You just became the Mayor of…
If you don’t know what Foursquare is, here’s a brief run down. An app run from your phone, Foursquare allows you to “check-in” to locations in your city (and others if you’re traveling). A “check-in” is like making a public announcement as to your whereabouts. Hey everyone, I’m at Starbucks. Hi friends, you can find me at the Applebee’s on Highway 123. Seems kind of silly if you look at it without any more info. It’s a game. While traveling through your city, you’re checking in, becoming “mayor” (after so many visits, you become Mayor until someone usurps you), and earning badges. Badges are Foursquare’s way of rewarding you for certain milestones. The more badges, the more you’ve done. Each new check-in, entering new places into the Foursquare database, and other things earn you points. See, I told you it was just a stupid game.
Perhaps it’s not though, let’s take a moment and think outside the square. There’s a few things to consider with Foursquare that I’ve come to discover and these little items, make it much more than a game. To make it even better, we can apply it to real estate and our daily business.
Where are you?
Location, location, location. Let’s face it, you’re not always in the office. You’re not always with clients either. Right now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks writing this post. If a client of mine walked into the Starbucks and said hello, I’d stop in a heart beat and enjoy their company for awhile. Random happening, but I’ve had it occur before. We love connecting with clients (and non-clients) in person, it’s (according to most agents I know) the single most important factor in building a strong client base.
So what if you were in the local Starbucks, but your client was next door having a bite to eat. If you knew they were there, would you stop in just to say hello? If they knew you were next door, would they stop in just to say hello? If you’ve been doing your homework and building strong relationships with your clients, I bet the answer was yes to at least one of them. Instead, you’re in Starbucks and your client is next door. No connection made.
Think about what would happen if you’re clients knew where you were and you knew where they were. Sure, you wouldn’t want to go overkill and stalk them throughout the city, but it sure would be nice to be able to have a few more chance encounters on the street.
Who are you?
As you begin appearing all over your city, people will take notice. I have several locals that are now friends with me. We now trade barbs about different places we’re going to take over (being Mayor comes at a price – everyone wants to beat you) and share tips about discounts, things to do, and who has the best pizza in town. We’re socializing. We’re getting to know each other as well, since we often take conversations off of Foursquare and move them to our blogs and places like Twitter. I’m meeting the locals and interacting with them. Real estate 101, no?
Something a little different.
We all like to interact with everyone as we build our real estate businesses, but of course, the real goal is to make sure those acquaintances know we’re Realtors® and we’re there to help them in buying or selling. Foursquare doesn’t really have a way of doing that. Or does it? When people are reading your Foursquare updates, they might know you love to stop into that fabulous Italian restaurant in your town, but do they know what else you do?
Start checking into your office – simple enough, you probably spend a fair bit of time there. But what about checking into subdivisions, listings, title companies, lenders’ offices, etc. Have you thought about all the time you spend in those businesses and locations? With a simple check-in (and add a “shout out” – a short bit of text talking about the place you’re at) you can make sure people remember what it is you do. Staying top of mind is a goal we all share, so why not do it – in a more subtle fashion than ever before.
Checking in to a lender’s? How about “Checking rates with Lender A” as a note? Heading over to the title company? You could say “Heading into a closing on 123 Fake Street. Client is so excited.” New neighborhood you’re investigating? “Have you seen Builder X’s new model homes? They’re gorgeous inside.” Now of course, this is in no way meant to replace all the other check-ins you might do – restaurants, salons, museums, parks, tourist attractions, doctors, stores, and shopping malls. These are an important part of your persona as well. People like to relate to people with common interests. A local friend of mine just noticed I checked in at a gas station across the street from his home. He was excited to see me check-in there as this connects us in a way we weren’t before.
So go ahead play games.
Since Foursquare check-ins literally take about 5 seconds (10 if you type slow), you won’t find yourself sucked into any sort of real time-waster and you might actually have a bit of fun. As well, you’ll be building a database of favorite local spots that you frequent – we all recommend businesses to our clients, there’s little difference to what you would do normally, except that Foursquare gives you a platform to do it on.
photo courtesy of roomjosh
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: CMP.ly 0
Twitter branches out into voice chat – what could go wrong?
(SOCIAL MEDIA) We’re learning more about Twitter’s forthcoming audio chat rooms, but what is Twitter learning about moderation?
Twitter wants you to talk more with more people. Like, actually form words. With your mouth.
In November 2020, the micro-blogging giant announced it’s testing its new Audio Spaces feature, which allows users to create audio-only chat rooms – making it what Wired calls a copycat of the new and buzzy Clubhouse app.
How it works
Here’s what we know about the private beta version, according to Wong: Users create a chat room and can control who is admitted to the group, whether it’s the public, followers, or followees. Group size is currently limited to 10. Members can react with a set set of emojis: “100,” raised hand, fist, peace sign, and waving hand. Spaces conversations are not recorded, but they are transcribed for accessibility. It uses Periscope on the back end.
One thing that’s not clear: The actual name. Twitter’s announcements have been calling it Audio Spaces, but the product’s handle is @TwitterSpaces.
