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AdvertisingAge Insults the Intelligence of Social Medians




Of Note

The following article has nothing to do with real estate, but I have long encouraged real estate agents to study marketing publication Advertising Age to improve their business, therefore, given today’s events, I have a need to distance myself from this type of blatant disregard for fact and for insulting religious bashing.

Twitter Socialism

Today’s Advertising Age article entitled “The Coming End of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook Socialism,” author Simon Dumenco reveals an offensive amount of ignorance and uses a misinformed point of view to make what could have been an incredible point.  Dumenco aims to convince readers that the millions of dollars pumped into revenue-less models like Twitter equates to socialism and I can’t say I disagree.

SO what’s the problem?

In an era of the informed consumer, journalistic disgrace is easier to spot and for years, columnists have gone unchecked, until now. Now, I can research anything a columnist says as fact or fiction and when fiction is expressed either as opinion or as fact, it is insulting to the social media audience who is not only well informed, but is prepared to talk about misinformation they are being force fed.

After reading Dumenco’s article for the seventh time, I couldn’t get past several of his assertions, let’s see if you can pin point the problem in this excerpt:

“Last week, according to the Times of London, Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland told the country’s Catholics to ‘Make someone the gift of a prayer through text, Twitter or e-mail every day. Such a sea of prayer is sure to strengthen our sense of solidarity with one another.’

Oh, my. That’s a nice sentiment, but Twitter really doesn’t need more users around the world tweeting in ways that can never be monetized.”

Did you catch that last line? Users “tweeting in ways that can never be monetized” is a bad thing? Oh, forgive us all for using a social network to NETWORK SOCIALLY. I guess Dumenco’s Twitter timeline which consists of nothing more than links to what he’s reading at the moment is superior to being social (aka having a dialogue) in a social network.

It gets worse…

Dumenco opined with his last statement and that’s fine, we’re all entitled to our own opinion- he’s against non-monetized tweets (although I’m not clear how he has monetized his own). But he goes on to say:

Fortunately, given how retro-conservative Pope Benedict is, he seems more likely to issue a papal encyclical condemning Twitter. We all know it’s more likely to enable sin — pride! sloth! — than piety.

This is the point in the article where I was insulted. Forget the religious implications, this journalist clearly doesn’t know his facts and like I said- in the era of the informed consumer, that’s the cardinal sin of journalism.

Know your facts before you speak

The Vatican has always embraced technology, dating back to pamphlet distribution at early onset of print publication, to the Vatican Radio station launch in 1931 all the way to modern web technologies. The Pope publicly said in 2006 that technology should be embraced to “spread the good news” and has had live broadcasts of his addresses for years. SInce launching the Vatican YouTube channel in January, 159 videos are already uploaded and Pope Benedict encourages others to use social media to network around common human interests, to support others and to do good works through social networking.

In January, Pope Benedict said, “I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity. These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavour to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.” That’s a far cry from condemnation.

Insulting our intelligence is never a good idea

This faux pas could have been equally offensive even if written about Budism, Hinduism, the Muslim faith, etc…. aside from the religious implications, as a columnist, Dumenco’s job is to know better than to shoot his mouth off without understanding the words being used or having any facts to back up his opinion. I’ve unsubscribed from Advertising Age which before today I believed to be one of the best resources available for marketing data and analysis.

The aforementioned article is extremely offensive, and a Cardinal’s words of hope was twisted into an ignorant, misinformed assumption that is unbecoming of a “journalist.” The Palin bashing was tolerable, but Dumenco could have skipped the entire anti-Catholic sentiment and made an excellent point without it.

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. Dennis Fassett

    May 4, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    You certainly touched a nerve with me on this one. Thanks for setting the record straight!

  2. Chris Bailey

    May 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t think Mr. Dumenco could ever be confused for a journalist. I’m not even sure he’d profess to be one. But where we seem to be going these days in media is to give loud-mouthed, over-opinionated individuals a very public soapbox in which to yell whatever they want. That’s likely to never change…and interesting that he has so many true-believers commenting on his post.

    Unfortunately, we live in a world where provocative claptrap beats out in-depth dialogue 5 to 1 in national taste-tests.

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    May 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    This one touches two separate nerves with me – one is the fact that Dumenco is getting link love and traffic and we know Trolls need to be ignored – the second is ignorance and assumptions (there is NO room for either in my book). I think opinion is fine, but he certainly crossed the line. Thanks for letting me know about Pope Benedit’s opinion on our digital genration, I had no clue.

  4. Clint Miller

    May 4, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Ive never followed this author or the publication itself…Nor do I intend to after reading this article.

    I dont find fault with opinion, but this is just way out of control. And, personally, this type of ignorance is repugnant.

