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Three Geniuses Walk Into a Bar…

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Redhead Piano bar 

Folks, I have compiled the first in a series of helpful discussions between three leaders in our industry…and moi – the court jester. This first installment includes the following illustrious crew: Brandie Young, Ken Brand and Paula Henry. They were directed to answer my questions in ten words or less. These respected business persons can teach you a lot about real estate and marketing. The other one is an idiot, but she can show you where all the bodies in Hollywood are buried.  This may have been an online discussion, but I want you to imagine all four of us sitting in our favorite pub discussing sales, real estate, and the economy. Ken, of course, is outnumbered, but as a result, he is enjoying all the attention. I am head down in a bowl of beer nuts…but you probably already knew that: 

GBB: What is the best way to get new clients?  PH: Internet leads BY: From current or past clients. KB: … Find fun people, mix-mingle-interact-converse-listen-share-ask questions-discover-solve problems. GBB: You broke the ten word rule Ken. Kindly put a dollar in the jar. Okay, so we were talking new clients – well, I do pretty well down at Hollywood and Vine. Oh wait, we’re talking real estate… In that case, blackmail is an effective tool. That’s what makes L.A. work – just ask the National Enquirer. Oh, puh-leeze, don’t pretend you never do that! 

GBB: What characteristic do you most like in a client? BY: Engaged, enthusiastic… KB: A funny, friendly good looking, whip smart, recently homeless person with a million dollars cash and no where to live, until we find them a home. GBB: Gimme another buck, Ken.  PH: Sense of humor GBB: Duh! Lakers Tickets! 

GBB: What characteristic do you least like in a client? BY: Nit-pick, whiny. PH: Micro managing a process/project they know nothing about.  Oh, and when they can’t pay. GBB: Why are you looking at me when you say that, Paula? Lani is paying for this.  KB: If people are disrespectful, I dump them. GBB:  I hate ankle monitoring bracelets. I’m just saying… 

GBB: What can an agent do to assist with an appraisal now that we have the new HVCC guidlines? BY: Make certain the appraiser actually knows the area. PH: Not sure anyone has this figured out. GBB: I concur. Another chili in your Bloody Mary, Brandie?  KB: We provide our appraisers with an appraisal package.  Updated comps and a laundry list of any and all improvements… GBB: If the appraiser is a woman, I bring a Prada bag full of chocolates. If it’s a guy, I bring Pamela Anderson

GBB: What is your opinion of Real Estate reality shows? KB: They’re stupid.  Put me in one, I’d sell circles around those clowns.  Actually, I find some of the negotiating stuff interesting. GBB: Ken, for a genius, you sure can’t count. But that’s okay, I’m an idiot savant myself. Gimme another buck. PH:  [Reality Shows] are so not real. BY: [Reality Shows] crack me up!  That one in LA is so far out of reality, it’s hysterical.  GBB: Actually, all of L.A. is beyond reality, dahling. I was on “Flip That House,” and all I got out of it was a stalker. Matter of fact, he looked a lot like you, Ken. Uncanny resemblance… I’m packing pepper spray, Ken! 

GBB: What is your opinion of bus bench ads? BY: We don’t really have buses in my area.  I think this is community specific. PH: Only Teresa Boardman’s virtual bus bench is worth the price. I don’t want anyone sitting on me.  GBB: I’m confused. Who’s Teresa Boardman? Did I miss something when I was in the rest room? Bench ads to you, Ken.  KB:  Generally speaking, “Lame.” Unless it’s an enormous picture of me and someone else paid for it. GBB: Love ‘em! When someone carves gang signs in my paper forehead I consider it a sign of deep affection. Ken, you REALLY look familiar… Is that a restraining order in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? 

GBB: What do you like best about your job? BY: I don’t work for a__holes any longer.  I get to pick and choose with whom I work and I can fire clients when our agency isn’t a good fit. GBB: You said a bad word, Brandie. Put a dollar in the jar. No, I’ll hold the jar. Let go, dangit – the cash is mine! KB: Being the boss of my self.  Picking and choosing who I work with.  My raise is effective as soon as I am. GBB: That’s clever, Ken. You really should consider a bus bench ad.  PH: No two days are alike.  Getting to the closing table; not because I get paid, but the sense of accomplishment. GBB: I like happy hour. No, Ken, I don’t work here, and stop bogarting the peanuts! Who’s buying the next round? 

