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Twitter’s Set Up- What Next?



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Twitter is easier than it looks

In Part One of the Twitter Tools series, you learned how to set up your Twitter account. So you have a user name and you have a few “twitfriends.” Now what? Now you start “twittering” by entering messages under 140 characters describing what you’re thinking, reading, doing, or blogging.

Why does anyone care what I’m doing?

Sure, some people won’t care that you’re at Starbucks or that you’re reading about Castro stepping down or that Carlton Banks invented the atmosphere. Those people will choose not to follow you (or you’ll target your “twittering”), but those that stick in there with you will comment back and you’ll instantly feel like you’re at happy hour! This is a great conversational tool to share ideas- others will attest to this in the comments.

Why is twittering considered microblogging?

In Part One, Teresa reminded new Twitterers that all of your “tweets” (messages under 140 characters) are indexed by Google which means that they are cataloged and will show up in Google search, so be cautious of what you say publicly. If you have the need to tell someone something that is private, you have the ability to do so (we’re getting to that). It’s called microblogging because you’re logging your opinions and actions in sequential order.

Remember, this is a conversational tool, so people are often silly in this venue- it is not a hard sell. Touch as many people as you can in a *meaningful* not insincere way (sound familiar? Yep, it’s also called blogging but now, we’re microblogging).

What do all these symbols mean?

“@” is put in front of another user’s name to notify them that you are responding to their update or you are addressing your update directly to them. If the addressed user is using a Twitter application (program used to use and interact with Twitter- don’t worry, we’ll go over that in the next Twitter Tools), they will see what you’ve written to them in a different color so it stands out.

A “d “ is put in front of another user’s name to send them a direct, private message that other users can’t see. I use this for confidential information or private thoughts or if maybe my curse word isn’t appropriate for the public. (Note: there must be a space after the lowercase d and the username for this to work. Test it before you broadcast information, okay?)

When you are using (and you haven’t gotten ahead of the rest of us by downloading an application) and typing your updates directly into your web browser, you will see at the end of every message a star. If you click that it makes it a “favorite” and is cataloged separately. On other users’ twitter home pages, you can click the word “favorites” on the right and find things they’ve set aside as their favorite individual tweets. I use this to separate the most hilarious things I’ve heard on Twitter but I have yet to really employ this feature.

“Hash tags” are simply inserting the # sign before a word and is used as a tagging method to add context to your data. Hash tags were developed before Twitter had no tracking or grouping functions, so I’ll leave it to someone in the comments to add *why* hash tags are useful, given the advent of new Twitter tools that automate this which is why I don’t mess with hashtags.

What is a “nudge?” It is a reminder you can set up to text you on your phone if you haven’t updated your Twitter status in over 24 hours. I don’t have it set up because I’m obviously ON Twitter in the background of my work almost every day.

Okay, I get it!

So stay in touch, make new friends, learn new things and grow your network with Twitter now that you’ve set up your account and you now know the basic language. Next, we’ll learn about which programs make Twitter easier to use- see, you’re already light years ahead of many many many people across the globe!

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Mark

    February 19, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    I can tell you hashtags are used to create “channels” on Twitter, but that’s about all I know. The usefulness of using hashtags/creating channels will probably grow as more people start doing it, and as more sites start tracking hashtag usage i.e. and

  2. Andy Kaufman

    February 20, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Another great post Lani.

    Hey, let’s include our twitter url’s in our comments here so that people that find us when they’re first getting started


  3. Andy Kaufman

    February 20, 2008 at 12:10 am

    @mark – Not to hate on hashtags, but i’m not sure that they’ll will ever catch on.

    Terraminds publishes RSS feeds for each search generated and if you take those feeds and run them through a Y! pipe to clean em up, there’s your channel right there. am i missing something?

  4. Andy Kaufman

    February 20, 2008 at 12:12 am

    whoops, I was going to link to an earlier post of mine when I created a channel for the Inman ConnectNYC confernece –

  5. Dale Chumbley

    February 20, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Great post Lani,
    This will help those not on yet to get familiar with it pretty quick. Some of “old timers” might even learn a thing or two. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
    Take care,

  6. Robert D. Ashby

    February 20, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Following Andy’s suggestion…

  7. Jeff Brown

    February 20, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Anyone figured out how to make any bank on Twitter yet?

  8. Benn Rosales

    February 20, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Yeah, set to close the 26th.

