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Put Your Data On The Map

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My day job is currently with a title company and we send our customers lists several times a week of for sale by owner lists and foreclosure lists.  These typically come in a CSV (Excel-readable) file format.  I’m the lucky one to generate these TPS reports and when I look at them, I think, “Drat! If only these spreadsheets weren’t so ugly and non user friendly and organized in a way that made sense.  Maybe if I could easily see these FSBO’s on a map or show an investor where the foreclosures are so we don’t waste gas driving around aimlessly!”  Okay, fine, I don’t say “Drat”.

Mapalist to the Rescue!

I’ll forewarn you, they just got some great publicity, so the site is taking a little bit of a hit at the moment.  But basically, you put your addresses into a Google Docs spreadsheet (you know how to copy and paste, right?)  Below is a map of all of the homes in various states of foreclosure in my county.  Click on the map to see all of the details.  Depressing, yet easy to look at!

It’s SO Easy

It literally took me less than 5 minutes to find the report on our terribly disorganized corporate share drive, copy the data to Google Docs, wait for Mapalist to load, register and go through the whole process.  So simple!  Now I can plan my driving route, see which neighborhoods are busiest, plan my stops during the weekly brokers tour or just look at a pretty map.

What uses can you imagine for this tool in your real estate business?

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Paula Henry

    August 14, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Nick – Cool Tool – great for determining the best areas to check out at a glance.

  2. Kim Wood

    August 14, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    I have been waiting and waiting for something like this! The map our MLS prints is less than desirable – so I look forward to checking this out.

    I don’t think I’ll use it to send out FSBO lists, but arranging Buyer Tours would be great!

    Now if I could input addresses into my GPS and *it* determine the best route to take…I’d be a happier camper! Can you help?

  3. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    August 14, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I *love* this!!! How easy is this! I almost wish this was kept secret!!! lol

    It’s always been complicated mentally organizing addresses and data points and even MORE complicated when having to do data entry. I’ll be tinkering with this, thanks!!!!

  4. Jamey Bridges

    August 14, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Ok, this is pretty sweet! I have been a big fan of Google Maps, but this really makes it easy to integrate data with their application, thanks for sharing.

    I think this will be cool for listing agents too, who want to quickly show all the listings they have in a neighborhood 🙂

  5. Todd

    August 15, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Maplist is cool, but just regular Google Maps supports this too. If you already have a Gmail account, sign in and click “My Maps”. You can even create custom icons for the push pins. After adding all your listings, just copy past the embed code into the side bar of your WordPress blog and that’s it.

  6. Vicki Moore

    August 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Way cool. Thanks. I’m definitely going to use this.

  7. Nick Bostic

    August 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Paula & Lani – I totally agree, to me the best part is the easy visualization of data.

    Kim – sorry, not sure how to import into the GPS yet 🙁

    Jamey – good idea! Maybe have one map of current listings and one of sold?

    Todd – I’m not sure how you can get regular Google Maps to do this, I just spent some time looking into it and didn’t see an option to upload a spreadsheet of addresses directly into Google Maps. The only way I can see to do it is manually, which definitely isn’t very efficient IMHO.

  8. Todd

    August 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    No need to import from Excel! Just type your listing’s address into Gmaps then edit in My Maps. You can also upload GPS data into My Maps ( Take GPS device with you in the car as you drive through neighborhoods where your listings are ) and make a sharable “driving tour”:

    Importing KML or GeoRSS to Your Map

    Once you have created a map, you can import KML, KMZ or GeoRSS data into your map. To do this, create or open a map and click Import.

    https://local.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=68480#import

  9. Rod Rebello

    August 15, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I’ve used a similar free capability at http://www.zeemaps.com. They import a csv file with addresses and related info to create a google map with code to insert into your web page. I’ll have to check out Mapalist too.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Very cool! One more idea I can still from Nick… I love AG, it makes me look like a great instructor 🙂

  11. Michelle

    August 17, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I dinked with this a bit, and I was able to open the title company xls file directly to google docs from gmail, save it and then access it easily from mapalist. but I do know how to copy and paste, just didn’t need to ; ).

  12. Doug Devitre

    August 19, 2008 at 7:42 am

    This is more for those that educate than sell real estate.

    Here is what I did for the top 50 REALTOR Associations in membership: https://www.retechtraining.com/custompages_reports.php?key=g228387

    Forgive the link back to the site… more importantly I wanted to show you how it can work across the country too for real estate educators.

    Has anyone else tried the translation gadget on Google Docs for international clients?. It rocks!!

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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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Social Media

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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