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Opinion Editorials

Building versus pruning your digital contacts

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To Twinkie or Not To Twinkie?

There’s two schools of thought on maintaining your contacts online.

1. The more digital friends and followers you have, the better. Throw enough crap opportunity on the wall and some will stick. It’s a numbers game baby. (I lean in this direction, using Lists. I explain why below.)

2. Like what Twinkies are to nutrition, having hundreds or even thousands of digital friends and followers is a time sucking vortex of noise, empty calories and insincerity. It’s about real relationships, my friend.

Which approach will work best for you and your business?

To Twinkie or Not To Twinkie?

The Anti-Twinkie Approach May Feel Good, But Is It Good For You?

When we burden our social circles with dozens, hundreds and even thousands of empty calories semi-friends, strangers and quasi-strangers, the noise value and quality of our important real relationships sorta diminishes in inverse proportion to the head count.

How does one restore real relationships, save time, have fun and add value?  The answer is duh-simple but not easy.

Prune the hell out of your social circles.  Lose the loosely or unconnected connections.  Also we can all use “Lists” to help us lovefest focus.

(FYI, this post was inspired by Chris Smith’s recent blog post on the subject, I Started 2012 By Digitally Pruning (You Certainly Should Do The Same).  Read it and come back (please).)

The diminishing returns of a Twinkie Approach is also supported by the Dunbar Number.  In 1992 British anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorized that the cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationship with is 150 people.  Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on the Dunbar Number.

“this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.”

I  was totally onboard with what Chris, Dunbar and other supremely respected Alphas evangelize – Quality Over Quantity.  It’ makes perfect sense and feels right.  I quit eating Twinkies a long, long time ago (When’s the last time you had one?).  That is, I was onboard until 5:45am this morning.  Now I’m in a quandary. Read on and let me know what you will do.

Here’s the quandary, what if we’re analyzing and implementing strategy based on today’s-logic and known human limitations, instead of technological innovations – know and unknown?

The Semantic-Social-Search Black Swan Surprise

Over estimating what we know and under estimating what we don’t know is a human condition and fertile soil for surprise.  And opportunity.

This bombshell surprise paragraph is from an article titled, Google Gets 200+ IBM Patents, Including One for a ‘Semantic Social Network’

“For example, you may want to find someone knowledgeable about real estate in a specific neighborhood to ask for buying advice. But the right person may not list that as an “interest,” so you may not be able to easily find them in your expanded network (which includes friends of friends). A semantic network would find the right person to talk to by analyzing which people in your network post content having to do with the specific topic, and how much time others spend reading it.”

Yeah. Reread the article.

Do you suppose Semantic-Social-Search is valuable to Google, Facebook, Twitter, et al?  I bet it’s hugely valuable, therefore inevitable. When, not if Semantic Social Search becomes a reality, which school of thought will rule the day?

For real estate agents, will it be better to have as many friends and followers (and friends of friends) as possible, enhancing your chances opportunities (assuming you’re the right person for the job) to be discovered and hired?  Will friends and followers be the new Social SEO?  Will a Twinkie turn into a Success Super Food?

Or, will a tightly woven clan of rich and real relationships be the winning formula for success, health and happiness?

What Next?

I’m going to grow the size of my tribes.  Unless they’re a dumb ass spammer, I’m going to keep my social-boarders open and inclusive.  To ear muff the drone and noise of semi-strangers and to enjoy and nurture my real, important and valuable relationships I’ll use the List feature.

And of course, because the future is unknown, I’ll keep my mind open, learn and adapt from following Chris Smith, AG Beat and other Alphas.

What will you do?

Cheers and thanks for reading.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Lynda White

    January 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Well, Ken, I did prune my Twitter list at the suggestion of Chris Smith last week. I thought it was a good idea because I was getting a lot more noise than real conversations.

    Imagine my surprise when I went through 1,021 connections individually and could only pare them down to 950! Now I've added you for 951! Keepers: anyone in real estate, anyone local, anyone who inspired me, and anyone in my business coop group. Dropped: link spammers and annoying, negative people.

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Opinion Editorials

How to turn your complaint mindset into constructive actions

(EDITORIAL) Everybody knows someone who complains too much. While being open is important for mental health, constant bellyaching is not.

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Everybody knows someone who complains too much. While being open is important for mental health, constant bellyaching is not, so here are a few tips on turning your complaints into constructive actions.

It’s important to understand the difference between “complaining” and “addressing.” Talking about problems which mandate discussion, bringing up issues slated to cause larger issues down the line, and letting your boss know that you have the sniffles all fall into the latter category due to necessity; complaining is volitional, self-serving, and completely unnecessary in most contexts.

Complaining also puts you in an excessively bad mood, which may prevent you from acknowledging all the reasons you have not to complain.

Another point to keep in mind is that complaining occasionally (and briefly) isn’t usually cause for ostracization. Constant or extensive complaining, however, can lead others to view you as a largely negative, self-centered person — you know, the kind of person literally no one actively seeks out — which is why you should focus more on redirecting that negative energy rather than using it to remind your barista why they gave up their dream of becoming a therapist.

Complaining stems from two main sources: the need to be validated—for example, for others to know what you’re going through—and the need to be comforted. Addressing a chronic complaint mindset, then, is largely about validating and comforting yourself. This is a simple solution which nevertheless can take years to manifest properly, but you can start by doing a couple of things differently.