GBB: What is your most successful means of advertising? BY: I am very interested to see what people say here.  Would love to see a mix of very small town/community answers vs. others. GBB: You are a regular brain trust, Brandie. Will you take my brokers’ exam for me please?  PH: Internet GBB: Paula, I love how you are both brilliant AND succinct. You are the only one who followed the ten word rule. …Paula? Somebody wake her up so she can tip the waitress.  KB: Traditional advertising is like earning a fast nickel.  Personal relationship building, on-purpose and in-person contact is a slow dollar.  Go for the dollar. GBB: Nice. I have business card with a hologram of myself. I tell people I am virtually there whenever they need me. Also, bad publicity is a real pay-off in my town. Hence my desire to jump up on this table and start dancing. 

GBB: What subjects other than real estate would be advisable for prospective agents to study? KB:  How to write and speak persuasively.  Social Media marketing and relationship building strategies.  How to live in the now… GBB: Right! Where were we? PH: How to interpret data as it applies to the likelihood an area will thrive.  BY: Appraisal GBB: Man, I’m outta my league here – I was going to say “animal husbandry.” Why are you all taking away my car keys? 

GBB: What will your real estate tombstone say? KB: Cheers Friends.  It was FUN.  I’ll be back. GBB: Brandie? Brandie? (Brandie didn’t answer this one.) Did we offend her? Don’t look at me, Ken. It was your idea to put half a jar of chilies in her Bloody Mary. Maybe she’ll forgive us before our next get together. So, what will your real estate tombstone say, Paula? PH: She sold her last home. GBB: I like that. I guess mine will say, uh…’Good till the last drop?’ No, no…make that, ‘This escrow closed on time.’ No, No, I don’t like that one. How ‘bout “Death by Hollywood?” Now back to you, Ken…you look strangely familiar – even with that party umbrella tucked behind your ear.… 

Thanks to my colleagues for their valuable input and their willingness to participate in the fun. Ken Brand, a veteran in real estate, is the Real Estate Sales Manager of Prudential Gary Green Realtors  in Woodlands, Texas. Paul Henry is the dynamo leader of the top notch Henry Group at Red Door Real Estate in Indianapolis. Brandie Young is a San Francisco marketing guru, trail blazer and founder of consulting firm MarketingTBD. Host Gwen Banta is the L.A. based realtor who is only allowed out of Sunnyside Home for the Demented on weekends and holidays. (Lani, did you pay our bar bill yet?)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Matt Stigliano

    March 12, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Gwen – Another instant classic. Despite all the humor, there’s actually some good stuff in there. You and Ken in a bar? I imagine that would get very funny. Maybe AgentGenius should sponsor some coast to coast flights for real meet ups of the writers like this. Can you imagine what might come out of a collaborative effort between two writers set loose on a city for a weekend? I volunteer to be the driver when you and Ken do your weekend.

  2. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    You’re on, Matt! Let’s get a pool going so we can all meet in Austin. You drive, Lani gets drinks, and I’ll cover snacks and bail money. Ken, Paula and Brandie will guard the door, because Loomer will probably show up wearing a cheese head or a Carmen Miranda hat.

    Seriously, I’m glad you liked our virtual get together – Ken Paula and Brandie have so much wisdom to offer, so I wanted to get it out there in a fun format. I have very little wisdom to impart except “more olives,” but I am a great moderator. I sent you and Joe and a few other the questions also (via your professional website contact info), but I’m not sure who got them and who didn’t. I get spamed a lot because most email programs know a dodgy broad when they see one.

  3. Paula Henry

    March 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Gwen – I knew if I wasn’t succinct, I would have to pay. Coast to coast bar hopping; now that’s a novel idea and Agent Genius is hosting. I could meet all my favorite people in one airplane ride, first class, all the booze is free and oh, the stories we could tell 🙂 Thanks for including me in your Virtual bar mashup. It really was a great night.
    BTW – did you tip the waitress for me.

  4. Brandie Young

    March 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Fun post! Next time I say we do have the drinks! Just two thoughts:

    1. Gwen, at $1 per bad word I could go broke quickly.
    2. I’m not the best choice to guard the door from Loomer …

    p.s. For the record, I’ve been to the Redhead Piano Bar (love!)

