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I Don’t Care About You

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What??

Did he just say that? Does he mean that? Or is he simply using a provocative headline to attract readers, first of all, and to set the mood for the post, the subtle shading and shaping that takes place to elicit specific feelings and the desired response from the audience.

The answer, naturally, is both. Earlier this week I read with interest as someone said a certain post had been written to elicit a certain reaction from the readership. My first thought? No kidding.

Did Hemingway not try to elicit a reaction, to create a mood, with readers of the Old Man and the Sea? Is the Mona Lisa debated ad nauseum accidentally or because da Vinci painted specific elements to cause a great debate that has lasted for centuries?

A blog post may not be a great novel nor an artistic masterpiece but it is art all the same. Well, unless it’s a featured post on Active Rain. (And yes, dear readers, that was gratuitous. Guilty as charged.)

Blogging Inversely Proportional to Work Load

Now to the larger point, for the few who happened to have noticed the silence coming from the Northwest Valley of the Sun. Last week was spent enjoying views such as the one above … the gentle sound of the surf, the splendor of the sun setting into the water (or at least the misty murk hovering above the water), the utter agony of Legoland. Six days with limited e-mail, occasional cell phone service, and very little concern about either situation.

This was in contrast to the sheer panic six weeks ago at the notion of spending nearly a week away from the business, no matter how much a break was needed by my wife, my kids and by me. The market didn’t much care that we needed time away.

In that respect, nothing changed. The market still doesn’t care whether I needed time off. But months of effort including – get this – prospecting via blogging and other Internet channels – led to six transactions in a span of six weeks, including the aforementioned week on the beach.

So now we’re entering July and I’m 40% ahead of plan in sales … and I’m nowhere close to satisfied.

A Child’s View of the World

On the History of Howard Stern broadcast on Sirius satellite, Stern said that when he pulled an 8 share in DC once upon a time he was disappointed. Why? How dare anyone listen to any other share. It should be a 100 share. It was, he said, “a child’s view of the world” but it was his.

It’s also mine to some degree, for better or worse.

And that desire to continually increase my own market share, to not only meet the stretch goals I set for myself but blow them away (not only this year, but next year, and the next, and the next …) has caused me to rethink how my time was spent not so long ago.

Twitter? Not so much …

I could be missing an opportunity. Maybe once the kids are back in school and I have more time to watch Twhirl twirl I’ll get back on. I miss some of the conversations but the conversations weren’t necessarily helping me toward my goals.

Facebook? LinkedIn? I need to get back to the latter and decide once and for all what to do for the former. But until I develop a coherent business strategy with concrete results … sorry.

And my rants?

Well …

Too Busy to Care

I’ve spent far too much time this year worrying about real estate’s snake oil salesmen who don’t sell but will tell you what you need to do to sell, endless cycles of circular arguments, the extreme use of Latin rather than Yiddish or the Fair Housing violation breeding ground that is Trulia Voices.

Do what you will. I don’t care.

Active Rain? Cheap shot aside, the introduction of outside blogs doesn’t mean a great deal to me. Post your content to four different blogs at once. Have a good time. And before I forget, “Great Post!”

Oh. And I don’t care.

Want to hear what’s been more productive? FIFA 2008 for the Playstation 2. Six minute halves and endless frustration trying to learn how to play after the relative ease that was FIFA 2004. Why 6 minutes? Because I can work away any accumulated stress in less than a quarter hour, or roughly two-thirds the time it takes for me to pound out a well-considered rant here on AG or my own blog.

It’s like seven-minute abs, but it’s six! (Bingo, man! And we DON’T guarantee the workout. And we don’t care!)

You can scoff at the thought of a soon-to-be 39-year-old (birthday’s Monday, shop now and beat the crowd … a Wii Fit would be most welcome) spending any time at all playing on the Playstation during business hours. But what I’ve found is sometimes a break can be productive.

Including an extended break from one of my favorite blogs.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Barry Cunningham

    July 3, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Madden 2008 Rules and NCAA 2008 is even better. That’s my secret too..you’re not alone. A good game of Fult-tilt poker works too!

  2. Frank Jewett

    July 3, 2008 at 10:09 am

    While you were standing in line at Legoland (picturing Charleton Heston discovering that legos are made from the cadavers of sunbaked park visitors – “Legos are… PEOPLE!”), Kelley Koehler issued a challenge to . I thought it was a great suggestion.

