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The Biggest Lesson Social Media Taught Me

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[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

Why?

  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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14 Comments

14 Comments

  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.

    Cheers.

  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

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.

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Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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Social Media

This LinkedIn graphic shows you where your profile is lacking

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn has the ability to insure your visibility, and this new infographic breaks down where you should put the most effort.

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a must-have in the professional world. However, this social media platform can be incredibly overwhelming as there are a lot of moving pieces.

Luckily, there is a fancy graphic that details everything you need to know to create the perfect LinkedIn profile. Let’s dive in!

As we know, it is important to use your real name and an appropriate headshot. A banner photo that fits your personal brand (e.g. fits the theme of your profession/industry) is a good idea to add.

Adding your location and a detailed list of work-related projects are both underutilized, yet key pieces of information that people will look for. Other key pieces come in the form of recommendations; connections aren’t just about numbers, endorse them and hopefully they will return the favor!

Fill in every and all sections that you can, and re-read for any errors (get a second set of eyes if there’s one available). Use the profile strength meter to get a second option on your profile and find out what sections could use a little more help.

There are some settings you can enable to get the most out of LinkedIn. Turn on “career interests” to let recruiters know that you are open to job offers, turn on “career advice” to participate in an advice platform that helps you connect with other leaders in your field, turn your profile privacy off from private in order to see who is viewing your profile.

The infographic also offers some stats and words to avoid. Let’s start with stats: 65% of employers want to see relevant work experience, 91 percent of employers prefer that candidates have work experience, and 68% of LinkedIn members use the site to reconnect with past colleagues.

Now, let’s talk vocab. The infographic urges users to avoid the following words: specialized, experienced, skilled, leadership, passionate, expert, motivated, creative, strategic, focused.

That was educational, huh? Speaking of education – be sure to list your highest level of academia. People who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who do not. And, much like when you applied to college, your past education wasn’t all that you should have included – certificates (and licenses) and volunteer work help set you apart from the rest.

Don’t be afraid to ask your connections, colleagues, etc. for recommendations. And, don’t be afraid to list your accomplishments.

Finally, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. You’re already using the site, right? Use it to your advantage! Finish your profile by completing the all-star rating checklist: industry and location, skills (minimum of three), profile photo, at least 50 connections, current position (with description), two past positions, and education.

When all of this is complete, continue using LinkedIn on a daily basis. Update your profile when necessary, share content, and keep your name popping up on peoples’ timelines. (And, be sure to check out the rest of Leisure Jobs’ super helpful infographic that details other bits, like how to properly size photos!)

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Social Media

This Twitter tool hopes to fight misinformation, but how effective is it?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Birdwatch is a new tool from Twitter in the fight against misinformation… in theory. But it could be overkill.

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Twitter welcome screen open on large phone with stylus.

Social media has proven to be a blanket breeding ground for misinformation, and Twitter is most certainly not exempt from this rule. While we’ve seen hit-or-miss attempts from the notorious bird app to quell the spread of misinformation, their latest effort seems more streamlined—albeit a little overboard.

Birdwatch is a forthcoming feature from Twitter that will allegedly help users report misleading content. According to The Verge, Twitter has yet to release definitive details about the service. However, from leaked information, Birdwatch will serve the purpose of reporting misinformation, voting on whether or not it is truly misleading, and attaching notes to pertinent tweets.

Such a feature is still months away, so it appears that the upcoming election will take place before Birdwatch is officially rolled out.

There are a lot of positive sides to welcoming community feedback in a retaliation against false information, be it political in nature or otherwise. Fostering a sense of community responsibility, giving community members the option to report at their discretion, and including an option for a detailed response rather than a preset list of problems are all proactive ideas to implement, in theory.

Of course, that theory goes out the window the second you mention Twitter’s name.

The glaring issue with applying a community feedback patch to the rampant issue of misinformation on social media is simple: The misinformation comes from the community. A far cry from Twitter’s fact-checking warnings that appeared on relevant tweets earlier this year, Birdwatch—given what we know now—has every excuse to be more biased than any prior efforts.

Furthermore, the pure existence of misinformation on Twitter often results from the knee-jerk, short response format that tweets take. As such, expecting a lengthy form and vote application to fix the problem seems misguided. Simply reporting a tweet for being inaccurate or fostering harassment is already more of an involved process than most people are likely to partake in, so Birdwatch might be overdoing it.

As always, any effort from Twitter—or any social media company, for that matter—to crack down on the spread of misinformation is largely appreciated. Birdwatch, for all of its potential issues, is certainly a step in the right direction. Let’s just hope it’s an accessible step.

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