  5. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for being there, Paula – The waitress got stiffed, but I had to tip the doorman who carried you to your car 🙂

  6. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    3 Things Brandie:
    1. You owe me some friggin money, potty mouth.
    2. Of course you’ve been to the Redhead – you go to all the fun spots because you know how to enjoy life.
    3. You are right – No one could guard the door against Loomer…but next time you’ll probably discover that he’s already there… somewhere under a bar stool…right next to a heap of flesh that looks like me…passed out in Joe’s Carmen Miranda hat.

  7. Greg Cooper

    March 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    You people must slow down! There are far too many great visualizations that I have not had time to ponder. Now…who’s got the Carmen Miranda hat on again?

  8. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Joe Loomer, one of our craziest contributors and a virtual tavern denizen, was wearing the hat until I had my third martini. However, when I passed out, some sly guy grabbed it off my head, donned it and started doing a tango. He looked suspiciously like you, Greg. Do you have the hat? If so, order another round!

  9. Joe Loomer

    March 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    By my count, Gwen owes more than Ken. Pay up !

    I’ve got a great idea for the next one you do! You can call it Paula’s MIBAR mashup!!! Or was that MIBOR, maybe I had too much to drink playing “one shot for every word Brandie uses, two for Paula, and one for every five Ken uses.” Damn you Ken Brand, your uppance will come!

    For Gwen’s neck of the woods, I also think she left out a gender in her Appraiser bag of “tricks.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  10. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    My dear, Joe – Several corrections need to be made here:
    1. Rules never apply to me. I make them up as I go along. It keeps people on their toes.
    2. I have no money left for the jar because I had to pay bail for Ken.
    3. Paula doesn’t qualify for a mashup – she’s still in County.
    4. A third gender, Joe? Are you not telling us something? That explains your taste in hats 🙂

  11. Ken Brand

    March 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Heh, heh, how lucky am I? Drinks and three, shall we say, uniquely- gifted-women. Joe, step inside. No need to guard the door. We don’t need to concern ourselves with anyone getting in, we need keep these three from getting out. Lock it from the inside, will ya.

    Rules are made to be fractured, especially 10 word rules. Brandie’s right, I’m sure the first draft read raw and Pulp Fictionesque.

    Gwen does your holograph do anything else besides sorta-shimmer, i mean, is it interactive in anyway, you know, is it touch sensitive to finger swipes like an iPad?

    Ear umbrella? I don’t even know what that is, but if you like the way it looks, I’ll wear a set.

    TY;-)

  12. Joe Loomer

    March 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Oh Sweet Mother in Heaven. It’s on like Donkey Kong….

    Brandie won’t bar me from coming in AND she has a potty mouth? DO YOU PEOPLE NOT READ HOW I SIGN MY COMMENTS? Hellooooo?!? Does the phrase “……..like a drunken SAILOR” not ring a bell or two?

    We’ll make up our own sea chanties about this, I promise you. Songs will be sung!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  13. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    My hologram sings, Ken – with Rock n Roll Realtor Matt Stigliano doing back up vocals and musical accompaniment. We’re called the Hologramaphones. Yes, my hologram is interactive, and it will slap you upside head the next time you tell some strange guy in a bar he can take me home if he pays you fifty cents. The paper umbrella was behind your ear as I recall, but that wasn’t nearly as distracting as those damn swizzle sticks that were up your nose. You did, however, look pretty cute. And somehow you managed to spew a lot of great bits of advice…like you always do.

  14. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    We’re counting on you a for limericks, too, Joe. What other AG friends want to join us? Please let me know, and I will add you to the list so the bouncers, Fred Glick and Patrick Flynn, won’t crush you with their bare hands at the door. So who wants to come? I promise, “what happens at the Redhead stays at the Redhead”…unless, of course, police transport is involved.

  15. teresa boardman

    March 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I invented the virtual bus bench. If you google virtual bus bench the first entry is my original and the second entry is my current bench. I have gotten business becasue of it too. Sometimes people like to work with people who are all that AND a bag of chips . . and that is what I am.

  16. Paula Henry

    March 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    T – And it was such a clever idea! Now you have a spot at #5 with this post 🙂

  17. Ken Brand

    March 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I’m going to amen my original comment on bus benches. I’m saying it would be lame if, for example, my photo was a total body shot, me standing up, with a coat over my right shoulder and me holding a phone to my left ear, and my photo ran the length of the bench seat. You know what I’m talking about, when someone sat down, they could sit on my head or my chest or my polished shoes. That’s my new position on bench marketing.

    Cheers.