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    July 3, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Barry – so does WSOP for the PS2.

    Frank – Writing without “i” isn’t nearly as challenging as writing without “e” so I’ll wait for that challenge to be issued.

  4. Danilo Bogdanovic

    July 3, 2008 at 10:48 am

    On the way to show my wife this post so I can justify buying a Wii or PS2…

  5. Dan Green

    July 3, 2008 at 10:59 am

    You’re dreaming of Gorgonzola and it’s Brie Time, Jonathan.

  6. Matthew Rathbun

    July 3, 2008 at 11:00 am

    “I’ve spent far too much time this year worrying about real estate’s snake oil salesmen who don’t sell but will tell you what you need to do to sell, endless cycles of circular arguments, the extreme use of Latin rather than Yiddish or the Fair Housing violation breeding ground that is Trulia Voices.”

    I was JUST writing an article about this issue… Agents are spending too much time trying to argue issues on blogs that have already been argued. Personally if someone has already made the points, I am just moving on.

    As for the rest. The social media stuff has been my stress release for the past 8 months are so, but I am finding that breaks are better. Replaying Gears of War and Swat4 have been helpful 🙂

  7. Jay Thompson

    July 3, 2008 at 11:03 am

    One word: Guitar Hero III on Xbox

    Ok, so that’s 5 words. Or 4. Is “III” a word?

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    July 3, 2008 at 11:08 am

    My father in law just bought guitar hero for the nintendo DS. YOu can’t believe how addicting that is. It’s not as fun as Rock Band with the Drum kit, but it’s pretty cool.

  9. Jay Thompson

    July 3, 2008 at 11:12 am

    “You can’t believe how addicting that is.”

    I bet I can. 😉

  10. Frank Jewett

    July 3, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Frank – Writing without “i” isn’t nearly as challenging as writing without “e” so I’ll wait for that challenge to be issued.

    You can do it if you try, Jonathan. 🙂

  11. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 3, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I just go sailing. No phone, no electronics, no gps, no nuttin except the wind, water and a nice crock of grape juice. That’s when I really don’t care about you. .>)

  12. Jonathan Dalton

    July 3, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Sailing’s a little different there than here, Larry. Lake Pleasant’s nice and all but it’s still 113 degrees in the shade when you’re on the water.

    I need Guitar Hero but then I’d never get the kids off the PS2. Already amazed at how quickly the Wii became passe. Guess it’s because it involves actual motion.

    Frank – I could if I tried but here’s the thing. I get paid by the Associated Press and newspapers around the country to write objectively about sporting events. Could my own blog benefit from a little less I? Possibly. It’s the style of last resort there but after 1,500 posts the well starts to run dry.

    As for what I write here … this is where my writing’s therapeutic. This is where I write about what is on my mind, what I’m going through not because I really believe anyone cares (and I don’t care that they don’t care) but because I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in these feelings, these worries, these concerns and yes, these wonderful moments that come from selling real estate.

    Twitter’s main attraction was discovering there were many, many agents dealing with the same kind of frustrations I was. But then I realized I needed to get away from that because I needed to believe the business could be better than it often seemed. And business picked up once I weened myself off of Twitter … and not just because I was spending time elsewhere because it never was that large a part of my day.

    It’s not worth taking I out of my posts, especially a post like this, because it’s the I that allows many to connect on an emotional level to what’s being said. It’s the difference between reading about Benjamin Franklin in an encyclopedia or reading Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.

  13. Frank Jewett

    July 3, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Jonathan, the follow up was a joke, not a single “e” in it.

  14. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    July 3, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Jonathan, I relate to this very deeply… when I had a health scare this year, lost my little brother last year, when I spend time at Mass, charity events, playing with the kids, etc, nothing inside this computer matters to me.

    That said, if any of you called me today with a crisis, it would become my own, so in that sense I care, but do I care what’s up on the feed reader while LIFE is happening? Nope.

    I need a Wii though…..

  15. Tom at the Real Estate Bloggers

    July 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Jonathan

    I love to see the expression on my kids face when the come into my office and see me playing 1942 Battlefield. Of course my wife’s expression is less than thrilled.

    But when a 12 hour workday is commonplace, taking these mental health breaks is what keeps me going. So kudo’s to you, and best of luck with kicking round balls into twine.

