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There are Comments & Then There are Comments

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People don’t always comment

After a few years of having a business blog I have some observations and opinions about comments. The great thing about my blogs, is that people can comment and I can have a conversation with my readers. I have learned though that those conversations are not essential when it comes to accomplishing my goal, which is to meet the people who live inside my computer who are looking for me because they need to buy or sell a home.

I have two closing on Thursday from people that met me through my blog and neither client ever left a comment. One couple has been reading the blog for about a year, the other client saw the blog and recognized pictures of her own neighborhood. She contacted me and it turns out that she lives so close I can almost see her apartment from my back porch. In fact out of the thousands of comments on my business blog I am guessing that less than 50 were from clients.

Not all comments are equal

We all know about comment spam. The people that leave comments just so they can get a link. I usually delete those. There is a kind of comment that can be worse. The comments from other Realtors. Occasionally they add to the conversation but in most cases they too want a link, they are just a little less obvious about it than the spam commenters.

When consumers, my potential clients see a lot of comments from Realtors on my blog they assume that the blog is for Realtors. Sometimes they see an entire conversation among Realtors and they figure it isn’t for them and they stay out of it.

We are being taught some questionable blogging practices

I have read some articles written by coaches experts on blogs, and online social networking encouraging real estate agents to join the blog web sites with all the real estate blogs on them or to hook up with other agents on social networks.

We are also encouraged to comment on each others posts while at the same time we are encouraged to write for consumers so we can win business. In my experience we can’t do both with the same blog, which is why I have more than one blog and why I write on agent genius.

Endless conversations amongst ourselves

I am as social as the next person but from a business point of view I don’t see the value of getting or receiving comments on my business blog from other agents. I love to tweet on twitter but other than my own enjoyment there is no value to being connected with hundred’s of other Realtors. Sure I might get a referral once in a while but that doesn’t pay the bills. The people who pay the bills are on the internet but they live in my community and they belong to various social networks, and none of those networks are centered around Realtors or real estate.

No Comment

Real estate bloggers who have business blogs that they use to meet people the way that I do should consider comments a bonus. They really are not essential to the success of the blog. Some of the articles I have in my blog that have gotten the most traffic and have been responsible for brining in business have no comments on them.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Jeremy Hart

    July 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Great post! Nice job! I couldn’t agree more!

    Wait, was I not supposed to comment? DOH

  2. Brad Nix

    July 15, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Nice post.

    Great job!

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    July 15, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    T:

    This is one of those things that is “unspoken” in RE.net. When I was a practicing Broker and before going into education full time, I thought it was rude to comment on another agents blog; unless the post was specifically to re agents.

    I was not happy (and assumed nafarious) intent when other agents commented on my business blog, as well. Thus, I created a industry blog.

    Great points, and one of these days we’re going to get the likes of you, Jay, Russell, Benn, et al to write a Rules of Civility for RE Bloggers!

  4. teresa boardman

    July 15, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks, great comments. 🙂

    Mathew – some of the agents who comment do add value and add to the conversation, especially when they comment on market conditions and mention how things are in their areas. I think that information is useful to my readers I love it when they disagree with me too because that can really start an interesting conversation. . The good job, great post, nice picture, thanks for sharing stuff is what has got to go.

  5. NikNik

    July 15, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Nice post!

    Great job!

    Good talk!

  6. Todd

    July 15, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I wonder if discounting the worth of all agent’s comments on your business blog is a bit severe.

    If your business blog is solely for your home-owner customers and all fellow real estate agents are banned from participating ( commenting ), doesn’t that violate the spirit of what blogging is about ( Free, meaningful, open communication for all )?

    If I play the part of the homeowner / reader and come across an agent’s blog with “OTHER AGENT KEEP OUT!” as its warning sign, I would instantly wonder why the compartmentalization? Why such an anti-social tone toward fellow professionals?

