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The Two Faces of Technology: Convenience vs. Communication

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I was thinking about technology and how we use it in our life – and by “our life” I mean Derek and my life. I came to the conclusion that we each use the HECK out of technology … but in completely different ways.

Derek uses technology for convenience.
I use technology for communication.

Let’s start with the cell phone:

Derek has about 6.3 billion numbers programmed into his phone. Any person or company that he could possibly want to call – ever, is programmed into his phone. He is about to purchase the Blackberry Pearl so that, in addition to the 6.3 billion numbers that he currently has, his scheduler and email can be just a click away as well. Pure convenience.

I, on the other hand, have “just” a cell phone. Yes. I am PDA-less. However, I have one of the most baddass superior-coverage cell phones on the market today. I only have about 20 numbers in my phone, and besides the small handful of work-related numbers (that I only have programmed so I know when they are calling me), all of my programmed numbers are for people that I LIKE to talk to (or text) and that I ENJOY calling. (I may get a PDA in the future – but only for the instant blogging and email abilities.) My cell phone is used PURELY for communication.

Next, is our Top Producer account:

Derek loves our Top Producer account because all of his To-Do’s and appointments and time blocked activities are in one place. Again … convenience.

I don’t know what I would do without our TP account. It allows me to send out personalized mass emails, as well as effectively and consistently communicate and keep in touch with our clients through the personal marketing report websites (for our Sellers) and action plan activities (for our Buyers). I do not use the scheduler, as I am quite happy with the planner that the title company gave me last December. (Shush. Stop laughing.) Again … communication.

Our website is another one:

Derek loves the functionality of our new website. All the buttons and available options are easy to find and easy to use. … Convenience.

I love the blog application that allows me to share my knowledge and experiences with potential clients. … Communication.

Finally the internet … Ah! The internet:

Derek loves Google Reader so that all the hacking-blogs (yet another convenience factor) that he loves so much are all in one place. He also loves JOTT, which is an uber time saver and gets all his thoughts and master plans in one place. Anything he reads or watches involves making his life easier – new products, new services, etc. Convenience reigns king in Derek’s internet experience.

I also love Google Reader. My reader is packed full of all of my RE Blogging Buddies Blogs and How-to-Be-a-Better-Blogger Blogs. I like keeping abreast of what is going on in the blogosphere and in different parts of the country, as well as learn how to blog more effectively. I like interacting with the brilliant people on Agent Genius, commenting on Active Rain, poking people on Face Book and laughing at – er, I mean with people on MySpace (no, you’ll never find my MySpace profile HA HA HA!). Blogging and Social networking sites (communication) are the bulk of my non-work internet time.

It is amazing how integrated technology is in each of our lives, but how we use it in such starkly different ways.

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.

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zillow group

Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

Continue reading…

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We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.

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Neon social media like heart with a 0

Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.

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WeChat app icon on an iPhone screen

WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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