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The Cloud

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The Cloud
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Here in the Pacific Northwest, it appears as though we’ve officially entered into our six months of clouds (that’s right Californians, you don’t want to move here) which got me thinking about clouds even more than usual.

Many of you have been hearing about “The Cloud”, “SAAS” (Software As A Service) and “Cloud Computing” for a while, but for those who are uninitiated, it’s the idea that the software you use everyday is actually all online. GMail, GCalendar and Facebook instead of Outlook. Google Docs instead of Word and Excel. Sliderocket instead of PowerPoint. Picnik instead of PhotoShop. These are all prime examples.

Netbooks

A few years back, some braniac came up with the term UMPC – Ultra Mobile Personal Computer. A few of these have hit the market, but were plagued with being too slow and too small. Several manufacturers still make these and I know quite a few very happy owners, but they are definitely not as mainstream as traditional laptops.

Now, however, manufacturers are competing in the “netbook” arena, which are laptops that typically have 8-12 inch screens, have low power (low-ish performance) processors and smaller hard drives. The idea is that you use online software and storage services, so the smaller hard drive isn’t a problem. Since these pieces of software run in your web browser, it doesn’t matter if your computer uses Windows or some flavor of Linux. And the small screen increases battery life and portability.

I can personally attest that I went from a 15″ laptop to a 17″ to a 19″ now back down to a 12″ and wishing it were smaller. For 99% of what I do, I prefer portability and battery life to a huge screen and I can always plug in to an external monitor for PhotoShop and Lightroom.

Trust

I have recently run into a few people who don’t trust cloud computing. I use many of these services, but still use their desktop counterparts, but mostly to provide support to others who are still using them.

This is part one of a three part look into cloud computing. Next, I will delve into resources, advantages and concerns for individuals, especially independent business owners as many of you are. Finally, I will take the same critical look from the side of business owners and IT departments in relation to their employees and contractors.

If you have any specific concerns you would like to see addressed, please let me know in the comments.

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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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    October 3, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I just started using GoogleDoc’s to follow the transactions. My assistant adds what she has done and both myself and the client can assess it. Love Google Calendar, both for a TEAM calender and personal one.

    Right now you would have to pry my hands off outlook, but I’m open.

  2. Nick Bostic

    October 3, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I totally understand, my relationship with Outlook is definitely love/hate 🙂 I have been forced away from it due to my corporate IT policy and I’ve found some interesting workarounds, but it does require the correct hardware/software decisions across the board. I think it will get easier to live without Outlook as time goes on though. But the details are for the next article….

  3. Missy Caulk

    October 3, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I look forward to it.

  4. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    October 3, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Nick, the resistance I’ve had in the past (but have been coming out of) is the transition to cloud computing… I’d love to hear more about transitioning (what do I do with my old data- do I store it or can it come with me in each instance? is it safe? how can i be sure? will Google take over all of the cloud computing world? how is each superior to what i’m already using?). I’ve spent a great deal of time researching and transitioning into online services, but with anything new, I have my reservations.

    I’m very excited to hear your take on all things cloudy! 🙂

  5. Mark Eckenrode

    October 3, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    this has been pretty attractive for me but the speed is what kills me. after a long day working… add up the time spent waiting for pageloads, transfers, etc and it can get ugly.

  6. Todd

    October 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    “…I have recently run into a few people who don’t trust cloud computing…”

    Using their logic they should have zero trust in, and never use mobile phones, since they are cloud computing.

    I have seen the exact same thing – I recommend to someone that they try Google Docs out for a week and see if it is a “80% solution” for them to abandon Microsoft Office. They stand either holding, or actually talking on their mobile phone, and say to me “Sounds risky, how do I know I won’t lose any data? Pass.”

    …Ummmm Dude, then use only landline phone from now on. Mkay?

  7. Rob La Gesse

    October 3, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I work at building “the cloud” and I really see a different adoption path – one where you can work either on, or off of the cloud. One where your data is available wherever you need it to be – where the apps can be local, or online. Th data can be manipulated locally or online. Where everything is kept in sync through Really Smart Software – even if many people are manipulating that data at the same time. We are already seeing this in many forms – Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Mosso – we are all providing some level of solution to this problem. The problem? It shouldn’t matter what computer/device I am on, or where my data “lives” – I just need access to it – and to my apps.

    As the Internet gets faster and faster, and becomes available everywhere, it won’t matter what the device is anymore – a “new instance of your computing environment” can be rapidly downloaded and utilized no matter the device. The true potential of the cloud isn’t just “my data from anywhere”, but “my environment everywhere”.

    And we are moving very rapidly in that direction!

    Rob

  8. Bob

    October 3, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Anyone ever been to DEFCON?

    I use GoogleDocs and other cloud apps, but storing the personal info of those you don’t want to have to answer to is not a good idea.

  9. John Kalinowski

    October 4, 2008 at 5:33 am

    Bob- Can you elaborate on what you meant by “storing the personal info of those you don’t want to have to answer to is not a good idea”? Thanks!

  10. Bob

    October 4, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    John,

    I do a ton of short sales. Those packages have a ton of personally identifiable info. Storing them in the cloud is a liability if my clients dont consent.

  11. Thomas Johnson

    October 8, 2008 at 9:07 am

    @ Bob: You got it! We are fiduciaries. Until there are bank level security systems for all our transactions without the cost of bank level security, I am more comfortable securing a file cabinet and locking my office. Ask Gov. Sarah Palin how she likes cloud computing after her Yahoo account got hacked and broadcast to the world by a kid.

    For a RE practitioner, what is the cost of secure enterprise cloud computing? I know that this will not be free. This is the kind of scalable solution that Realogy will be able to bring to the table. Independents will have to dig deeper into their pockets.

    The speed is excruciatingly slow when pictures are involved. Video will further bog down all the speed gains that we have seen in the past few years. I am willing to toss marketing stuff up in the cloud at negligible cost. I am not so sure that my vault needs to be hanging out there.

  12. Nick Bostic

    October 8, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Bob and Thomas, do you ever email documents? Or send them via courier? Or send them to a mortgage broker, title company or lawyer? The big problem is you can secure your data as much as possible, but when you have to work with other people, all of your precautions are typically thrown to the wind. We frequently receive documents that were supposed to go to a competitor because their courier service apparently can’t read. They protected that data as much as possible, but due to incompetence, that security was worthless.

    If you store data in your computer, it can be hacked. If you store your data in a file cabinet, your office can be broken into. If you talk about information over the phone, it can be tapped. Heck, if you store it only in your head, there are drugs to make you talk! I know, it’s extreme, but the odds of someone hacking your Google Docs account is probably about as likely as someone breaking into your office.

  13. Nick Bostic

    October 8, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Sorry, just remembered one other thing. If the health care industry is willing to trust Google to store and share our medical records (which I know from experience have even more strict regulations and fines), I think we can safely use these tools for this business.

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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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