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Plancast – Gowalla or Foursquare For the Less Impulsive



A shot in the dark vs. a planned get together

Rather than simply telling everyone, “I’m at Uncle Billy’s BBQ” in a tweet and hoping others are within the area and can show up at the drop of a dime, the new kid on the block is Plancast which allows you to tell your social networks what you plan on doing in the future so others can join in. It’s less of an event planning site and more of an informal tool like Foursquare that allows people to “check in.” Plancast is so new that it doesn’t have its iPhone or mobile apps developed out but word is that they’re working on that.

For me personally, this tool is fantastic because I’m not much of a “drop what I’m doing and go see people” type, I’m more of the “I’ve scheduled out my entire week down to the minute” type, making Plancast conducive and more effective for me and others like me. So if you’re planning on spending Thursday working at Austin Java and wouldn’t mind if others worked with you on their own projects, tell Plancast. If you’re going hiking and would love others to join you on Saturday, tell Plancast. You get the idea, it’s a great way to invite your social network contacts into your offline social life.

Take a look:

Instead of me raving about it, I’ll take you on a photo tour. Enjoy! (…and click any image to enlarge)
Agent Genius is not affiliated with Plancast, Gowalla, Foursquare or Twitter.

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  1. Eric Hempler

    December 2, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Why not just setup an event on your Facebook and invite everyone?

  2. Lani Rosales

    December 2, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Less steps AND easier to populate Twitter with. Also, you can see other peoples’ events rather than just your own making it easy for me to browse and say “omg, Brandie’s coming to a conference in Austin, we should get together” and reach out personally without her having to spam me with a blanket, probably untargeted invitation.

  3. Real Estate Feeds

    December 2, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Plancast – Gowalla or Foursquare For the Less Impulsive: A shot in the dark vs. a planned get together
    Rather tha…

  4. Arjan Muthert

    December 2, 2009 at 9:06 am

    @agentgenius Plancast – Gowalla or Foursquare For the Less Impulsive

  5. Fred Romano

    December 2, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Sounds way to geeky for the avg joe to use. You really plan every minute? I don’t know any agent that does that.

  6. Lani Rosales

    December 2, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Fred, IF you think of it this way…

    untech savvy realtor is least geeky < tech savvy realtor is a little geeky < tech savvy realtor on twitter is more geeky < tech savvy realtor on plancast/foursquare/gowalla is most geeky're probably right. However, I challenge you to think of it as an open invitation to your social network (which should be your pipeline)- I don't plan on using it for every tiny thing I do, but if I want locals to join us, I gently pull them instead of spamming them. So, if I do coffee every Wednesday with my coworking group (freelancers that bring their laptops to a coffee house, work on their own projects but do it in a group), I would put that on Plancast with the implication I'm inviting others.

  7. Portland Condo Auctions

    December 2, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Its like reverse stalking. I dont like people knowing where I am or where I am going to be all the time, so this is not my sort of tool I guess.


  8. Karen Goodman

    December 2, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    There just seems to be a safety issue to me with both of these sites. I am all for connecting with my social networks, but the idea of advertising where I will am (or will be) to total strangers just seems like an open invitation for trouble.

    Instead, turning an event into a tweetup when you know at least one other person you are comfortable with will join you just seems safer.

    • Lani Rosales

      December 3, 2009 at 1:05 am

      Karen, this is why more people will make their Twitter accounts private (not wanting to broadcast publicly where you are or where you are going). Plancast is public however, so I personally won’t be using it to announce family vacation plans or anything rather publicly noting events I’m going to that are open to others or events I am hosting (which is frequent).

      Plancast, Foursquare and Gowalla are no more or less safe than having a public Twitter account.

      • Karen Goodman

        December 3, 2009 at 8:58 am

        I have do disagree with you on the point that these GPS sites that advertise your present location are just as safe as Twitter.

        Twitter doesn’t tell people where I am or will be at any given time. I occasionally chose to announce where I’m having lunch, but otherwise the only times tweet where I am is when I am attending a large group event or will be someplace where a lot of people know me (like my office).

        I know that there is a lot of information out in the cloud about all of us know, but using Foursquare would be like strapping a GPS device to my ankle and announcing it to the world. Using social media tools are great, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use some common sense in regards to safety.