  16. Jonathan Dalton

    July 3, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Frank – the lesson, as always, is I’m an idiot. 🙂

  17. Paula Henry

    July 3, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Anyway you can destress in this business is good and welcomed. Glad you enjoyed your break. Welcome back!

  18. Norm Fisher

    July 3, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    “It should be a 100 share.”

    Hey! Isn’t that anti-competitive? 🙂

    Larry,

    It’s frightening to think of you sailing around the Pacific with a “nice crock of grape juice” and no telephone. Be careful out there.

  19. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 3, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Through all of the deep thought in your post and comments I missed the last sentance about the birthday and gift. Duh!

    HAPPY 39th BIRTHDAY JONATHAN! Have no idea how to say that in Yiddish

    Pls note: no prezzies for non caring old buzzards. .>)

    #18
    @ Norm,

    Phone messes up the compass. Not that it matters I don’t have a plan or destination. One of the benefits of grape juice. .>)

  20. Kris Berg

    July 4, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Dude, you can write!

    Happy Birthday, you old dawg.

  21. Jonathan Dalton

    July 4, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Don’t know about Yiddish, Larry … Hebrew’s something like yom haleded sameach.

    And thanks!

    And Kris, I still can’t write even a quarter as well as you can. Just sickening. 🙂

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Social Media

Facebook’s Hobbi app was a complete flop

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seemingly has enough money to throw away projects and apps they know will fail. Hobbi is their most recent flop.

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Facebook failed Hobbi

Due to its abysmal underperformance on the App Store, Facebook is killing their new app, Hobbi, just months after its rollout in February.

Hobbi was the brainchild of Facebook’s New Product Experimentation Team, whose stated purpose is to rapidly ideate, build, and launch experimental new apps – then pull them if they aren’t successful.

Hobbi was designed to help users document their progress on their various personal projects and, well, hobbies. Complaints centered primarily on its threadbare feature offerings. Notably, Hobbi does not allow its users to browse the works of other creators through the app- it only packages media like photos and videos for sharing elsewhere.

A post on the Tech@Facebook blog states that they “expect many failures” from the NPE Team, suggesting that Hobbi was not necessarily intended to last. But you have to wonder… what is supposed to be the point of a tool like this?

Stories are a popular feature on most major social media websites, including Facebook itself. And Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) already allows its users to curate and group posts about whatever they want, including personal projects, hobbies and interests, through their story highlights.

So Facebook created a product that was already made redundant by their existing properties. What is experimental about that, exactly?

Hobbi originally drew comparisons to Pinterest. Both are like digital scrapbooks; Pinterest is a platform for content that inspires creativity, and Hobbi creates progress reports for creative undertakings.

One could also compare Hobbi to the underperforming video streaming platform, Quibi, which recently became infamous for its ostentatious ad campaign, aggressively flaunted celebrity cameos, and ultimately, its overwhelming failure.

Jeffery Katzenberg, Quibi cofounder of Disney and Dreamworks fame, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for Quibi’s flop – a questionable claim, considering just how much free time many have had to binge Netflix’s Tiger King during the lockdown.

The same could be said about Hobbi. People have been taking on projects like crazy in the time that has Hobbi been on the market. Quarantine cabin fever has us baking, crafting, painting, cleaning, and redecorating like never before. Yet Hobbi went nearly untouched.

Nobody used it because nobody needed it. Surely some cursory research would have demonstrated this?

One conclusion is that the app itself was the research – that Facebook’s NPE team isn’t really creating finished products, but rather testing the waters for potential new ones. (Could this framing be an elegant form of damage control, though? It’s easier to say “I meant to do that!” than it is to admit failure, especially in business.)

Still, creating throwaway apps in a bloated industry feels like cheating, whether it was meant for research purposes or not. There are plenty of indie app developers who create great tools with way less funding. Filling app marketplaces with lemons makes it harder for folks to find those gems.

Either way, hopefully we will see some original ideas coming from Facebook’s NPE Team moving forward, because this was clearly a disappointment.

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Social Media

Can Twitter ever secure data privacy, like even once?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter releases private information affecting already hurting businesses, should this even be a surprise anymore? They have a history of privacy breaches.