    PS. Matt has key. Matt let yourself in and lock the door behind you.

  18. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Teresa, I want to be you. You are a bag ‘o chips and then some. My bus bench ads were real, and someone changed my moniker by crossing out the last ‘s’ in “Sherlock of Homes” and changing it to “Sherlock of Homeys.” Another ad was changed to “Sherlick of Hummus,” and they drew a tongue coming out of my mouth. L.A. – gotta love it! So now I want to have a virtual ad and avoid injury!

  19. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Paula, you’re out of lockup!!!

  20. Gwen Banta

    March 12, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Ken, I think a shot of you with the swizzle sticks up your nose would get a lot of attention 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      March 12, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      hmmmmm. This swizzle-stick schick might have legs. But, I think it’s the kind-of attention getting play that I’d have to be talked and walked into, in person. When we meet, you can give it a whirl. If you want?

  21. Nashville Grant

    March 12, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    OMG – how in the h__L do I get invited to an agent genius bar discussion? I’ll hop a plane to LA so fast it will make the Southwest baggage handlers lose my luggage (like they need another excuse). My answers get so much better then longer we stay…

  22. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Were meet ing again next week, ken – wear a nosr guard!

  23. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:39 am

    OMG Ken – I looked drunk in that last message – flying fingers and no proof reading is what I am always griping about. Pot, meet kettle. Do we have spell check here? Helloooooo?

  24. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Okay, Grant – you’re on for next week. I am sending you the questions so check your website email contact site. Once you supply the answers, you wil be sucked into our virtual bar at the Redhead. (They should be giving us a kickback for advertising.)

  25. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Hey Gang, you’ll love this – a colleague just called because he thought I actually bought a bar called the Redhead (name chosen because of my auburn tresses). Can you just imagine me running a saloon? Hallelujah!

  26. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 2:11 am

    ATTENTION: THERE IS NOW A PASSWORD TO GET INTO THE REDHEAD LOUNGE VIRTUAL BAR. FIVE BUCKS TO THE FIRST PERSON TO GUESS IT!

    • Ken Brand

      March 13, 2010 at 10:45 am

      The password is, “I’m Super-Fly T.N.T.

      Pay Up.

  27. teresa boardman

    March 13, 2010 at 5:46 am

    Gwen that even happens with virtual bus benches, Bus benches just invite vandalism. It is like they were built to be vandalized. Mine was hit in April of 2007 by Kristal Kraft. It is unclear if she did it to showcase her artistic skills or if she was jealous because I have a virtual bus bench and she dies not. In any case you can find her work here https://www.stpaulrealestateblog.com/weenie/2007/04/kirstal_kraft_n.html

  28. Paula Henry

    March 13, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Oh Grant – did you really ask for this 🙂

    Thanks for the bail Gwen, now I can enjoy my weekend pass.

  29. Joe Loomer

    March 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I’m thinking the password has to be “Sherlick”

  30. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Paula, we need to encourage Grant – he’s buying! Ken and Joe, you are short of a full deck with your passwords, but nice try. Hint: 3 words that will guarantee that we open the door for you. Remember, this is the Redhead Bar!

  31. Dan Connolly

    March 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Carpet matches drapes?

    • Ken Brand

      March 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm

      Are we assuming wall-to-wall carpet? Throw rugs or no rugs?

      The password guessing came befuddles me.

  32. Joe Loomer

    March 13, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Dan beat me to it. That or “don’t feed animals”

  33. Tanya Nouwens

    March 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    “All that AND a bag o’ chips.” My new favourite saying of all time.

  34. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    BEEEEEP – Dan and Joe just blew it, but thanks for trying. The password is actually 3 words, total of 10 letters, and the phrase implies “generosity in a bar.” No, Joe, it’s not “Kiss Me Edna.”

  35. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Incidentally, Tanya Nouwens Gurberg and Joe Loomer will be part of next week’s revelry at the Redhead. They are both very smart…but a pack ‘o wacko, so hold onto your knickers everyone! Paula, Ken and Brandie will be back if they aren’t extradited before Friday.