  9. Jeff Brown

    February 20, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Made an ‘over/under’ bet with myself on how long you’d take to show up. I said 4 hours — a winner! 🙂

    It figures, Benn figures out how to convert it to his bottom line before I find out whether to capitalize the ‘T’ or not. 🙂

    I know how incredibly busy you are. Most of us, as I say so often, lead the same lives. How much time would you say Twitter requires from your daily routine? I’m not comparing time vs commissions as I know you wouldn’t apply it if the ROI wasn’t to your liking. It just seems to be fairly time consuming.

    As your readers can see, my ignorance on some of these new things (some?) might indeed be bottomless. 🙂

  10. Benn Rosales

    February 20, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    It’s funny, I had this exact conversation yesterday- I have a secret weapon I will not reveal here. I’ll guide the heard to water, but I’m not going to get into teaching them how to drink. We all know that how we actually use the tools will be as unique as our faces.

    As for ROI: look at it this way

    7% conversion on mail marketing looks like $80K
    4% conversion of online social marketing looks like $40K
    am I scoffing at the $40? no, I’m cashing the check.

    If my weapon costs me $30k a year part time, am I thinking full time implementation of the weapon? You bet. I’m absolutely methodical in everything I do.

    Yes vague, but yes, I see an upside. So to really answer your question. I automate the updating of content- socially fooling around with social media, about 4 hours a week or less. Most is transacted by phone at lunch, an hour around dinner time, and a hit and miss in the evening.

    Jeff, if you want to know if I think facebook, and twitter are for your business, can I see an upside for you knowing your business as I do? The answer is yes for you more than any other niche I know.

  11. Jeff Brown

    February 20, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Very intriguing — now I’m buying big time when next in Austin. Thanks so much.

  12. Hi, I'm Jeff Turner And I Use Twitter

    February 20, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    “I’ll guide the heard to water, but I’m not going to get into teaching them how to drink. We all know that how we actually use the tools will be as unique as our faces.”

    And teaching someone how to use a hammer and nail doesn’t make them a carpenter.

  13. irina Netchaev

    February 21, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Lani, I’m slowly navigating and learning twitter. Thanks for the post. It’s very helpful!

  14. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    February 21, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Irina what is your twitter username? We’d love to all get to know you! 🙂 Glad to be of help- we’ll be writing more about Twitter coming up!

  15. irina Netchaev

    February 21, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Lani, my twitter name is PasadenaViews. Can’t wait for more posts. 🙂 THANKS!

  16. Mariana

    February 24, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I am still learning more about Twitter everyday. THank you. I never knew about the “d” function. Nice!

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Disputing a property’s value in a short sale: turn a no into a go

During a short sale, there may be various obstacles, with misaligned property values ranking near the top, but it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker!



magic eight ball

magic eight ball

It’s about getting your way

Were you on the debate team in high school? Were you really effective at convincing your parent or guardian to let you do things that you shouldn’t have been doing? How are your objection-handling skills? Can you flip a no into a go?

When working on short sales, there is one aspect of the process that may require those excellent negotiation or debate skills: disputing the property value. In a short sale, the short sale lender sends an appraiser or broker to the property and this individual conducts a Broker Price Opinion or an appraisal, using special forms provided by the short sale lender.

After this individual completes the Broker Price Opinion or the appraisal, he or she will return it to the short sale lender. Shortly thereafter, the short sale lender will be ready to talk about the purchase price. Will the lender accept the offer on the table or is the lender looking for more? If the lender is seeking an offer for a lot more than the one on the table, mentally prepare for the fact that you will need to conduct a value dispute.

Value Dispute Process

While each of the different short sale lenders (including Fannie Mae) has their own policies and procedures for value dispute, all these procedures have some things in common. Follow the steps below in order to conduct an effective value dispute.

  1. Inquire about forms. Ask your short sale lender if there are specific forms that you need to complete in order to conduct a value dispute. Obtain those forms if necessary.
  2. Gather information. Your goal is to convince the lender to accept the buyer’s offer, so you need to demonstrate that your offer is in line with the value of the property. Collect data that proves this point, such as reports from the MLS, Trulia, Zillow, or your local title company.
  3. Take photos. If there are parts of the property that are substandard and possibly were not revealed to the lender by the individual conducting the BPO, take photos of those items. Perhaps the kitchen has no flooring, or there is a 40-year old roof. Take photos to demonstrate these defects.
  4. Obtain bids. For any defects on the property, obtain a minimum of two bids from licensed contractors. For example, obtain two bids from roofers or structural engineers if necessary
  5. Write a report. Think back to high school English class if necessary. Write a short essay that references your information, photos, and bids, and explains how these items support your buyer’s value. This is not something that you whip up in five minutes. Spend time preparing a compelling appeal.