It’s Twitter! What could go wrong?
The big gorilla in the chat room is moderation – as in, how do you keep humans from being terrible on Twitter?
We can all be forgiven for skepticism when it comes to Twitter’s aim to keep Audio Spaces safe(ish). Twitter can be a toxic stew of personal insults and even threats. Interestingly, Twitter is starting its test by inviting users who are often targets: Women and people from marginalized groups. Great idea! Who better to help craft community guidelines?
Requiring platforms to shut down hate speech and violent threats is having a moment, and Clubhouse is already in the controversy mix. Even as invite-only, the app has had some high-profile failures to moderate with threats toward a New York Times reporter and a problem anti-semitic conversation. It seems likely Twitter is paying attention.
Also on the safe(ish) side: The space creator is all powerful and can mute or kick out bad actors. Spaces can also be reported. Then there’s the transcription, which sets Audio Spaces apart from similar apps. Chat transcription was aimed at accessibility but, TechCrunch suggests that might help keep things civil and appropriate if people know their words are being written down. Hmm. Maybe?
It doesn’t appear that there was a groundswell of demand from users, but Audio Spaces at least is something different from the feature pile-on making the social media big dogs start to look the same, as in Twitter’s also-new Fleets, Instagram’s and Facebook’s Stories, Snapchat’s… Snapchat. (See also Instagram’s Reels, Snapchat’s Spotlight, TikTok’s… TikTok.)
Clubhouse does appear to be hugely popular in Silicon Valley – and it has the investment capital to show it – so maybe there’s something to this audio-only chat thing. But we’ve already seen pandemic-fueled Zoom-happy-hour-fatigue, as users have gotten frustrated with too many people talking at the same time. Video chat can give users at least a few more clues about who is talking and who might be about to talk. Audio-only chat seems like it could quickly devolve into a chaotic cacophony.
But, Twitter says, conversation will flow naturally, and it advises users to “be present.”
“Just like in real life, the magic is in the moment,” it says.
It’s beta testers will surely have a lot to say about “magic” and “moderation.”
New Pinterest code of conduct pushes for mindful posting
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media sites have struggled with harmful content, but Pinterest is using their new code of conduct to encourage better, not just reprimands.
It appears that at least one social media site has made a decision on how to move forward with the basis of their platform. Pinterest has created a brand-new code of conduct for their users. Giving them a set of rules to follow which to some may be a little restricting, but I’m not mad about it. In a public statement, they told the world their message:
“We’re on a journey to build a globally inclusive platform where Pinners around the world can discover ideas that feel personalized, relevant, and reflective of who they are.”
The revamp of their system includes 3 separate changes revolving around the rules of the platform. All of them are complete with examples and full sets of rules. The list is summed up as:
- Pinterest Creator Code
- Pinterest Comment Moderation Tools
- Pinterest Creator Fund
For the Creator Code, Pinterest had this to say: “The Creator Code is a mandatory set of guidelines that lives within our product intended to educate and build community around making inclusive and compassionate content”. The rules are as follows:
- Be Kind
- Check my Facts
- Be aware of triggers
- Practice Inclusion
- Do no harm
The list of rules provides some details on the pop-up as well, with notes like “make sure content doesn’t insult,” “make sure information is accurate,” etc. The main goal of this ‘agreement’, according to Pinterest, is not to reprimand offending people but to practice a proactive and empowering social environment. Other social websites have been shoe-horned into reprimanding instead of being proactive against abuse, and it has been met with mixed results. Facebook itself is getting a great deal of flack about their new algorithm that picks out individual words and bans people for progressively longer periods without any form of context.
Comment Moderation is a new set of tools that Pinterest is hoping will encourage a more positive experience between users and content creators. It’s just like putting the carrot before the donkey to get him to move the cart.
- Positivity Reminders
- Moderation Tools
- Featured Comments
- New Spam Prevention Signals
Sticking to the positivity considerations here seems to be the goal. They seem to be focusing on reminding people to be good and encouraging them to stay that way. Again, proactive, not reactive.
The social platform’s last change is to create a Pinterest Creator Fund. Their aim is to provide training, create strategy consulting, and financial support. Pinterest has also stated that they are going to be aiming these funds specifically at underrepresented communities. They even claim to be committing themselves to a quota of 50% of their Creators. While I find this commendable, it also comes off a little heavy handed. I would personally wait to see how they go about this. If they are ignoring good and decent Creators based purely on them being in a represented group, then I would find this a bad use of their time. However, if they are actively going out and looking for underrepresented Creators while still bringing in good Creators that are in represented groups, then I’m all for this.
Being the change you want to see in the world is something I personally feel we should all strive towards. Whether or not you produced positive change depends on your own goals… so on and so forth. In my own opinion, Pinterest and their new code of conduct is creating a better positive experience here and striving to remind people to be better than they were with each post. It’s a bold move and ultimately could be a spectacular outcome. Only time will tell how their creators and users will respond. Best of luck to them.
Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor
(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.
Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.
Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.
The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.
Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.
Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.
The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.
“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.
According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.
An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.
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