    There are plenty of technologies to manage abusive comment spammers and trolls ( Dries Buytaert’s new Mollom technology immediately comes to mind ) but I would be concerned to see a new trend develop between blogger agents where they all exclude each other in some kind of localism.com-esque “land grab”, or “blog protectionism racket”

  7. Bill Lublin

    July 15, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    TBOARD You are the example for the social media class I’m teaching – Great post! 😉

  8. Julie Emery

    July 15, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t really like to discourage my fellow agents from commenting on my blog. A fair number of them have actually referred their clients to blog entries I’ve written, say, to convince them to lower the price or get their home in better showing condition.

    If they take over the comments, that’s a problem. But so far it’s all good!

    Maybe I’m naive but I actually believe some of my fellow agents think they’re doing me a good turn by commenting on my posts. Given the number of people who leave this profession every day, who’s to say they’re wrong!

    (It’a also possible none of the agents who post comments on my blog have websites or blogs.)

  9. Rich Jacobson

    July 15, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    At first, I was going to comment, but then I hesitated, cuz’ I figured I wasn’t supposed to. Then, I reconsidered, and figured, what the heck, this isn’t her business blog, right? But then, I deleted it, for fear that my comment might keep potential clients from stopping by. But then, if I don’t comment, you might think I’m stuck up or something

  10. Carson Coots

    July 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    My friend emailed me your site and I read through many of your articles… Good information, I will be adding it to my feed reader.

  11. Eric Blackwell

    July 15, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    T. – While i think you make some great points, my personal view is that I divide real estate blogs into two camps: customer facing and industry facing. Industry facing blogs (this one, for example) are important. As individual entrepreneurs, they are a far better way of learning by debating about our business and of sharing ideas and insights.

    Customer facing blogs are meant to engage the customer – they (IMHO) are locally focused, or niche focused and the blogversations there should (also MHO) not include a guy from Louisville if you are doing a blog about St Paul…unless you write about something of national importance or of something relevant to me.

    I think the toughest time that we have sometimes is straddling that line. I try to have different blogs–one on one side of the fence and one on the other…

    Just my approach.I think it is VERY difficult to serve two masters (so to speak)

    Best;

    Eric

  12. Eric Blackwell

    July 15, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    So now you know WHY I read your blog regularly…and have yet to comment much at all. I think there are some great things to be gained from reading customer facing blogs and not commenting or best of all commenting ABOUT them on a place like here.

    Eric

  13. Holly White

    July 15, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Still trying to figure out where people find the time to write blogs AND comment on a plethora of other blog sites like this one. I am trying to run a website, manage a team, sell real estate, blog and comment on others blogs, and I am finding that there is not enough time in the day to do it all. I have a separate category for Realtors so that anything I write about industry related goes into that category (which isn’t much, ie. “time”). I figured if a consumer wants to read about the Realtor talk going on they can, and if they want to participate, they can, but if they just want to learn about things going on around town or talk about our market particularly they can just view the other categories. I would start another blog just for Realtor talk, but personally I have to draw the line somewhere from a time perspective.

  14. Eric Blackwell

    July 15, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    @Holly;

    Dividing it up into categories works too… I can totally understand the issue with time. I think that is a common issue for many of us.

    Best;

    Eric

  15. ines

    July 15, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    It takes some of us a little longer T 😉 – we were discussing this very thing a couple of days ago and the value of those particular comments. I have noticed that some consumers are more prone to comment if they see another comment there (and they are not the first). So it may not be all that bad.

  16. Todd Carpenter

    July 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Todd said>>>”If your business blog is solely for your home-owner customers and all fellow real estate agents are banned from participating ( commenting ), doesn’t that violate the spirit of what blogging is about ( Free, meaningful, open communication for all )?”

    Whoever said that was the spirit of what blog’s are all about? Some of the best blogs don’t allow any comments at all. I don’t know of even one blog that I read because of the comments.