It is entirely possible that some lenders will not be particularly open-minded when it comes to valuation dispute. However, more times than not, an effective value dispute leads to short sale approval.

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Short sale standoffs: how to avoid getting hit

The short sale process can feel a lot like a wild west standoff, but there are ways to come out victorious, so let’s talk about those methods:



short sales standoff

short sales standoff

What is a short sale standoff?

If you are a short sale listing agent, a short sale processor, or a short sale negotiator then you probably already know about the short sale standoff. That’s when you are processing a short sale with more than one lien holder and neither will agree to the terms offered by the other. Or… better yet, each one will not move any further in the short sale process until they see the short sale approval letter from the other lien holder.

Scenario #1 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they will proceed with the short sale, and they will offer Bank 2 a certain amount to release their lien. You call Bank 2 and tell them the good news. Unfortunately, the folks at Bank 2 want more money. If Bank 1 and Bank 2 do not agree, then you are in a standoff.

Scenario #2 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they cannot generate your approval letter until you present them with the approval letter from Bank 2. Bank 2 employees tell you the exact same thing. Clearly, in this situation, you are in a standoff.

How to Avoid the Standoff

If you are in the middle of a standoff, then you are likely very frustrated. You’ve gotten pretty far in the short sale process and you are likely receiving lots of pressure from all of the parties to the transaction. And, the lenders are not helping much by creating the standoff.

Here are some ideas for how to get out of the situation:

  • Go back to the first lien holder and ask them if they are willing to give the second lien holder more money.
  • Go to the second lien holder and tell them that the first lien holder has insisted on a maximum amount and see if they will budge.
  • If no one will budge, find out why. Is this a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan? If so, they have a maximum that they allow the second. And, if you alert the second of that information, they may become more compliant.
  • Worst case: someone will have to pay the difference. Depending on the laws in your state, it could be the buyer, the seller, or the agents (yuck). No matter what, make sure that this contribution is disclosed to all parties and appears on the short sale settlement statement at closing.
  • In Scenario #2, someone’s got to give in. Try explaining to both sides where you are and see if one will agree to generate their approval letter. If not, follow the tips provided in this Agent Genius article and take your complaint to the streets.

One thing about short sales is that the problems that arise can be difficult to resolve merely because of the number of parties involved—and all from remote locations. Imagine how much easier this would be if all parties sat at the same table and broke bread? If we all sat at the same table, then we wouldn’t need armor in order to avoid the flying bullets from the short sale standoff.

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Short sale approval letters don’t arrive in the blink of an eye

Short sale approval letters may look like they’ve been obtained simply by experts, but it takes time and doesn’t just happen with luck.



short sales

short sale approval

Short sale approval: getting prepared, making it happen

People always ask me how it is that I obtain short sale approval letters with such ease. The truth is, that while I have more short sale processing and negotiating experience than most agents and brokers, I don’t just blink my eyes like Jeannie and make those short sale approval letters appear. I often sweat it, just like everyone else.

Despite the fact that I do not have magical powers, I do have something else on my side—education. One of the most important things than can lead to short sale success for any and all agents is education.

Experience dictates that agents that learn about the short sale process
have increased short sale closings.

Short sale education opportunities abound

There are many ways to become educated about the short sale process and make getting short sale approval letters look easy to obtain. These include:

  • Classes at your local board of Realtors®
  • Free short sale webinars and workshops
  • The short sale or foreclosure specialist designations

As the distressed property arena grows and changes, it is important to always stay abreast of policy changes that may impact how you do your job and how you process any short sale that lands on your plate.

The most important thing to do is to read, read, read. Follow short sale specialists and those who blog about short sales on AGBeat, Google+, facebook, and twitter. Set up a Google Alert for the term ‘short sale’ and you will receive Google’s top short sale picks daily in your email inbox. Visit mortgagor websites to read up on their specific policies and procedures.

Don’t take on too much

And, when you get a call from a prospective short sale seller, make sure that you don’t bit off more than you can chew. Agents in most of America right now are clamoring for listings since we are in the midst of a listing shortage. But, if you are going to take on a short sale, be sure that it is a deal that you can close. And, if you have your doubts, why not partner up with a local agent that can mentor your and assist you in getting the job done? After all, half a commission check is better than none!

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