  5. Ad Observer

    May 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    In the article, Dumenco does take the marketing of social media to a ridiculous extreme. But the fact is that Facebook, Twitter and the like were created in the hopes of making money, not as a “gift to humanity.” And while it isn’t up to individual users to “monetize” their posts, it is up to social media companies to figure out how to make a profit. If they don’t, eventually they will end up in financial straits just like newspapers. And unsubscribing from AdAge because of a perceived slight is cutting off your nose to spite your face. You don’t have to agree with the columnist, but unsubscribing will cut you off from “one of the best resources available for marketing data and analysis.”

  6. Lani Rosales

    May 4, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Ad Observer,

    I’ve already addressed your points in my article, but what I have not covered is (1) that I read a large number of trade publications for marketing and advertising, so I won’t be missing anything other than misinformation. (2) the only part of a slight that could be perception on my part is whether or not the author is coming from an anti-Catholic point of view but the fact remains that he misstated fact. Period. That has nothing to do with my perception.

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    May 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Go get ‘im!

    Look, the social media tools that many churches have begun utilizing has opened up a significant access portal to share with people.

    Creating personal relevance and connection should be the foundation of any group, especially faith-based groups.

    All that aside, taking shots at religious groups and assuming that social media interaction is designed to make the user money, just shows the irrelevance of his opinion to what we do.

    Just the narrative that you shared is cause enough for me to disqualify the magazine as relevant.

  8. BawldGuy

    May 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Lani — The fact you unsubscribed due to the piece in question is at best secondary to the post’s bottom line: Opinion is opinion, fact is fact, and dressin’ up the former to appear as the later is what got Dan Rather and company drummed out of the club.

    It’s OK to make a mistake, it’s OK to voice an opinion, even a moronic one. But when the main house you wish to construct is built upon a foundation of sand, all that flows from it is effluent by definition.

    The real offense, at least from where I sit, is when the point would’ve been of real intrinsic value to the reader/recipient, but is lost due to the effluent used in its delivery. Readers shouldn’t have to brave a long walk through sewage to get to the gold. Know what I mean, Verne?

  9. Missy Caulk

    May 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    In January, Pope Benedict said, “I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity. These technologies are truly a gift to humanity and we must endeavour to ensure that the benefits they offer are put at the service of all human individuals and communities, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.”

    Of course every generation has used whatever means of communicating the “Good New” in an appropriate culturally relevant manner.

    Must be anti-catholic or religious in general.

  10. Anonymous

    May 4, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    It’s clear that Simon Dumenco doesn’t “get” Twitter, and he is attacking it in the snooty way he is used to attacking everything from his perch as a columnist. I think readers have always called B.S. on shoddy reporting or unsupported opinions, but in the past, they were unable to spread the truth to the masses. What Dumenco doesn’t understand, at his peril, is that people will use Twitter, which he pretty much scoffs at, to spread the truth about his bigotry and falsehoods.
    Monetize that.

  11. Joe Loomer

    May 6, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Kudos to you Lani for taking this stand. Lost in his anti-religious sentiment is the simple fact that more religious channels have popped up online and via cable in the last four years than the sum of all channels prior to 2005. People want to hear the Good News in a format they enjoy.

    As a Christian (Methodist), I enjoy the contemporary service at my place of worship – and just two weeks ago our pastor led in to his sermon with a YouTube video of Susan Boyle’s amazing voice. If Dumbenco (sp?) choses to insult the monster under the bed, he does so at his peril.

  12. Pam Buda

    May 6, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I can fully appreciate the level of comments on Dumencos’ casting of aspersions on the Pope–it was more than truly unfortunate and poorly informed to say the least a very cheap shot. I remember hearing of the Pope’s comments at the time and finding them very interesting.

    But he raises very interesting questions in the rest of the article which are being discussed throughout the business world..namely the lack of a business model for Twitter and most social media sites.

    Right now these companies are surviving on venture capital investments as they pile up members but they lack a clear way to become self-sustaining businesses.

    They are not non-profits– their most likely path to survival in the long term is probably going to be to be acquired by Google, or Apple or someone else. It is the same problem being faced by the news media and entertainment worlds. People are finding value but not having to pay for the value they find. Just saying, something has to give at some point.

  13. Brandon

    May 6, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Just as Mr. Dumenco threw you off with his statements, you have done to me by quitting Ad Age. How you can praise the publication so strongly in one sentence, and then completely dump it in another is beyond me, and unfortunately makes me think you are not a level headed individual. If it’s no big loss to stop reading Ad Age, then don’t pretend it was a major factor in your life beforehand.

  14. Lani Rosales

    May 6, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Brandon, I’m sure you read the entire article, most notably where I explained that it’s important to me to distance myself from AdAge because I have publicly recommended and endorsed them. It’s unfortunate that a single writer can cause something like this, but it only takes one captain to sink a ship.

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.



Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.



Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?


Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.



social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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