  17. Melina Tomson

    July 15, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, but I find those kinds of comments helpful because they tell me something about the agent that leaves them. If an agent constantly writes GPTFS (great post thanks for sharing), then I know it’s probably not someone I would want to refer business to.

    I get to “meet” so many great agents online in forums that I have a nice list of people that seem to really know their stuff. I guess comments like that help me to eliminate someone from my list.

  18. Frank Jewett

    July 15, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Rich, it depends on whether you’re posting as Rich Jacobson or ActiveRich. I gotta believe ActiveRich sees more value in peer-2-peer communications than merely staving off loneliness. Of course Teresa does too, or she wouldn’t be here, right?

    I’m a firm believer in peer-2-peer, some of my best friends are independent brokers, but the key to getting more business is devoting most of your blogging time to a consumer facing blog.

    As for comments, fewer than 5% of all talk radio listeners will ever call the show, so you can’t judge the size of the audience (or the value of the blog) by the visible feedback.

    In some respects the comment overload at AR due to the points system leads members astray because they focus on peer-2-peer. It’s the same theory as hanging around the office talking to sympathetic agents instead of walking the neighborhood and risking rejection.

  19. teresa boardman

    July 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Todd – I have been dealing with the issue of “the spirit of blogging” I have left comments that I should not have, now I delete them. There are just two many people who want a link. I actually value the comments of some of my peers they add to the conversation. I have no intention of banning anyone, but I have been deleting some of the “nice post” comments with the advertising in the comment.

    Frank – I think you get what I am saying. of course I love peer 2 peer communication or I would not be here writing, an I would not have the real estate weenie. I just don’t think we can have it both ways, socializing with peers and blogging for consumers on the same blog.

    Eric – I agree there are two basic types of blogs in our industry. So to all I say this is where the peer 2 peer comments belong. It is OK to leave comments on my business blog if they are related to the topic on the blog, they do add value. But if you want to socialize you can easily find me all over the internet, and I am very social. i know many agent from all over the country and consider them friends and enjoy the interaction very much. Not anti social, just trying to give consumers a chance to speak up.

  20. Mack in Atlanta

    July 15, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Nice Post. Sorry I couldn’t resist.

  21. Joe Zekas

    July 15, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Teresa,

    Think of the Realtor comments on your consumer-facing blog as extremely valuable feedback in the following sense.

    If you’re getting a lot of Realtor comments on a post, that post either 1) isn’t speaking to the consumer or 2) isn’t speaking to a targeted, local buyer / seller consumer you want to reach. You are targeting a reasonably defined geographic or niche area, aren’t you?

    It’s easy to lose focus on a blog, and difficult to tell when you have. The volume of Realtor comments is a simple feedback mechanism to help determine when you’ve lost focus.

    Test out that proposition and see if it proves true on your blog.

  22. Paula Henry

    July 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    T- I know exactly what you are saying – a year or so ago, it seemed everyone just went around and commented to get a link or for extra Google juice. I was one of those who thought that’s what we should do. People were changing their name to Indianapolis Real Estate, or St Paul Real Estate for example for the juice. It was so apparent and many a blog was written about how “uncool” it was. In the big scheme of things, I think there were too many newbies who didn’t know what they should or should not be doing.

    I don’t see it as often and no longer get those type of comments. I would much rather see my stats which says the same people are visiting my site time and again. I do value my peers input and always welcome a discussion.

  23. Karen Goodman

    July 15, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    It’s refreshing to see my point of view in print.

    I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last 8 months reading industry blogs as I learn about this new tool I’ve been using. I started my consumer focused blog in November and have no page rank yet on Google. I have about 30 unique visitors a day and I’ve already gotten a few clients from the website & blog. Much of my traffic comes from Yahoo searches on ‘St.Louis homes for sale’ and Google for specific posts.