  36. Gwen Banta

    March 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Un, Ken – you’ll have to get the answer to your question in private from Dan because it’s R Rated. But I love your choice of the word “befuddled.” I expect you to slip it into the next virtual discussion. Oh who are we kidding – you know I’ll do that for you! What song will you be singing karaoke to next week? (Tanya, you’re on deck after Ken. )

  37. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Hey “DeanSellsAZ.com” – Thanks for the Top Ten Post nod. But only THREE geniuses??? What about moi? I must respectfully inform you that it takes amazing talent and an IQ of at least 75 to pry cocktail onions out of one’s nose after a night at the Redhead Bar…especially after a celery lobotomy (hence my resolution to swear off Bloody Marys.) You’re welcome to join us anytime, but you must buy the first round! 🙂

  38. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Teresa, your bench ads are fabulous. I must admit, however, that you are much more attractive without the moustache. Don’t you think you and I should waltz on over to Krystal Kraft’s site and sabotage her? You’re on my team…so I am ready to kick some a__ for you. What do you say, team – who’s with me???

  39. Gwen Banta

    March 14, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Incidentally, Teresa, I agree with Tanya Nouwens that your slogan is one of the best EVER. Maybe Kristal has a Mr. Potato Head fetish and can’t bear the thought of him being sliced up for a bag ‘o Teresa Boardman Kick-ass Chips. Deal with it Kristal – the potato head is going down!

  40. Fred Glick

    March 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Bouncer? I’m a hockey goalie on the ice. Not a bouncer off!

  41. Gwen Banta

    March 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    We need not only your brains, but your hockey goalie braun, Fred. I heard you take no prisoners – so welcome to the Redhead Lounge!

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Business Marketing

Unsplash is the secret weapon for seekers, and creators of unique images

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It’s free, it’s great, it’s free, it’s a marketing multi-tool, and it’s FREE. Why aren’t you using Unsplash already? It has great exposure!

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I really can’t stand seeing the same thing over and over again.

Might be my slutty, slutty, non-brand-monogamous Milleniality showing, but I reeeeeeally feel like something’s wrong when I can’t tell two different companies (or WRITERS) apart because they’ve aped the same template, or bought the same cheap font, or used the same stock photos.

He’s a cutie, but I can only see that surprised toddler in the pink shirt and gray vest so many times. And I guarantee at least 85% of people reading this know exactly which baby I’m talking about, hence the issue I’m having.

That’s where Unsplash has been my friend.

I was introduced to the image search engine in my last job: hundreds of thousands of hi-res images for 100% free, which yeah, was just my boss saving money on subscriptions to pay for our office snacks. But I was pleasantly surprised by the cool stuff I could find!

How it works is; well first, pretend you’re a photographer. One amongst many. And you specialize in, say, bomb ass macrophotography. Except the people who need your services A: Don’t know the difference between your specialty and someone who can use the zoom button, and thus B: Aren’t finding your portfolio because they don’t even know what they’re looking for.

If you’re willing to let people use some of your photos, you can host images on Unsplash, tag them with keywords, and ideally get some subtext or alt-text credit.

It’s not like a paying gig, it’s more like passing out fliers to super warm leads.

Now pretend you’re writing for a nature blog. Justifiable crackdowns on unpaid intellectual property mean that when your client says ‘Just pull some stuff from Google, it’s whatever’, you’re not actually going to do that. But there’s no budget for a subscription to anything, so what now?

You check out Unsplash is what. Then you find that macrophotographer’s amazing pictures of leaves and such, and bookmarking their gallery gives you a way to harmonize all the preview images you use for the ‘5 Most Ominous Things I’ve Found in the Austin Greenbelt’ article you’re working on with everything else on the site.

As a master manipulator of text/feelings myself, I’m also really into the fact that since anyone with a camera, anywhere in the world can host their images, I’ve got a lot of diversity in styles, locations, and of course human subjects. I really enjoyed that I could look up ‘CEO’ and find a Vietnamese woman and a Canadian man sharing the first page and probably a complicated relationship with France as a concept.

And I noticed something else.

Quite a few of these images were branded! As in Harley Davidson, Boxed Water, and more have Unsplash accounts, with their products on display to be used whenever people look up words like ‘freedom’ and ‘quirky’ and ‘hydrate’.

You literally can hire a photographer to take pictures of people in various situations wearing your brand of pillbox hats, and get photos of your product placed any and everywhere!

Now of course there are a few wee drawbacks.

Credit isn’t guaranteed, so whether you’re a brand or a photographer, you may not have your name on your work when it’s displayed, especially on preview images.

You also won’t be notified as to WHERE your photos are being used, so if your properly gloved and be-pillboxed gals end up photoshopped with digital Sharpie mustaches and used in an anti-fancy fashion postpunk op-ed, that’s out of your control.

