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On The Topic Of Right And Wrong

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two great tastes that go great together


Generally…

In general, I really don’t like being told that I’m wrong.

I was having a discussion with one of my pals this week about some most likely well-intentioned but otherwise unsolicited advice, and about the whole concept that there exists a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to your website.

Right Thing To Do and Wrong Thing To Do don’t exist without a) a goal, and b) an independent control.  And even then, there is only better or worse, which is still a subjective determination in many cases.

All we have is what is Right For Me or Wrong For Me, according to my goals, my experiences, and my personal value set.

There Are Others

Certainly, there are general industry best practices and That Which Has Worked For Others that can be emulated, but unless we evaluate each of these things against our goals, and then implement them contrasted against some independent control in order to evaluate a distinct metric, then there is never a right or wrong.

I firmly believe every decision we make, especially in regard to our websites, should have a distinct rationale, a reason for making the change, and a measurement of whether or not that change was successful.

Why did you lead with the fear of loss headline?  Was it because the fear of loss headline increased time spent on the page by a significant amount, which deepened the typical user’s exploration of the site?  Or because it sounded snappy?

Why did you put that item in your header navigation?  Because placing it there increased traffic to that feature which increased inquiries?  Or did it just fit well?

Unless you test, you’re just guessing, or worse, using anecdotal evidence.  And if you’re testing without knowing your goals, then you’ve got no standard by which to measure results.

All I Can Tell You…

These are the thoughts running through my head as we approach REBlogWorld, where I get to talk about driving traffic using paid advertising, something I’ve been doing for quite a while now, and which also makes for a lovely testing framework.  And even so – all I can tell you is what works for me, and I can teach you my methods so that you can determine if what works for me will also work for you. 

And no, the irony isn’t lost on me that I’m ranting about being told what to do in the midst of telling you what to do.  But at least the only thing I’m pushing is that you figure out objectively what works for you, according to your own goals.

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at KelleyKoehler.com, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Larry Yatkowsky

    September 6, 2008 at 12:49 am

    would I be wrong in saying that you are right

  2. Missy Caulk

    September 6, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Kelly, I sooooooooooooo agree with the premise of this post. What works in my area, may not work in another area. Heck, I know some folks that have great placement with Advanced Access sites. If something is working for me, then I am like a duck the “general opinion” of the masses doesn’t matter to me,and I let it roll of my back.

  3. Louis Cammarosano

    September 6, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Kelly I agree with Missy who agrees with you. I have a similar blog post brewing regarding utilizing what works for you based on your needs, style, what you are capable of and what your budget and time demands allow. There is no right or wrong way in general. It depends on the who what and where.

  4. Chris Shouse

    September 6, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    I will be listening intently to what you have to say as I need more traffic can not wait for you to speak:)

  5. Laurie Manny

    September 7, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    If everybody did the “right” thing, then we would all be doing the “same” thing, this would make for a very “boring” thing!

    Those who break away, get out of the box and try new “things” until they hit on some”thing” that works are innovators who create the next “thing” that everybody does.

  6. Mariana

    September 7, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    This is probably the most brilliant comments I have read in a long time:

    “I firmly believe every decision we make, especially in regard to our websites, should have a distinct rationale, a reason for making the change, and a measurement of whether or not that change was successful.”

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Opinion Editorials

Facebook fights falsehoods (it’s a false flag)

(EDITORIAL) Facebook has chosen Reuters to monitor its site for false information, but what can one company really do, and why would Facebook only pick one?

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Reuters checks facebook

So Facebook has finally taken a step to making sure fake news doesn’t get spread on it’s platform. Like many a decision from them though, they haven’t been thorough with their venture.

I am a scientifically driven person, I want facts, figures, and evidence to determine what is reality. Technology is a double edged sword in this arena; sure having a camera on every device any person can hold makes it easy to film events, but deepfakes have made even video more questionable.

Many social media platforms have tried to ban deepfakes but others have actually encouraged it. “I’ll believe it when I see it” was the rally cry for the skeptical, but now it doesn’t mean anything. Altering video in realistic ways has destroyed the credibility of the medium, we have to question even what we see with our eyes.

The expansion of the internet has created a tighter communication net for all of humanity to share, but when specific groups want to sway everyone else there isn’t a lot stopping them if they shout louder than the rest.