    I know that my stats are really low compared what all the big bloggers report, and apparently all anyone out here cares about is Google. But there are plenty of consumers searching on other search engines. And if I only have 30 visitors a day but a couple a month contact me…and I’ve only been doing this for less than a year, I must be doing something right.

    I know my blog isn’t fancy and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, and almost no comments, but my readers aren’t into reading blogs. They are just people looking for some real estate info and want to search for homes. They think my simple site is just great and don’t realize that many people gauge a blog’s success by the number of comments.

  24. Laura Cannon

    July 15, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Wow! This entry surprises me a little. My initial response is, gee what a high class problem to have: too many comments, not the right kind of comments, etc.. I don’t want to be contentious, but this complaint sounds a little like famous people expressing concern about the “burdens” of fame. It is hard to empathize.

    I have left comments on fellow Realtors blogs simply because I enjoyed their post. I don’t really see it as having any “link” effect on my blog. Google rankings is more complex than that.

    Furthermore, I don’t think that the internet community shares this sense that potential clients or customers are supposed to comment, but not colleagues. For example, on technical sites, it is completely customary for colleagues to contribute to each other’s blog if only to say ” I enjoyed this post, thanks!” In fact, in the early days of blogging, such comments were very much appreciated and not at all discouraged. See, for example, the technical exchanges on wordpress.org blogs.

    I think it is a little cynical to assume that a simple compliment like “great post” is an attempt to get a link. I, for one, just left a similar post and do not see it as contributing to my rankings, link authority, etc..

    Not all blogging and commenting is about getting a competitive edge. Sometimes, it is simply about connecting across the net in a simple, unsophisticated manner.

  25. Chuck G

    July 16, 2008 at 7:49 am

    I guess I don’t totally agree with your take on comments, perhaps because I don’t get comments from other agents on my blog. I cherish the comments from my readers, because they’re a phenomenal gauge on the relevance of what I am writing. If a reader is compelled to click the “comment” tab and lay there opinion (and email) out there, whether they agree with me or not, I have clearly touched a nerve with what I have written or have hit on a topic that is very important them. This is priceless feedback, and has really shaped the direction my blog has taken.

    We all try to be creative on topics we choose for our blogs, rather than just being a regurgitation of the news. Being creative has some inherent risks, so it’s nice to get an occasional “great post” comment from the readers (and even other agents!)

    Chuck

  26. teresa boardman

    July 16, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Chuck – any and all comments from my intended audience are more than welcome and I learn from them. I learn from my peers by posting here on agent genius. My peers are the readers of this blog.

  27. Eric Blackwell

    July 16, 2008 at 8:53 am

    @Laura- I can understand how you think it is a high class problem to have…and I agree that there are bloggers out there who are just commenting to connect with folks. That having been said, I think there is a large percentage of “great post” and etc comments that are nothing but spam.

    One way (the best IMO) to connect with a blogger on there local blog is to try to find a post to comment on where you can ADD something to the discussion. Bring some additional local flavor to the party and you will find almost instant common ground with that blogger.

    Many bloggers have the problem of struggling to keep what they have posted about on track and relevant. Even taking the time to detail WHAT you thought was great would raise the bar significantly.

    Cannot speak for T, and wouldn’t…but I don’t think she would want to be considered snooty for trying to lessen the load of these types of comments in her blog…

    Best

    Eric

  28. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 16, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Agreed wholeheartedly that its very difficult to appeal to all persons with just 1 site. Having 1 blog for customers, and another for peers seems to be the best way IMO to help focus your site to a specific target audience. Theres the old saying: Jack of all trades, master of none.

    However, as far the value of not giving or receiving comments from other agents – I think it really depends. I’ve met and created relationships online with some peers that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to communicate with. And what did I get out of it: I’ve LEARNED things. Getting other points of view is great for brain storming and gets you thinking that you many not have otherwise normally considered. They’ve kept an eye out for me and kept me up to speed to the latest real estate news – which in turn translates to me being more professional in dealing with customers. So, I do find value in CONSTRUCTIVE and SINCERE commenting activity with other real estate agents. That being said: are there a lot of spammers of the “nice post” mentality? Sure, absolutely. But if I can find a diamond by digging through a little trash, to me its worth it.