On the searcher side, the AI is a little off as you scroll through. You might be distracted by photos of fighting racoons being auto-tagged as dogs hugging, and lose time laughing and taking screenshots, and then explaining why you’re posting to Tumblr during work hours.

Still worth it, by the way.

Ultimately Unsplash has been my ace-in-the-hole when it came to advancing the radical left agenda by viciously adding different ages, races, and settings to my last gig’s newsletters, and it’s another great resource for anyone in the ‘get/KEEP your name out there’ stage of business.

Hitch up your water wings, dive in, and make an un-splash!

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Business Marketing

Instagram’s false information flagging may accidentally shut down artists

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Instagram is doing its hardest to insure no false information gets released wide, but the net they cast may catch a lot of artists who manipulate images.

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technically a false image

Instagram’s new update is hiding faked images. The downside? Posts by digital artists are being swept up in this new flagging system. In December, Instagram announced the release of a false information warning in order to combat the spread of misinformation on the platform.

How does this work? Content that is rated as partly false or false by a third-party fact-checker is removed from Instagram’s Explore option and matching hashtag pages. Additionally, the image will receive a label to warn viewers about its credibility with a link back to the fact-checker and further sources that debunk the visual claims in the image. These labels can be seen on profiles, feeds, DMs, and stories. Identical content from Facebook will be automatically labelled if posted to Instagram.

Digital artists are feeling the effects of Instagram’s update as digitally-altered images for the sake of artistic expression are being slapped with the misinformation label. The good news, however, is that not all photoshopped images are in danger—only the pictures that have gone viral attached to false information and identified as such.

So if an artist manipulates an image, releases it, then someone else decides to use the altered image to spread misinformation, the artists image could be labeled as misinformation and will be hidden from the Explore and hashtag pages. The artist pays the price for someone else spreading false information.

While a label will save a viewer from questioning a post, digital artists, whose careers depend upon visibility and the spread of the work are likely to feel the effects—whether it be scroll-frenzied viewers passing their work by, deterred by the label barring the post from a quick look, or even worse, the artists having their own credibility called into question.

With only a couple of weeks into the new year, it’s yet to be seen how other digital art may (or may not) be caught up in Instagram’s well-meaning update.

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Business Marketing

How becoming better listeners eliminates our culture’s growing isolation

(BUSINESS MARKETING) We have all be frustrated by someone who doesn’t listen to us; so why not make sure that you are taking the steps to not be them, and be better listeners.

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good listeners breed good listeners

We all want the same thing: to be heard. In this digital age, we’ve created an endless stream of cries for attention via comment sections, forums, and social media feeds—shares, retweets, tags, videos, articles, and photos. Worse, our words echo in our digital bubbles or specific communities, doing nothing but making us lonely and isolated. However, in the midst of a divided political climate, we can all stand to strengthen our ability to listen.

Me? A bad listener? What are you trying to say? I got enough flaws to worry about and don’t wanna hear about another skill to improve. Oh, the irony.

“Bad listeners are not necessarily bad people,” assures Kate Murphy in her new book You’re Not Listening. “Anyone can get good at it. The more people you talk to, the better your gut instinct. You’re able to pick up those little cues. Without them, you’re not going to get the full context and nuance of the conversation,” she says in an interview with The Guardian’s Stephen Moss.

Our bad listening aside, we can all remember a time when we weren’t treated with the attention we craved. Moments where you’d do anything for the person you’re conversing with to give a sign of understanding—of empathy—to validate our feelings, to acknowledge the vulnerable piece of ourselves we’ve entrusted to them is cared for. Nothing is worse when we’re met with blank expressions and dismissive gestures or words. These interactions make us feel small and lonely. And the damage can stay with us.

So what can we do to ensure we’re the listeners we’ve always wanted from others? Being a good listener does take time, energy, and tons of practice. There are easy tips to keep in mind:

1. Show you care by making eye contact and putting away your phone.
2. Patience. Everyone opens up on their time.
3. Ask open-ended questions. Yes/no responses inhibit the flow of conversation.
4. Repeat what you’ve heard. This clarifies any misunderstanding and validates the speaker.
5. Give space. Let the conversation breathe—silent pauses are healthy.

By becoming better listeners, we show care. We become curious about and empathetic towards others, leaving our bubbles—we become a little less lonely.

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