With the use of bots, and knowing the specifics of a group you want to sway, it’s easy to spread a lie as truth. Considering how much information is known about almost any user on any social media platform, it’s easy to pick targets that don’t question what they see online.

Facebook has been the worst offender in knowing consumer data and what they do with that data. Even if you never post anything political, they know what your affiliation is. If you want to delete that information, it’s hidden in advertising customization.

Part of me is thrilled that Facebook has decided to try and stand against this spread of misinformation, but how they pursued this goal is anything but complete and foolproof.

Reuters is the news organization that Facebook has chosen to fact check the massive amount of posts, photos, and videos that show up on their platform everyday. It makes sense to grab a news organization to verify facts compared to “alternative facts”.

A big problem I have with this is that Reuters is a company, companies exist to make money. Lies sell better than truths. Ask 2007 banks how well lies sell, ask Enron how that business plan worked out, ask the actors from Game of Thrones about that last season.

Since Reuters is a company, some other bigger company could come along, buy them, and change everything, or put in people who let things slide. Even Captain America recognizes this process. “It’s run by people with agendas, and agendas change.” This could either begin pushing falsehoods into Facebook, or destroy Reuters credibility, and bite Facebook in the ass.

If some large group wants to spread misinformation, but can’t do it themselves, why wouldn’t they go after the number one place that people share information?

I really question if Reuters can handle the amount of information flowing through Facebook, remember almost a 3rd of the whole world uses Facebook. 2.45 Billion people will be checked by 25,800 employees at Reuters? I can appreciate their effort, but they will fail.

Why did Facebook only tag one company to handle this monumental task? If you know that many people are using your platform, and such a limited number of people work for the company you tasked with guarding the users, why wouldn’t you tag a dozen companies to tackle that nigh insurmountable number of users?

I think it’s because Facebook just needs that first headline “Facebook fights falsehoods”. That one line gets spread around but the rest of the story is ignored, or not thought about at all. If there is anything Facebook has learned about the spread of fake information on their platform, it’s how to spread it better.

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Opinion Editorials

Will shopping for that luxury item actually lower your quality of life?

(EDITORIAL) Want to buy yourself a pick-me-up? Have you thought of all the ramifications of that purchase? Try to avoid splurging on it.

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shopping bags

In an era of “treat-yo-self,” the urge to splurge is real. It doesn’t help that shopping – or what ends up being closer to impulse shopping – provides us with a hit of dopamine and a fleeting sense of control. Whether your life feels like it’s going downhill or you’ve just had a bad day, buying something you want (or think you want) can seem like an easy fix.

Unfortunately, it might not be so great when it comes to long-term happiness.

As you might have already guessed, purchasing new goods doesn’t fall in line with the minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the globe. Being saddled with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (and don’t even like!) is sure to make your mood dip, especially if the clutter makes it harder to concentrate. Plus, if you’ve got a real spending problem, the ache in your wallet is sure to manifest.

If that seems depressing, I’ve got even more bad news. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College have found yet another way spending can make us more unhappy in the long run: imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when it seems like you’re not as good as your peers and they just haven’t caught on yet. This insecurity often arises in competitive careers, academics and, apparently, shopping.

Now, there’s one big caveat to this idea that purchasing goods will make you feel inferior: it really only applies to luxury goods. I’m talking about things like a Louis Vuitton purse, a top of the line Mercedes Benz, a cast iron skillet from Williams Sonoma (or is that one just me?). The point is, the study found that about 67% of people – regardless of their income – believed their purchase was inauthentic to their “true self.”

And this imposter syndrome even existed when the luxury items were bought on sale.

Does this mean you should avoid making a nice purchase you’ve been saving up for? Not necessarily. One researcher at Cambridge found that people were more likely to report happiness for purchases that fit their personalities. Basically, a die-hard golfer is going to enjoy a new club more than someone who bought the same golf club to try to keep up with their co-workers.

Moral of the story: maybe don’t impulse buy a fancy new Apple watch. Waiting to see if it’s something you really want can save your budget…and your overall happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer got you down? Does it make your job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment without budget worries.

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better equipment, better work

Aside from bringing the boss coffee and donuts for a month before asking, what is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes. In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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