good thing as opposed to those who felt attacked.
Then there were those who weren’t targeted but working in the industry who expressed their disappointment.
And therein lies the real concern for these types of accounts.
The content itself is not necessarily the issue, but the way in which industry interprets and connects to it.
It provides the opportunists the chance to tear down someone else’s career, and the supporters a chance to suckle at the attention teat of others.
But for everyone else in between, all it really does is add pressure to the thought that we are forever being judged, which can be incredibly inhibiting.
If you happen to find yourself in the firing line, just remember that like the content, opinions hold no value until you assign an emotional value to it.
You ultimately have a choice to let it hinder you, help you, or not even register if you feel it doesn’t provide value to your career or life.
My suggestion? Head through door number three, because unless an opinion is coming from someone you love or care about, you really don’t need to let it affect the trajectory of your journey.