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The Biggest Lesson Social Media Taught Me



[Unlike my usual tirades, this one will be short and sweet]

I have always been the proud owner of a 500-hp twin turbo competitive nature. It’s the Balkans in the bloodstream, I guess. Add to that mix my “scream at the TV” opinionated side and you get someone that enjoys a good debate. But when I started connecting using social media, I learned a big lesson that although it went against the competitive current, gave me the most refreshing perspective:

“Approach each conversation with an open mind


  1. Because there’s always more than one way to skin a cat.
  2. Self Righteousness is for Douches.
  3. Rigidity chokes creativity. Get out of your own way and learn.
  4. Experience always matters. And no, this time is not different.
  5. Successful folk are eternal students.
  6. If we’re all pontificating, who are the faithful?

In the past, I have written about social media giving us a window with our clients. Not too long ago it hit me that social media has granted us unique access to some brilliant people, as well.

So it’s a very simple choice: who’s going to show up, the open minded student or the obnoxious me-monster?

Houston Real Estate Rainmaker and Uberproud Father/Husband (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not skinning cats or changing diapers you can find me on Twitter or Facebook. I blog about marketing, social media and real estate. I might not always be in agreement, but you can rest assured I'll be honest. Oh, and I can cook a mean breakfast...

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  1. Missy Caulk

    August 28, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    very true, more than one way to skin a cat, or bake a cake or do Social Media.

  2. Joe Loomer

    August 29, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Who’s going to shut up, too. Great points Erion – we have two ears and one mouth for a reason….

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Ken Brand

    August 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    It’s hard to listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Now more than ever, we have to realize that change and new and flexibility and maneuverability and a willingness to change/morph/reinvent is key to long term success. You can’t stay the same while everything around you changes, therefore, open mind wide for new ideas.


  4. Matt Stigliano

    August 30, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Erion – Call me bold and brash and stupid, but I don’t agree that experience always matters. Of course, I agree with it how I guess you probably mean it, as in experiences are those things that we’ve learned from, built upon, and used to benefit ourselves and our knowledge.

    Unfortunately, I see too many “experienced” agents who rely on one thing and one thing only – how many years they’ve been in the business (their experience). Although in many cases, these are agents with more knowledge, skills, and ideas than most. However, in many cases as well, I find years=nothing.

    Perhaps I take slight offense to it as an agent who hasn’t been in the business for 50 billion years, as I know that some people see that as a disadvantage for hiring me. Of course, I know that I know enough to solve the problems and where to get the answers to those I don’t, so I know that I can be a great agent. I also know when to say “no” and “I don’t know.”

    Great post as always and I think you know me – I love the debate. I also go into each one with a very open mind.

    • Erion Shehaj

      August 31, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      Unfortunately, I see too many “experienced” agents who rely on one thing and one thing only – how many years they’ve been in the business (their experience). Although in many cases, these are agents with more knowledge, skills, and ideas than most. However, in many cases as well, I find years=nothing.

      Matt — Sheer years on the job do not constitute experience in my book. Here’s how I see this: On one extreme, you have agents with “years” on the job selling 7-8 homes per year on the same 5 streets without learning anything new in decades. On the other extreme, you have young guns that think they will reinvent a new wheel every week just because they blog and have a Twitter account. As pretty much everything in life – truth lies in the middle. All other things equal, being in business longer means more fires to put out, more market cycles to ride, more strategies to use and more fine-tuned skills. While technology creates breakthroughs, opportunities and level playing fields in every business — some things are just timeless.

  5. Linsey Planeta

    September 11, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Clearly, I’m such a girl. Had to Google ‘500-hp twin turbo’. 🙂

    But, I hear you. I think that we are in the midst of so many changes, across so many industries. And if you are engaged in this forum, you feel it in a more magnified way. You have to be open. There is little that I find that is not in some form of flux.

    And since I was 16 – when I was most convinced I knew it all – I’ve slowly, year by year, learned there just may be a kernel of truth in every point of view if I’m open.

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Social Media

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.



Pinterest icon on phone with 2 notifications, indicating new code of conduct.

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.

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Social Media

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.



Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

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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Social Media

Brace yourselves: Facebook has re-opened political advertising space

(SOCIAL MEDIA) After a break due to misinformation in the past election, Facebook is once again allowing political advertising slots on their platform – with some caveats.



Facebook open on phone in a wallet case, open for political advertising again.

After a months-long ban on political ads due to misinformation and other inappropriate behavior following the election in November, Facebook is planning to resume providing space for political advertising.

Starting on Thursday, March 4th, advertisers were able to buy spots for ads that comprise politics, what Facebook categorizes as “social issues”, and other potentially charged topics previously prohibited by the social media platform.

The history of the ban is complicated, and its existence was predicated on a profound distrust between political parties and mainstream news. In the wake of the 2016 election and illicit advertising activity that muddied the proverbial waters, Facebook had what some would view as a clear moral obligation to prevent similar sediment from clouding future elections.

Facebook delivered on that obligation by removing political advertising from their platform prior to Election Day, a decision that would stand fast in the tumultuous months to follow. And, while Facebook did temporarily suspend the ban in Georgia during the senate proceedings, political advertisements nevertheless remained absent from the platform in large until last week.

The removal of the ban does have some accompanying caveats—namely the identification process. Unlike before, advertisers will have to go to great lengths to confirm their identities prior to launching ads. Those ads will most likely also need to come from domestic agencies given Facebook’s diligent removal of foreign and malicious campaigns in the prior years.

The moral debate regarding social media advertising—particularly on Facebook—is a deeply nuanced and divided one. Some argue that, by removing political advertising across the board, Facebook has simply limited access for “good actors” and cleared the way for illegitimate claims.

Facebook’s response to this is simply that they didn’t understand fully the role ads would play in the electoral process, and that allowing those ads back will allow them to learn more going forward.

Either way, political advertising spots are now open on Facebook, and the overall public perception seems controversial enough to warrant keeping an eye on the progression of this decision. It wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for Facebook to revoke access to these advertisements again—or limit further their range and scope—in the coming months and years.

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