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Reputations Are Crucial




I received an email from my friend Chris Griffith the other day talking about on-line reputations, right after I had read an interesting post by Australian Social Media consultant Laurel Papworth   with the chart you see above. I really liked the chart, and was planning on using it in a Social Media presentation I’m giving next week , and I thought the chart did a great job of explaining how reputation attracts consumers by building trust. The topic wasn’t (in my small mind) specifically real estate related so I wrote a quick post about it on another one of my blogs.  

To me it was a common sense type of thing so I really didn’t think much about it until this morning when I was on Facebook. As I was poking around I noticed one of my friends had joined Social Media Today. The name of the group was vague enough to make me look, so I went to see what was what – and lo and behold I found a study that actually quantifies the points made in my post and Laurel’s chart.

I love Being Right

When I read the article, I got really happy. I believe that there is a huge difference between what you thinknd what you know and as a result, I try to be careful to differentiate between opinion and fact. But when I saw Laurel’s chart, combined it with my own feelings about reputation and my experience as an employer, I knew  that being careful about how you manage your on-line reputation was an important thing for everyone to think about.

Through the magic of three stages of separation, I found a Facebook link to Social Media Today where there was a post about an article in Computerworld, quoting a survey performed by (Its only a couple of clicks to go a long way in the virtual world).

The Computerworld article provided empirical evidence based on a study of 31,000 employers conducted by In the study they found that reviewing Social Networks as part of the hiring process had doubled amoung this group in the past 2 years.

According to the article, these managers are using the social networks to find the following information;

  1. Information about alcohol or drug use (41% of managers said this was a top concern)
  2. Inappropriate photos or information posted on a candidate’s page (40%)
  3. Poor communication skills (29%)
  4. Bad-mouthing of former employers or fellow employees (28%)
  5. Inaccurate qualifications (27%)
  6. Unprofessional screen names (22%)
  7. Notes showing links to criminal behavior (21%)
  8. Confidential information about past employers revealed by the prospective hire (19%)

Our potential employers, employees, associates, customers, and clients all have the same ability to check our backgrounds, and may be even more likely to do so than this group of management folks. Therefore it is imperative that we be aware of the consequences of posting things that may seem innocuous to us , but might be negative (or even offensive) to someone else,

MySpace and Facebook created a special club for the early adopters, but that’s all changed now. The good part about the phenomenon of Social Networking is that it has grown immensely, but with that growth grew a diverse audience, and the potential for unintended consequences if we don’t think before we type.

A Word to the Wise

So from the people who brought us the immortal phrases “Don’t Drink and Dial”  and “Don’t drink and Tweet” we have the new cliche “Think Before You Post” . Chose the information you want to share in the Social Networks carefully, remembering that you never know who is going to be reading it, and for what purpose.

Those of us who read and write in the Blogiverse have learned (sometimes painfully) that stuff you post on the Internet seems to be forever and that caution is indicated. But when we are young, invincible and immortal, we sometimes forget that the importance of thinking ahead.  No 20 year old getting a tattoo ever stopped to think about what that Ink would look like when they reach 55 or 60 (to the chagrin of more then a few folks) or perhaps they didn’t care. But putting something in your profile that might impact your ability to gain a client or a job, or recruit an associate is a bump in the road most of us would want to avoid.

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  1. Craig Ernst

    September 16, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Great post, Bill! I remember reading and article sometime back (either in WSJ or NYT) about this very thing. Nothing that’s posted on the web will ever go away. There are a lot of young people inadvertently doing themselves a great deal of future harm with what they are frivolously posting on the web today.

    And as you pointed out, it’s not just the young. Naive and impulsive writing on the web can certainly come back and haunt you. Potential clients are *definitely* Googling you, searching for you on Facebook, etc.

    My grandmother used to tell me that I should always behave as if someone was always watching me, because they were. She meant Jesus(!), but in this case, it’s Big Brother aka The WWW (and maybe Google).

    So, let’s be careful out there. 🙂


  2. Kris Berg

    September 16, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Immediately sending the link to my daughter in college although, through my continual “creepering” of her Facebook, I know that she is already getting it. A few pictures have mysteriously disappeared since Rush Week ended. 🙂

  3. Kris Berg

    September 16, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    On second thought, I can no longer send her this link. I don’t think she fully comprehends my creeper nature.

  4. Bridget Magnus

    September 16, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    I go back to my old advice about email, because it applies to posts as well:

    Never publish or send anything you wouldn’t want to read out loud to your mother, your boss, or a judge.

    This will keep you from embarassment, even if it won’t entirely insulate you from unemployment or subpoena.

  5. Bridget Magnus

    September 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    I suppose since we’re all “independent contractors”, insert “broker” for “boss”.

  6. Missy Caulk

    September 17, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Bill, this is good data. I don’t accept friendship requests on FB from my children’s friends. I try to keep it professional. I know at our high school, the guidance counselors have profiles to check on the kids and as a mom, I’m always telling then to watch what you put on there. Unfortunately they sometimes listen and sometimes don’t.
    41% for drugs and alcohol and 40% for photos’ is a lot of looking.

  7. Steve Simon

    September 17, 2008 at 5:54 am

    Just a very good post… I agree with the concept whole heartedly. The tricky part is getting the younger personto understand that “They will not always see things the way they do know…”

  8. Kim Wood

    September 17, 2008 at 7:22 am

    What you say in Social Media doesn’t stay there?
    What about what happens at the RE Conferences that others may capture on film? (“X” LOL)

    Keeping a balance between transparency and professionalism can be a little tricky. I haven’t mastered it, that’s for sure, but a work in progress. I do want to be *me*; that I know for sure.

    Steve – I agree – and if you figure it out, please let me know. It seems like they are just there for the moment.

  9. Mack

    September 17, 2008 at 7:23 am

    I real estate one of our biggest assets is our reputation. I know some agents whose reputation will keep other agents from even showing their listings. Bill, I liked the quote from Warren Buffet in your other article; “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. This is another reason for us to all treat each other with the respect and professionalism we deserve.

  10. JeffX

    September 17, 2008 at 11:02 am

    @Kim I have no idea what you’re talking about 😉

    Great article Bill. Off to check my own Facebook page for ‘discrepancies’…and contemplate how my tattoos will look in 20 years 🙂

  11. ines

    September 18, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Does that mean I can’t say “CRAP” on twitter anymore? or talk about “MOJITOS”?

  12. monika

    September 18, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    How true Bill. The written word lives forever…or so it seems!

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.



Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.



Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?


Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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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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