I can only speak for myself, but reading these other comments I see that people really are enjoying the ability to connect, and the ability to have some very good discussions.
I've always been kind of a mentor thruout my real estate career, both to other agents, and to buyers and sellers. Education is always part of the process whenever I'm working with buyers or sellers, and truly, while our legal responsibility is to represent the best interests of our clients, I also consider what I do to be a form of mentoring with my clients. Real estate isn't 'just driving around neighborhoods all day long', it's hard work, rewarding work, and sometimes, very emotional work.
As a real estate agent with more than 20 years of experience, I feel that many consumers are getting information that isn't always correct from their internet passions. There are many sources of information, and certainly, the internet is the first place many of us turn to when we need to research just about anything. But - the internet is only part of the equation to making a good decision.
It's a lot of fun to be able to talk with people all over the country, and to read what my fellow agents and business associates have to say - but I also want to help buyers and sellers understand how a good agent can really help them. Buying a home DIY isn't for everyone; there is a lot at stake, both financially, and in terms of nuiances of quality of life.
We're coming out of one of the most severe recessions since the 1930's depresssion, and not to sound trite ... but today, more than ever, buyers and sellers will do well to ask lots of questions, and find a good real estate agent to be their trusted advisor. I definitely believe that a caring, intelligent and skilled real estate agent can mean the world of difference to any real estate transaction.