        • Benn Rosales

          December 3, 2009 at 9:59 am

          “Twitter doesn’t tell people where I am or will be at any given time. I occasionally chose to announce where I’m having lunch, but otherwise the only times tweet where I am is when I am attending a large group event or will be someplace where a lot of people know me (like my office).”

          This is exactly what’s been said here, controlling what you put out there, inviting people to where you want to invite them, we do this everyday with Twitvite and other meeting tools, this one is just more personal and strategic to/for you.

          If you say on your public twitter account that you’re at work, I would imagine a smart someone by using the power of search or just watching you for long periods could deduce exactly where you work, has your picture, could follow you whereever you went… (I wont go any further cuz it’s just creepy) is the point she’s making, all of it is “out there” for the world to see- it’s in public, unless you’re private. At least then you have some reasonable right to privacy.

  9. Jason Sandquist

    December 2, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    since joining the other day, already found a few groups/events throughout the city I had no idea that existed that *peaked* my interest that I intend on showing face to ie: start-up groups, general networking groups, wordpress, the list goes on.

  10. Chris

    December 11, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Plancast is evidence that the Internet has moved into another bubble similar to 10 years prior. This is a redundant service that any of the top social services could implement in months. We will see if they survive after the first round of the current buzz for the product

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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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Social Media

Team of deaf engineers at Snap create feature to help users learn ASL

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of ASL.



Snap ASL feature

A team of Deaf and hard-of-hearing Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” at the company have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of American Sign Language.

Using AR Technology, the Lens teaches users to fingerspell their names, practice the ASL Alphabet and play games to “put their new skills to the test.”

The Lens, launched last month, is the first of its kind and encourages users to learn American Sign Language.

In a press release Snapchat said, “For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe AR can help evolve the way we communicate. We look forward to learning more from our community as we strive to continuously improve experiences for everyone on Snapchat.”

Austin Vaday, one of the deaf engineers who helped develop the Lens said helping the world understand sign language is important. He shared his story with NBC correspondent Erin McLaughlin on TODAY after the Lens was released.

Vaday didn’t learn American Sign Language until he was 12. Before then he relied mostly on lip-reading to communicate. ASL changed his life. That life-changing moment helped inspire the ASL Alphabet Lens.

The ASL Alphabet Lens was designed and developed over six months in partnership with SignAll.

There are approximately 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States, according to the National Association of the Deaf.

Vaday said the ASL Alphabet Lens came from the desire to find a way to appropriately and properly educate people so they can communicate with those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Vaday said the team focused on the core values of intelligence, creativity, and empathy while working on the project and it’s a step to opening communication for all Snap users with the deaf and hard of hearing community.

The ASL Alphabet Lens is available to all Snapchat users.

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Social Media

Easily spot if your social media marketing service provider is a con artist

(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional marketing service, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con artist?




In this day and age the cult of positive thinking and “the law of attraction” are still very much alive and well in the business services industry. Here are a few simple questions that you can ask prospective business service providers to help you gauge if they are the real deal or just caught up in the fad of “say yes to everything,” or “outsource everything” being populated online by countless “thought leaders” and cult gurus. Classic con artist.

Lots of people will ask, “What’s the harm of people trying to make something of themselves?”

Well, I’m here to tell you there is huge harm in taking risks with a client’s money and manipulating people into trusting their “expertise” when they have none.

Business owners: Due diligence is more important than ever these days.

There are whole communities of people helping to prop each other up as experts in fields they know nothing about while outsourcing their tasks with little or no oversight into the actual work being done on your behalf.

It is nearly impossible for you to tell if this is even going on. Don’t worry. I am here to help you avoid a con artist.

How? By showing you how to weed out the bad actors by asking really simple questions.

This set of questions is perfect for people who need to distinguish if the expert they are talking to is really just an expert in bullshit with a likable personality.

Why do these questions work? Because people who are into this kind of stuff are rarely hesitant to talk about it when you ask them direct questions. They believe that what they are doing is a good thing and so they are more open to sharing this information with you because they think by you asking that you are also into similar things.

It is a fun little trick I picked up while learning to do consumer polling and political surveying.

The Questions:

    • Who influences you professionally?


