Yesterday Benn Rosales wrote a post about NAR’s reaction to what he termed (properly) NAR’s first real engagement after their appointment of Todd Carpenter as their SMM. In that post he referenced another post written by Rob Hahn that called into question the manner in which NAR and Todd handled the controversy over a local board’s recent decision regarding the enforcement of an existing MLS policy. I read Rob’s post, and delayed the post I had originally written to run today in order to discuss some flaws in Rob’s well written, articulate, criticism of the NAR response.
Todd Vs. Todd
The first place where Rob and I have divergent opinions is his assessment of Todd’s participation in this situation. Todd engaged as an individual and then in his official capacity. As an experienced participant in the social media space, he opted for transparency, and clearly indicated when he was speaking officially and when he was voicing his own opinion. I don’t believe that his statements were contradictory, and I think it is disingenuous of us to think that he cannot speak from both of those positions.
I would think that Todd should be congratulated for the clarity with which he approaches the job, and the commitment that he has shown to both our trade association, our members, and his conscience. When Todd said, “I don’t make policy at NAR. To be frank, I won’t be doing anything to get this policy changed. That’s on you guys. The members. An official statement for NAR was published in the comment stream.” all he was doing was disseminating information – accurate information- and informing the readership of the process.
We’re not a Democracy
In his discussion about the manner in which he feels NAR should handle this type of situation Rob suggested;
3. Unless there’s some good reason not to do so, open up the whole process to the stakeholder community.
Unless the issue at hand involves trade secrets, proprietary technology, or personal information that you just can’t share, consider opening up the whole process from soup to nuts on social media. Conduct the business in plain sight, in front of your community, and get them involved in the whole process from very early on.
The process is open to the whole stakeholder community. The NAR Mid-Year Meetings are open to every member of the organization, and there are seats available at the Multiple Listing Issues & Policies Forum and Committee meetings for any members who wish to attend. The business is conducted in plain sight , in front of the community, and all it requires to participate in the forum is to show up. (and as Wood Allen said, “90% of life is just showing up”). The fact that our current process takes place off line does not invalidate the process or make it closed in some manner.
Rob then went on to suggest that Cliff Niersbach , an incredibly bright, smart and engaging individual who has dedicated his professional career to the REALTOR organization, should have spoken directly to the readers of this blog;
Imagine if Cliff Niersbach had simply gotten on that AgentGenius thread, posted a greeting, acknowledged the controversy, and said, “Okay, I’m all ears, people. What do you want to do?” There would have been no “Us” vs. “Them” created; instead, all of the commenters would have made suggestions, protested the policy, etc. Cliff could then have responded with his concerns, brought other staffers in, brought in people from the CRT to raise questions, ask questions, and turned the thread into a wonderful discussion/debate.
Some individuals would have remained very fired up about it, but the vast majority of stakeholders would see that things have settled down to a boring, dry, technical discussion of how to word the policy, how to define “indexing” vs. “scraping”, and so on, and would have gone back to their daily lives, feeling reassured that “people” (not “We” or “They” but “people who know what they’re talking about”) are looking at it.
I have to respectfully disagree. Though I think highly of this blog, its publishers, authors, and readers, we are not the only people involved here. We are, in fact, only a small portion of the community that is impacted by this issue, and though the importance of this forum is substantial, this is an issue for the entire membership, not for a portion of the membership.Our opinions are only opinions, and they should have no more weight than any other individual members of the group.
Cliff actually executed a more appropriate version of what Rob suggests. He spoke to the most knowledgeable people in the organization about the technical issues involved, and , with the input of the appropriate people in the organization, arranged to bring two smart well informed advocates for change to address the body charged with investigating and acting on issues like these. Our organization is a republic, not democracy. We have representatives both elected and appointed, who conduct the business of the organization for the benefit of their constituency (the members) on a regular basis. It is those people who need to review this issue and determine the correct course for the organization to take.Because of the open nature of our association, we have a system of forums in which every member can be heard without regard for their level of involvement in the goveranance of the group.
Ron then discusses the possibility of a need for limited transparency;
If you can’t open up the process to that level of transparency, then say so, and say why not: “Hey gang, as much as we want to get you all involved, I’m afraid this involves some pending patents, and possible litigation, so we’re gonna have to go behind closed doors. But we’ll let you know as soon as we decide something, and get your thoughts.”