  29. Bob

    July 16, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Many agents comment solely for links. Depending on the comment, a link may be a fair trade. It is pretty easy to identify the drive by commenter, so i just selectively no follow those comments. if they are blatantly trying to stealn traffic, then I’ll simply edit the link. That tends to put an end to others who are merely link spamming. Most consumers who comment don’t drop urls.

  30. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 16, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Question is, are no comments a comment?

  31. teresa boardman

    July 16, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Larry – no comments doesn’t mean much accept that the readers did not comment, it could be because they found the post through google and just read it because it was the information they were looking for, it could mean they don’t know how to comment, it could mean that they don’t comment. I don’t no that there is any significant meaning except on a blog like this I would say that a post with no comments does make a comment.

  32. Jeff Manson

    July 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    You make some valid points. There are several reasons why an agent would leave a comment. 1. Get a link. 2. They are actually trying to add to the conversation. 3. They are trying to look smart. The worst one of all is the agent that thinks they are smart and really do not have a clue and should not be allowed to be in the business. The ones that give us all a bad name. Which one are you?

  33. Hullabaloo

    July 26, 2008 at 12:18 am

    And then there are the people that pay to post phony articles with their website addresses in blogs all over the internet just to boost their search engine positions. Those articles don’t get many comments, do they? It’s called a spam blog, or splog. Not exactly fair play, Mr. Manson.

  34. Julie

    August 19, 2008 at 2:07 am

    “Great post! I love your site design, I bookmarked it to come back later!”

    Look familiar?

    I get so many spam comments like that on some of my blogs, its unbelievable.

    Akismet does nuke quite a few before I ever see them though…

  35. Steve Simon

    August 29, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Opening your blog for comments is a good thing and a bad thing as any one with a blog will tell you.
    What you may not know is the rel=”nofollow” tag story. I will not go into it here but before you decide on comments or no comments you might what to read up on the nofollow, dofollow link choices that are available for your blog (in wordpress there are dozens of plugins that allow you to set nofollow or release the robots to follow all, or decide on a post comment by comment basis).
    Without knowing a little about this subject you open your site to a level of risk.
    An html link in a comment without a nofollow tag is a sign thatyou as the owner of the site are vouching for the person or entity that left the comment and link. You had better know where the link goes to, and who left the comment.
    I allow comments but I scrutinize each before approval, and I nofollow the links.
    The people that think these link backs help in SERP are so far off that a discussion of this in and of itself is stupid. There is no meaningful “Juice” created by leaving a hyper link on someones blog. Unless it is a very highly rated blog, and it is relevent to your field, and the blog is allowing the Googlebot to follow.
    Ninety percent of blogs (not all!) are wordpress and the default for most recent versions is nofollow.
    So the purpose should be (in leaving a comment) to generate a thought provoking level in the author’s and other readers minds (and maybe a little traffic back from those who will investigate you after reading the comment).
    But for SERP, I’d forget it…

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Facebook pays $52M to content mods with PTSD, proving major flaw in their business

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook will pay out up to millions to former content moderators suffering PTSD to settle the 2018 class action lawsuit.

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Facebook’s traumatized former content moderators are finally receiving their settlement for the psychological damage caused by having to view extremely disturbing content to keep it off of Facebook.

The settlement is costing the company $52 million, distributed as a one time payment of $1,000 to each of the 10,000+ content moderators in four states. If any of these workers seek psychological help and are diagnosed with psychological conditions related to their jobs, Facebook also has to pay for that medical treatment. They pay up to $50,000 per moderator in additional damages (on a case-by-case basis).