“Focus on the positive” is perhaps the hokiest advice you’ll get from anyone, but it works. In virtually any situation, you can find a positive aspect—be it an eventual outcome or an auxiliary side-effect—on which you can concentrate. Think about the positive enough, and you’ll talk yourself out of complaining before you’ve even started.

It’s also good to remember that no one, no matter how much they care about you, can handle constant negativity. If you find yourself constantly hitting people with bad news or tragic personal updates, try mixing up the dialogue with some positive stuff. That’s not to say that you can’t be honest with people—friends, family, and colleagues all deserve to know what’s going on in your life—but make sure that you aren’t oversaturating your listeners with sadness.

Lastly, keep your complaining off of social media. It’s all too easy to post a long Facebook rant about being served cold pizza (no one likes cold pizza on day one), but this just results in your loding a complaint reaching a larger number of people than vocalization ever could. If you have to complain about something in earnest, avoid doing it anywhere on the Internet—your future self will thank you.

Being honest about how you feel is never a bad thing, but constant negativity will bring down you and everyone around you. If you can avoid a complaint mindset as a general rule, you’ll one day find that you have significantly less to complain about.

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Opinion Editorials

What Musk’s tweets say about toxicity of modern work culture

(EDITORIAL) Musk is an inspiring figure, but his recent tweets speak volumes of what’s wrong with work culture, especially in tech.

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elon musk twitter

Oh, Elon. Haven’t you learned yet? No? Your beautiful, sweet, brilliant mind. I don’t know whether you need a hug or a stern talking to — maybe both — after your crazy, erratic tweets, but Elon Musk’s Crazy Tweet of the Week™ shows a huge problem growing in the tech industry and modern work culture.

In case if you missed it, here’s what went down:

1. On Sunday, the WSJ wrote that Tesla is the “hot spot” of young job seekers and engineers, in spite of or even because of Musk.

2. Par for the course, Musk responded on Twitter with the following comments:

3. Twitter exploded with replies such as these:

If anything, this opens a discussion on a toxic tech — and honestly, American — work culture. But we’ve written about that. It seems like we’re slowly learning that 40 hour workweeks are often okay, and here’s why:

Elon isn’t normal and we shouldn’t compare ourselves.

The thing is, Musk does get more done in the average workweek than a normal person. But this is because he’s brilliant and has figured out ways to beat the system, and he has a million different ideas that other people are implementing. Elon shouldn’t compare himself to the average person, because, well, he isn’t. It’s clear he’s brilliant (and knows it), so we shouldn’t compare ourselves to him, either.

Something we can take from him: learning to automate the remedial tasks and spending our time to maximize efficiency and not waste time. And for the average person, that probably means getting a good night’s sleep or eating well (that means not just drinking Soylent. Looking at you, developers!) so you can actually be effective the next day at work or with your loved ones.

Improve your efficiency.

Are there productivity tools that you haven’t been using that you can? Are you tracking your time and how you’re spending it? If you’re an entrepreneur, or better yet, solopreneur, are there small tasks that take a lot of time that you can do better, faster, stronger? If you need some ideas, check out the years of tips accumulated here on AG.

Elon knows where his strengths don’t lie, and he has a lot of people doing those jobs. So take some of the things he does, but take it with a grain of salt. But unlike Musk, treat your employees well, don’t burn them out, and empower them to do the tasks you don’t do as well.

Most “average” humans have normal responsibilities: families, maintaining a healthy lifestyle (this means sleeping well, eating well, and exercising), and maintaining balance with other interests that make us better employees, bosses, and entrepreneurs. Remember: you’re a human being, not just a worker bee. Don’t let Elon’s Tweetstorms lead you astray.

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Opinion Editorials

How to crush your next remote job interview

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Working remotely is becoming more and more popular. Learn how to excel during a remote job interview.

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how to dress for interviews interview

As the career landscape continues to change, so does the way in which we interview. With an increase in remote workers, there is also an increase in video interviews.

What immediately comes to mind for me was three years ago when I had a video interview with the fabulous COO of The American Genius. Since the company is based out of Austin, and I’m in Chicago, we had a video chat to see if I’d be a good fit for the company.

While it took some of the pressure off being able to be in my own home for the interview, there was definitely the con of…being in my own home for the interview. Fear of any noise or interruption posed as a slight distraction.

Like an in person interview, there are some pressures that go along with a video interview. The main one being that you need to sell yourself as an extremely responsible individual who can handle the freedoms and rigors of remote work.

Employers are looking for accountability in their remote workers. You must be able to execute your tasks in with a heightened amount of self-discipline.

This can be done through use of time trackers and proactive reporting. Keeping track of each task you do, and the time spent doing it, will provide something tangible for your employer. Be sure to explain during the interview that this is something you will provide to the employer.

Next, because there is a change in environment, and arguably a change in responsibility level, the questions asked during the interview may be different from your standard interview.

A few questions that may pop up to keep in mind: what hours will you be working? What is your remote experience like? Is this something you’re seeking for supplemental work, or trying to do full-time? What is your home workspace like? What tools do you use to keep yourself on task? What is your preferred method of payment?

In turn, there are some questions you should be prepared to ask, as in any other interview. For example: What would a typical day look like if we were working together in-house? Do you offer advancement opportunities? How many of your team members work remotely and how do we all stay in contact?

Working remotely can be a whole different beast in terms of proving yourself to your employer. Having yourself fully prepared for an interview can help start you off on the right foot.

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