While I appreciate Rob’s desire to mention the possibility to allow for a fair assessment of possible limitations, it just isn’t the case here. In fact the organization is going above and beyond by bringing in two people , at the expense of the group to assure that the voices calling for change are being championed by people that are willing and able to make the most compelling case possible for the change the want to see.How much more transparency could anyone ask for?
They Keep Trying to Get it Right
I walked the halls of the Midyear meetings today, watching the swarm of REALTORS walking to and from their meetings. All of them are volunteers. All of them have businesses that are working through the challenges of the current economy. And yet all of them made the trip to Washington to donate their time to deal with the issues facing us as an industry , this scraping issue among them. They are supported by the best staff I have ever had the pleasure to work with. All of these volunteer are here trying to “do the right thing” for our industry, as did the volunteers that came before them. If our leaders don’t always “get it right” , it’s only because they’re human – not for want of trying. And by trying, the association keeps doing better and better, and will hopefully continue to do so with the help of a participatory membership given voice through vehicles like AG.
Image courtesy of 2008 NAR General Session courtesy of creativecommons.org and JohnHallAssociates
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.
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 data.ai, 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:
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.
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.
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.
Team of deaf engineers at Snap create feature to help users learn ASL
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of ASL.
A team of Deaf and hard-of-hearing Snapchat engineers known as the “Deafengers” at the company have created an ASL Alphabet Lens to help users learn the basics of American Sign Language.
Using AR Technology, the Lens teaches users to fingerspell their names, practice the ASL Alphabet and play games to “put their new skills to the test.”
The Lens, launched last month, is the first of its kind and encourages users to learn American Sign Language.
In aSnapchat said, “For native signers, in a world where linguistic inequity is prevalent, we believe AR can help evolve the way we communicate. We look forward to learning more from our community as we strive to continuously improve experiences for everyone on Snapchat.”
Austin Vaday, one of the deaf engineers who helped develop the Lens said helping the world understand sign language is important. He shared hiswith NBC correspondent Erin McLaughlin on TODAY after the Lens was released.
Vaday didn’t learn American Sign Language until he was 12. Before then he relied mostly on lip-reading to communicate. ASL changed his life. That life-changing moment helped inspire the ASL Alphabet Lens.
The ASL Alphabet Lens was designed and developed over six months in partnership with SignAll.
There are approximately 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States, according to the National Association of the Deaf.
Vaday said the ASL Alphabet Lens came from the desire to find a way to appropriately and properly educate people so they can communicate with those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Vaday said the team focused on the core values of intelligence, creativity, and empathy while working on the project and it’s a step to opening communication for all Snap users with the deaf and hard of hearing community.
The ASL Alphabet Lens is available to all Snapchat users.
Easily spot if your social media marketing service provider is a con artist
(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional marketing service, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con artist?
In this day and age the cult of positive thinking and “the law of attraction” are still very much alive and well in the business services industry. Here are a few simple questions that you can ask prospective business service providers to help you gauge if they are the real deal or just caught up in the fad of “say yes to everything,” or “outsource everything” being populated online by countless “thought leaders” and cult gurus. Classic con artist.
Lots of people will ask, “What’s the harm of people trying to make something of themselves?”
Well, I’m here to tell you there is huge harm in taking risks with a client’s money and manipulating people into trusting their “expertise” when they have none.
Business owners: Due diligence is more important than ever these days.
There are whole communities of people helping to prop each other up as experts in fields they know nothing about while outsourcing their tasks with little or no oversight into the actual work being done on your behalf.
It is nearly impossible for you to tell if this is even going on. Don’t worry. I am here to help you avoid a con artist.
How? By showing you how to weed out the bad actors by asking really simple questions.
This set of questions is perfect for people who need to distinguish if the expert they are talking to is really just an expert in bullshit with a likable personality.
Why do these questions work? Because people who are into this kind of stuff are rarely hesitant to talk about it when you ask them direct questions. They believe that what they are doing is a good thing and so they are more open to sharing this information with you because they think by you asking that you are also into similar things.
It is a fun little trick I picked up while learning to do consumer polling and political surveying.