Facebook also will offer psychological counseling going forward, and will attempt to create a type of screening for future candidates to determine a candidate’s emotional resiliency, and will make one-on-one mental health counseling available to content moderators going forward. They will also give moderators the ability to stop seeing specific types of reported content.

According to NPR, Steve Williams, a lawyer for the content moderators, said, “We are so pleased that Facebook worked with us to create an unprecedented program to help people performing work that was unimaginable even a few years ago. The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe.”

Honestly, this job is not for the faint of heart, to say the least. Like the hard-working, yet not unfazeable police officers on Law & Order SVU, seeing the worst of humanity takes a toll on one’s psyche. Facebook’s content moderators are only human, after all. These workers moderated every conceivable–and inconceivable–type of disturbing content people posted on the 2 billion-users-strong social media platform for a living. Some for $28,800 a year.

I wouldn’t last five minutes in this role. It is painful to even read about what these content moderators witnessed for eight hours a day, five days a week. While Facebook refuses to admit any wrongdoing, as part of the agreement, come on, man. Graphic and disturbing content that upset someone enough to report to Facebook is what these people viewed all day every day. It sounds almost like a blueprint for creating trauma.

This settlement surely sets the precedent for more class action lawsuits to come from traumatized content moderators on other social media platforms. The settlement also shows this business model for what it is: flawed. This isn’t sustainable. It’s disgusting to think there are people out there posting heinous acts, and I am grateful the platform removes them.

However, they have to come up with a better way. Facebook employs thousands upon thousands of really smart people who are brilliant at computer technology. Twitter and YouTube and similar platforms do, too. They need to come up with a better plan going forward, instead of traumatizing these unfortunate souls. I don’t know what that will look like. But with Facebook’s sky-high piles of money and access to so many brilliant minds, they can figure it out. Something’s got to give. Please figure it out.

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Twitter will give users a warning before a harmful tweet is sent

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter is rolling out a new warning giving users a chance to edit their tweet before they post “harmful” language, and we aren’t sure how to feel about it.

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Twitter is testing out a new warning system for potentially offensive tweets. If a tweet contains language Twitter deems “harmful,” Twitter will pop up with a warning and opportunity to revise the potentially offensive tweet before posting. The warning mentions that language in the tweet is similar to previously reported tweets.

If internal alarms are going off in your head, congratulations, you are wary of any censorship! However, if you read a tweet spewing with bile, racism, or threatening violence against a person or institution, do you report it? Do you want Twitter to take it down? If you said yes, then congratulations, you want to protect the vulnerable and fight hatred.

If you are wary of censorship, yet want to fight hatred and protect the vulnerable, welcome to the interwebs! It’s a crazy and precarious place where almost anything can happen. Despite decades of use, we’re still navigating our way through the gauntlet of tough decisions the proliferation of platforms and ease of use have given us.

First, how does Twitter gauge a potentially harmful tweet? According to Twitter, the app responds to language similar to prior tweets that people have reported. Twitter, like Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms, already has hateful conduct rules in place. In fact, Twitter has a host of rules and policies intended to protect users from fraud, graphic violence, or explicitly sexual images.

Their rationale is detailed, but explains, “Our role is to serve the public conversation, which requires representation of a diverse range of perspectives.” However, they “recognise that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves.”

We’ve heard stories of teenagers–or even younger children–killing themselves after relentless bullying online. The feeling of anonymity when insulting a living, breathing being from behind a computer screen often causes a nasty pile-on effect. We’ve seen people use social media to bully, sexually harass, and threaten others.

Twitter cites research showing women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and other vulnerable populations are more likely to stop expressing themselves freely when someone abuses them on social media. Even Kelly Marie Tran, who played Resistance fighter Rose Tico in Star Wars, took down her Instagram photos before taking a stand against haters. And she had Jedis in her corner. Imagine your average person’s response to such cruel tactics?

