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I wish more real estate bloggers would use Twitter

From the Editor: published in the earliest days of Twitter, this column is one of the very first written for real estate about Twitter for business – when written, if you weren’t at SXSW, you probably hadn’t heard of Twitter. So when it’s called the “new thing,” know that there are many of us out there who don’t see it as new, rather another business tool.

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Twitter

Twitter

I admit it. I am into the whole social media thing.

Facebook? Check.

LinkedIn? Check.

Twitter? Check.

I am a self-professed information junkie, so I find these sites fascinting. I have also found that they are a great way for me to stay in contact not only with my clients, but with other RE.net bloggers out there. I have met plenty of new bloggers and made some great contacts by using Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter seems to be lacking a significant real estate voice, however. Sure, some of my favorite real estate bloggers have Twitter profiles (Greg, Joel, & Jim among them). The problem is, they don’t update them much, if ever. I think this is a real shame.

The bleeding edge

I started using Twitter a few weeks ago. I admit that I came in with a built-in bias against Twitter. To be honest, I find the stated purpose of Twitter (i.e. “What are you doing?”) pretty lame. I don’t think there are a lot of people out there who really care what I am doing at any given moment. I decided that I would try to follow 5 rules when writing my tweets. I didn’t want things to get boring.

In true Web 2.0-spirit, people have taken Twitter and turned into more than just countless status updates of millions of random people. It is truly a great place to find out what has captured people’s attention. All you have to do is seek out people who you find interesting and follow their tweets. It is a great way to stay on the bleeding edge of news and information.

Twitter has also established itself as a premier micro-blogging platform. It has been great for me because I can post links on Twitter that I find interesting, but that I don’t really have the time or inclination to use an entire blog post to discuss. There are plenty of other notable bloggers out there who are doing the very same thing. Sometimes following the tweets of others has inspired blog posts of my own. At the very least, Twitter has become a platform from which to launch discoveries into all sorts of things that I might have otherwise missed.

Real estate bloggers could benefit tremendously from using Twitter.

The micro-blogging aspect of Twitter could be very valuable to people like real estate bloggers, who I am sure have all kinds of great ideas, but not always the time to write about them. Let’s say that I read a great story about mortgage fraud, but I just don’t have the time to devote a full post to it. I can post the link on Twitter, and perhaps someone else who is following me will follow the link and write a post of their own. Even if that doesn’t happen, because bloggers tend to be more plugged-in to what is happening in the industry, Twitter would help everyone stay on top of the industry by offering instantaneous communication and dissemination of information. In a way, Twitter is a living uber-wiki.

The real estate bloggers that I know are all very smart and creative people. Twitter offers a convenient and efficient way to get their message out to not only the rest of the blogosphere, but also to the public as well. I am also confident that real estate bloggers could also come up with alternative uses for Twitter that would benefit us all, bloggers, clients and customers alike.

So, real estate bloggers, if you are reading this, head on over to Twitter and get going– the RE.net needs you!

I'm a REALTOR, basketball referee, happy husband, and Community Manager (in no particular order). I have a passion for the real estate industry and officiating, a passion that I try to turn into inspiration on my blog, The Real Estate Zebra. I am also the Community Manager at Inman News. When I'm not blogging here on AG or the Zebra, you can usually find me on Twitter.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    October 12, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Okay, you make a great case for twitter, but the problem is, I am having problems with being in all places at all times- every 2.0 idea seems to be the end all be all of the known universe! How in the hell are we supposed to know what is and isn’t worth the effort?! Seriously man, ‘uber’ is insanity!

  2. Daniel Rothamel

    October 12, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Twitter is one of those things that requires very little effort. Like I said, one reason that I like it is that it requires less effort than blogging. I can do either, depending on how involved I want to be.

    By “uber-wiki” I meant that it is superior to your average wiki in that the information is constantly changing on an instantaneous basis. Of course the fact that it isn’t static can be a drawback as well, in that you don’t really have an archive of the information.

    While I don’t think that any of the 2.0 platforms has all the answers, I do think that they can be integrated into a pretty manageable and cool solution. There is a tremendous opportunity for someone to come up with a simple way to integrate all of these things. With Google’s acquisition of Jaiku, and its Orkut social-networking site, it appears as if they might be heading in that direction.

    This year was big for social media sites, and the next few months and years should prove to be even more exciting.

  3. Andy Kaufman

    October 12, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Great post Daniel,

    Twitter is really something that you just need to take the plunge and participate in to fully appreciate.

    I know that we’re inundated with new services left and right, but microblogging is proving to be a rich communication channel where conversations are taking place and relationships are being forged 140 characters at a time.

    In case you’re on the fence and need another nudge, heres another post that I recently came across that may help

    Confessions of a Twitter Convert- https://db.tidbits.com/article/9228

  4. Jay Thompson

    October 12, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I have a Twitter account. I’ve twitted (tweated?) a total of one time.

    But I’ll jump in there this weekend, time permitting, and give it another shot…

  5. Jim Cronin

    October 13, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Disclaimer: from treo… being brief.
    I’m kind of creeped out by twitter, after trying it for a few days.
    and
    I really, really no longer have the time to blast messages that 3 people care to follow…
    Nonetheless…I recognize the potential value of leveraging social media for mindshare.

  6. Chris LaBarbera

    October 13, 2007 at 10:30 am

    You just motivated me to sign up. sww you on twitter.

  7. Chris LaBarbera

    October 13, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I totally mispelled my last comment. See you on Twitter. thanks for the Info about the site.

  8. Daniel Rothamel

    October 13, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Chris & Jay,

    I’ll be following. . .

    Andy,

    Excellent points. I’ll continue to follow. . .

  9. Aria Schoenfelt

    March 20, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Although I signed up for Facebook in it’s early days while I was still in college, I didn’t embrace it until a year or two ago. I don’t want to be left behind with Twitter! Just play with it, you’ll find a format that works for you. Click on my link if you’d like to find me on Twitter.

  10. Jim Gatos

    June 14, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    I’m on twitter but I don’t know what to do with it…

    Kinda feels like I got “assimilated” by “The Borg”…

    and my resistance is futile…

  11. Upstart Agent

    August 8, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    I wish more real estate bloggers used entrecard!

    I don’t know why but I just can’t get into Twitter. It seems so time consuming to me…I suppose it could be worthwhile, but I’m not someone who feels the need to constantly tell people what I’m doing and see what they are doing.

    I am sure I might be missing out on some social networking opportunities that way, it definitely seems like a great way to get a following…

    Hmmm…maybe one of these days 🙂

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Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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