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twitter privacy

Dear Twitter,

I don’t know if you’ve seen the news within the past two years, but Facebook’s been under continuous scrutiny for privacy malpractices that affected millions of its users, so unless your goal is to be the next social network to infringe upon our first amendment right to privacy, I suggest you GET IT TOGETHER!

Over the weekend, users, specifically businesses, realized their billing information was being stored in their browsers cache. This is devastating news for business owners who rely on Twitter to promote their product, or stay in touch with their customers, who over the recent months have already faced monumental challenges. It is hard as a business owner to not feel this is an intentional overreach of privacy.

In an age where we have actual robots to vacuum our floors, and 3D printing, I speak for the people when I say this is unacceptable.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been caught privacy breaching. A little over a year ago, Twitter announced that they were fixing a bug, many weren’t even aware of, that released phone numbers, location, and other personal data. AND GET THIS, even those who selected the option to keep their information private were affected, so what the hell is the point of asking us our preference in the first place?!!!

What about the time that Twitter accounts could be highjacked by ISIS and used to spread propaganda? All because Twitter didn’t require an email confirmation for account access. Or what about when Twitter stored your passwords in plaintext instead of something easily more secure. Flaws like these show a distinct ability of Twitter to just half ass things; to make it work, but not think about how to keep the users safe.

Like I said in the beginning, get it together Twitter.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Forecast wants ‘qualified’ predictions, but no one’s asking why

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is asking a bunch of so-called experts to chime in on what the future holds, but can we trust them with the information we’re giving them?

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Forecast app

These days, trolls don’t necessarily lurk beneath bridges in order to ensnare unsuspecting travelers. Instead, they hide out in the comment sections on social media posts, ready to incite wrath and stir up controversy with their incendiary remarks. Because Facebook knows how quickly reasonable discourse can quickly devolve thanks in part to these online trolls, they’ve made a move to establish intelligent discussions through their new “Forecast” app.

The premise of Forecast is fairly straightforward. Facebook has invited an assortment of so-called experts (whether they work in the medical field or academia, or some other field) to cast their vote on predictions about the future. Not only will they share their vote, though, they’ll also pitch in their own two cents about these predictions, sparking what is expected to be insightful and reasonable conversation about the topics.

However, while the premise is exciting (smart people! not basement dwellers! talking about serious stuff!), there’s more than a small amount of risk associated with Forecast. For starters, what exactly is Facebook planning on doing with all of this information that is being volunteered on their app? And secondly, are they going to take precautions to help prevent the spread of misinformation when these results are eventually published?

The fact is, Facebook is notorious for propagating and spreading misinformation. Now, I’m not blaming Facebook itself for this issue. Rather, the sheer volume of its user base inevitably leads to flame wars and dishonesty. You can’t spell “Fake News” with at least a couple of the same letters used in Facebook. Or something like that. The problem arises when people see the results of these polls, recognize that the information is being presented by these hand-picked experts, and then immediately takes them at face value.

It’s not so much that most people are simple minded or unable to think for themselves; rather, they’re primed to believe that the admittedly educated guesses from these experts are somehow better, smarter, than what would be presented to them by the average layperson. The bias is inherent in the selection process of who is and isn’t allowed to vote. By excluding everyday folks like you and me (I certainly wasn’t given an invite!), undue prestige may be attributed to these projections.

At the moment, many of these projections are silly bits of fluff. One question asks, “Will Tiger King on Netflix get a spinoff season?” Another one wonders, “Will Mulan debut on Disney+ at the same time as or instead of a theatrical release?” But other questions? Well, they’re a little more serious than that. And speculating on serious issues (such as COVID-19, or the presidential election) can lead to the spread of serious — and potentially dangerous — misinformation.

Facebook has implemented very strict guidelines about what types of questions are allowed and which ones are forbidden. That, at least, is a step in the right direction. It’s no secret that expectation can actually lead to the predicted outcomes, directly influencing actions and behaviors. While it’s too early to tell if Forecast will ever gain that much power, it undoubtedly puts us in a position of wondering if and when intervention may be necessary.

But I’ll be honest with you: I don’t exactly trust Facebook’s ability to put this cultivated information to good use. Sometimes a troll doesn’t have to be overtly provocative in order to be effective, and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see someone in a position of power exploit the results of these polls to influence the public. It’ll be interesting to see if Forecast is still around in the next few years, but alas, there’s no option for me to submit my vote on that to find out.

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