We’ve seen hate groups and terrorist organizations use social media to recruit supporters and plan evil acts. We see false information springing up like weeds. Sometimes this information can be dangerous, especially when Joe Blow is out there sharing unresearched and inaccurate medical advice. Go to sleep, Blow, you’re drunk.

As an English major, and an open-minded person, I have a problem with censorship. Banned books are some of my favorites of all time. However, Twitter is a privately owned platform. Twitter has no obligation to amplify messages of hate. They feel, and I personally agree, that they have some responsibility to keep hateful words inciting violence off of their platform. This is a warning, not a ban, and one they’re only rolling out to iOS users for now.

I mean, in the history of angry rants, when was the last time a “Hey, calm down, you shouldn’t say that” ever made the person less angry or less ranty? Almost never. In which case, the person will make their post anyway, leaving it up to masses to report it. At that time, Twitter can make the decision to suspend the account and tell the user to delete it, add a warning, or otherwise take action.

Every once in a while, though, someone may appreciate the note. If you’ve ever had a colleague read an email for “tone” in a thorny work situation, you know heeding a yellow flag is often the wisest decision. This warning notice gives users a chance to edit themselves. As a writer, I always appreciate a chance to edit myself. If they flag every damn curse word, though, that will get real annoying real fast. You’re not my mom, Twitter. You’re not the boss of me.

This isn’t your great granddaddies’ book burning. This is 2020. The internet giveth; the internet taketh away. It’s a crying shame that evil creeps in when we’re not looking. Speech has consequences. Users can’t edit tweets, so once it’s out there, it’s out there. Even if they delete a tweet within moments of posting, anyone can screenshot that baby and share it with the world. Part of me says, “Good, let the haters out themselves.”

Twitter has shown itself to be open to differences in opinion, encouraging freedom of expression, and has opened up a whole new line of communication for traditionally underrepresented populations. They are a private company, and their rules and policies are posted. What, you didn’t read the terms of use? Gasp!

It’s Twitter’s rodeo, after all. This warning gives users a quick, added heads up to posting something that will likely be reported/removed anyway. For better or worse, Twitter’s still leaving it up to users to post what they want and deal with the potential fallout. Hey, I have a great idea! How about we all be respectful of each other on the internet, and Twitter won’t have to come up with this kind of thing.

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Yelp adds virtual services classification to help during COVID

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Yelp constantly adds new classifications for how to find a business to meet your needs, now because of COVID they have added virtual services.

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Yelp is making efforts to accommodate businesses whose operations are adapting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Several new features will help businesses display updated services.

The company has added an information category titled virtual service offerings. Business can display service option such as classes, virtual consultations, performances, and tours. Yelpers can search for businesses based upon those offerings.

Yelp has already noticed trends where users are incorporating virtual services into their business profiles. In an report by TechCrunch, Yelp’s head of consumer product Akhil Kuduvalli said “With these new product updates, businesses of all types that are adapting and changing the way they operate will be able to better connect with their customers and potentially find new ones.”

Virtual services in categories like fitness, gyms, home services, real estate, and health are already increasing in popularity. Yelp intends to showcase businesses that are providing those services by creating new Collections.

Once business owners update their virtual service offerings on their Yelp for Business profiles, we will surface those updates to consumers through new call-to-action buttons, by updating the home screen and search results with links to groups of businesses offering these new virtual services, as well as surfacing them in other formats like Collections,” said Kudvalli.

Also in the works is a curbside pickup category for restaurants. Additionally, Yelp introduced a free customized banner for businesses to post updates on their profiles. About 224,000 businesses have used the banner so far.

Yelp hasn’t stopped there. It’s made its Connect feature (which allows businesses to share important updates to all Yelpers on their profile and their email subscribers) free to eligible local businesses as part of the Yelp’s commitment to waive $25 million in fees to support businesses in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

During COVID-19 businesses and consumers need all the help they can get, and thankfully Yelp is there to – help.

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