- Who influences you professionally?
- Do you follow any “thought leaders” “gurus” or coaches? If so, who?
- What “school” of thought do you ascribe to in your profession, and where do you learn what you know?
- Are there any industry standards you do not agree with?
- How do you apply the services you offer to your own company?
- Can you please tell me the background of your support staff and can I see their CVs?
- Do you outsource or white label any of the work your company does?
- May we audit your process before buying your services?
- May we discuss your proposed strategies with others in your industry to ensure quality?
- Would you be open to speaking with an independent consultant that is knowledgeable about your industry about your proposals?
- Can you show me examples of your past successful jobs?
- Do you have any industry-accepted certifications and how many hours of study do you do in a year to keep your knowledge up-to-date and current?
- How many clients have you had in the past?
- How many clients do you have currently?
- How many clients are you able to handle at one time?
- How many other clients do you have that are in the same industry as my company?
- How long is your onboarding process before we start getting down to actually making changes to help solve the issues my company is facing?
- Can you explain to me the steps you will take to identify my company’s needs?
- Have you ever taken a course in NLP or any other similar course of study?
- Have you ever been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing company?
Fun. Right? Well, we aren’t done.
It is not just enough to ask these questions… you have to pay attention to the answers, as well as the WAY they are answering questions.
And you also have to RESEARCH the company after you get your answers to make sure they ring true.
You cannot keep accepting people at face value, not when the risk is to your business, employees, and clients. There is little to no risk for a person who is being dishonest about their capabilities and skillsets. They will walk away with your money, ready to go find another target for a chance meeting that seems amazingly perfect.
Do not leave your business decisions to chance encounters at networking events. Research before saying yes.
No matter how likable or appealing the person you are speaking with is.
How do you research? Easy. THE INTERNET. Look at the website of the company you are considering working with.
- Does it look professional? (do not use your website as a standard for professionals unless you have had it done by a professional)
- Can you see a list of their past clients?
- Do they effectively tell their story as a company or are they just selling?
- What do their social media profiles look like? Do they have many followers? Are they updated regularly?
- Do they have any positive reviews on social sites? (Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)
You can also do some simple things like running SEO Website Checkers on their websites. There are tons of these online for free and they will give you a pretty good indicator of if they are using best practices on their websites – you can even do this research on their clients’ websites.
Also, if you know anything about SpyFu, you can run their website through that to see how they are doing their own online marketing (the same can be said for their clients if they are selling this service).
Facebook also has a cool section that shows you ads that a Page is running. You can find this info connected to their business Page as well as the Pages they manage for their clients as well. None of these things automatically disqualify a potential service provider, but their answers to the question of “why” things are the way there are might be very illuminating to you as a business owner.
This may seem like a lot of work, and it can be if you do not do these things regularly and have them down to a system, but the cost of not doing these things is way too high. A con artist is born every day, thanks to the internet.
You have a right as a business owner considering services from a vendor to ask these questions.
They also have the responsibility as a service provider to answer these questions in a professional manner. Sometimes the way in which they answer the questions is far more important than the actual answer.
If all of this seems too overwhelming for you to handle, that is okay.
- You can ask one of your staff in your company to take on this role and responsibility.
- You can hire someone to come in and help you with these decisions (and you can ask them all the same questions as above before taking their services).
- You can reach out to other business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for someone who could help you with things.
- Heck, you can even call up companies that look like they are doing as well as you want to be doing online and ask them who they are using for their services. Try successful companies in other industries as your competitor won’t likely be interested in sharing their secrets with you…
What is important is that you are asking questions, researching, and ultimately making sure that you are doing as much as possible to ensure making the best decision for your company.
“But, Jay, what’s wrong with taking a risk on an up-and-comer?”
The answer to that is NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone. Someone being green doesn’t make them a con artist.
The issue I am raising is in the honest portrayal of businesses and their capabilities. It is about honesty.
I am a huge fan of working with people who are new and passionate about an industry. But I only work with people who are honest with me about who they are, what they can do, and how their processes work.
I have worked with tons of people who are still learning on the job. It can be quite educational for a business owner as well.
Just make sure they are being honest about everything upfront. You are not obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your business’s success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.
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