    • Do you follow any “thought leaders” “gurus” or coaches? If so, who?


    • What “school” of thought do you ascribe to in your profession, and where do you learn what you know?


    • Are there any industry standards you do not agree with?


    • How do you apply the services you offer to your own company?


    • Can you please tell me the background of your support staff and can I see their CVs?


    • Do you outsource or white label any of the work your company does?


    • May we audit your process before buying your services?


    • May we discuss your proposed strategies with others in your industry to ensure quality?


    • Would you be open to speaking with an independent consultant that is knowledgeable about your industry about your proposals?


    • Can you show me examples of your past successful jobs?


    • Do you have any industry-accepted certifications and how many hours of study do you do in a year to keep your knowledge up-to-date and current?


    • How many clients have you had in the past?


    • How many clients do you have currently?


    • How many clients are you able to handle at one time?


    • How many other clients do you have that are in the same industry as my company?


    • How long is your onboarding process before we start getting down to actually making changes to help solve the issues my company is facing?


    • Can you explain to me the steps you will take to identify my company’s needs?


    • Have you ever taken a course in NLP or any other similar course of study?


    • Have you ever been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing company?

Fun. Right? Well, we aren’t done.

It is not just enough to ask these questions… you have to pay attention to the answers, as well as the WAY they are answering questions.

And you also have to RESEARCH the company after you get your answers to make sure they ring true.

You cannot keep accepting people at face value, not when the risk is to your business, employees, and clients. There is little to no risk for a person who is being dishonest about their capabilities and skillsets. They will walk away with your money, ready to go find another target for a chance meeting that seems amazingly perfect.

Do not leave your business decisions to chance encounters at networking events. Research before saying yes.

No matter how likable or appealing the person you are speaking with is.

How do you research? Easy. THE INTERNET. Look at the website of the company you are considering working with.

    • Does it look professional? (do not use your website as a standard for professionals unless you have had it done by a professional)


    • Can you see a list of their past clients?


    • Do they effectively tell their story as a company or are they just selling?


    • What do their social media profiles look like? Do they have many followers? Are they updated regularly?


    • Do they have any positive reviews on social sites? (Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)


You can also do some simple things like running SEO Website Checkers on their websites. There are tons of these online for free and they will give you a pretty good indicator of if they are using best practices on their websites – you can even do this research on their clients’ websites.

Also, if you know anything about SpyFu, you can run their website through that to see how they are doing their own online marketing (the same can be said for their clients if they are selling this service).

Facebook also has a cool section that shows you ads that a Page is running. You can find this info connected to their business Page as well as the Pages they manage for their clients as well. None of these things automatically disqualify a potential service provider, but their answers to the question of “why” things are the way there are might be very illuminating to you as a business owner.

This may seem like a lot of work, and it can be if you do not do these things regularly and have them down to a system, but the cost of not doing these things is way too high. A con artist is born every day, thanks to the internet.

You have a right as a business owner considering services from a vendor to ask these questions.

They also have the responsibility as a service provider to answer these questions in a professional manner. Sometimes the way in which they answer the questions is far more important than the actual answer.

If all of this seems too overwhelming for you to handle, that is okay.

    • You can ask one of your staff in your company to take on this role and responsibility.


    • You can hire someone to come in and help you with these decisions (and you can ask them all the same questions as above before taking their services).


    • You can reach out to other business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for someone who could help you with things.


    • Heck, you can even call up companies that look like they are doing as well as you want to be doing online and ask them who they are using for their services. Try successful companies in other industries as your competitor won’t likely be interested in sharing their secrets with you…


What is important is that you are asking questions, researching, and ultimately making sure that you are doing as much as possible to ensure making the best decision for your company.

Final thoughts:

“But, Jay, what’s wrong with taking a risk on an up-and-comer?”

The answer to that is NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone. Someone being green doesn’t make them a con artist.

The issue I am raising is in the honest portrayal of businesses and their capabilities. It is about honesty.

I am a huge fan of working with people who are new and passionate about an industry. But I only work with people who are honest with me about who they are, what they can do, and how their processes work.

I have worked with tons of people who are still learning on the job. It can be quite educational for a business owner as well.

Just make sure they are being honest about everything upfront. You are not obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your business’s success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.

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