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OMG McCain just ate an apple!

I can’t quite believe that in a couple of months it will all be over, this Presidential race seems to have dragged on forever. It has been impossible to escape from, whether it’s the TV, newspapers or radio…and this is in little old England for goodness sake! I can’t actually fathom how you folks in the glorious US of A are coping with the incessant coverage. Sarah Palin just changed her hairstyle, **STOP THE PRESS**, Obama bent down to tie his shoe! The Presidential race is the greatest show on earth and the internet is definitely helping the whole world to be its stage.

Granted, it’s pretty darn important

Let me make clear that I do not underestimate the importance of the role of American President. I mean gosh, you get that really cool plane for a start. But I think the excitement and anticipation that comes with the build-up to election day can lead to many a professional faux pas.

Politics in Britain is very different, we don’t have two polar opposite parties to choose from. Realistically, it’s not a great deal that differentiates our two main players. Different personalities, different ideas on tax and the NHS, but nothing radically different. In the US on the other hand, there’s a very clear choice that has to be made.

Aren’t elections supposed to be anonymous?

But one thing that has shocked me about the US election is how passionately people publicly air their political views. We just don’t do that here, well not on such a prolific scale anyway. The sheer brilliance of democracy is that all adults get one vote to do what the bloody hell they like with, in perfect anonymity. I wouldn’t feel comfortable waxing lyrical about my political views, because I don’t really want to offend anyone (unless of course you have a strange beard and I am mocking you for the purpose of the best video blog ever, in which case…prepare to be offended). And it’s not just that I don’t want to offend people, I don’t want people to judge me by what is a very personal decision.

Do I know who you’re voting for?

It has amazed me to see the number of real estate bloggers that really slur the opposition’s candidate and lay all their political views on the line, or should that be the timeline? Twitter has been the worst place for watching RE pro after RE pro make super clear their views. It staggers me that I know some real estate agents’ views on sensitive topics such as abortion.

Maybe I’m just being prude, I am British after all, but I just don’t think the internet is the place to discuss politics. Not when you’re blogging/tweeting/whatevering under your professional identity anyway.

It’s definitely super for potential clients to see a human side of you, and nothing is more boring than the person that only talks house price trends and what a bloomin good broker they are, but next time you’re tweeting about how dumb/stupid/lame you think presidential candidate X is, take 5 seconds to think about who might read it. Because if it’s that candidate’s biggest fan, I doubt they’ll be straight on the phone to work with you.

Poppy Dinsey works in Business Development at Globrix, the UK property search engine. She lives and works in London, which she loves except for the awful weather and lack of good pecan pie. She's got a pretty nifty degree in Eastern European Economics from UCL, which she readily admits she's never put to good use, although she did once dress up a Russian Bond Girl. You can find her on Twitter, 12Seconds, Seesmic and pretty much everywhere that's ever had a website.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Elaine Hanson

    September 24, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Putting my politics on the web is absolutely out of the question for me. I have my personal views and do NOT enjoy discussing politics. That is me. Some people just live for an intelligent political debate. That is them. Some people cannot discuss politics without disparaging others views, or worse, making personal attacks. That is appalling.

  2. @mikeneumann

    September 24, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Poppy,

    I typically avoid politics in work scenarios – there are plenty of good issues to debate just within my little work world.

    The frustrating thing to me about this election is that most of the people (I did say _most_, not all << had to emphasize that because, well, you’ll see why here in a sec.) aren’t paying attention to the issues. They’re voting on “personality” and likability, as defined by our mainstream press. This all started back with the Kennedy/Nixon debate, btw.

    Our press likes to stir the mud, well, so does yours, but yours is funnier. Ours is, just, uh, completely biased for that other guy, except for one network – which gets castigated for calling both sides out on their B.S. I digress.

    The last three elections have been a statistical dead heat. Reason? The candidates are more alike than they are different. That, and America is fully of wishy-washy feel-good Oprahfied Afternoon TV-watching Gimmies. Hi Mom.

    This election is darn important. We’re truly at a precipice between full-blown Socialism, and only partial Nanny-state. You “RE people” ought to pay close attention. If you want things to really sink, just hire that guy who wants the Govt. to totally take over mortgages, investments, and watch – soon, credit card debt.

    My $0.02, er, pesos, for you in Miami.

    — Mike (sure to be feelin’ the love)

  3. Todd Carpenter

    September 24, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    From time to time, I make a decision on whether or not I’m going to let a car merge into traffic based on the bumper stickers on the back of their car. Imagine how much scrutiny I would put into paying someone 6% of the sales price on my home.

    The thing is, I don’t care if someone has an opposing view, it’s when they feel they have to wear that view as a badge of honor that gets me. I think you’re right Poppy. Just because we have the right to free speech, doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea to use it.

  4. Bob

    September 24, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I’m not one to back away from a debate, but I limit myself to those issues where facts exists. That pretty much takes politics off the table for me.

  5. Steve Simon

    September 24, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    You will not win in the long run if you do make it a practice (discussing politics).
    Why? Well you will instantly cut your spheres of influence by half. Whether you meant to or not. The discussion of Religion and or Politics raises the blood pressure to almost the identically dangerous levels. Soon you are surrounded only by those of a like mind; but even that doesn’t last. Those with the same main mindset can be broken down into subsets or factions of the main sector and you begin to again cut the pie in half (or worse).
    I know it’s not a good idea, and every time I break my own rules about having forceful discussions on the subject matter,I get punished 🙂

  6. Thomas Johnson

    September 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I am happy to do business with the 50% of the folks that one of these politico real estate bloggers just pissed off!

  7. Vicki Moore

    September 24, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    My mother always told me politics and religion – both no-no topics. Did I listen to my mother? Wth for? Watching the RNC the other night my friend got so angry she got up and left my house – while her comment “Have an open mind” rang in my ears. It’s funny today. We both laugh about it – thank goodness. I do have an open mind. That’s why I’m watching the dang thing. If I had made up my mind, I would have been watching something on HGTV.

    I want to understand the positions, issues and who the heck the man is. I will be really pissed if I have to listen to another leader of this nation say, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”

  8. Missy Caulk

    September 24, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    “Twitter has been the worst place for watching RE pro after RE pro make super clear their views.” yea it was bugging me so I had to stop following some of the more blatant ones. Oh well, it only comes around every 4 years.

  9. Mark Eibner

    September 24, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    we’re at it again Vote For Your Business This November: Get out of the feed reader and .. https://tinyurl.com/3m4bna

  10. Bill Lublin

    September 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Poppy; Managing the flood of online information that we want to share is a huge issue that isn’t limited to politics, but your point is well made. We talk about “joining the conversation” when we talk about social media, so you would think we would remember the old recommendation that you don’t talk about religion or politics in polite company.

    Its no different when its a virtual conversation-

    😉

  11. Paula Henry

    September 24, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Poopy – Politics rarley mixes with anything, except maybe a few beers and a bar brawl. Many are jsut too opinionated to hear an opposing point of view.

  12. Mack

    September 24, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Poppy, if you think the election process seems to go on forever you are right. For about a year and a half we basically can’t turn on the radio or TV with out some thing being discussed about one of the candidates. Now that the election is getting closer the ads are so frequent I can’t imagine how much money is being spent. Vicki Moore hit the nail on the head – Religion and Politics are off the table for my blog and client conversations. I’m Mack Perry and I approved this message.

  13. ines

    September 24, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Poppy, I’m known to put myself out there – but there is no room for politics in Real Estate (IMHO) – it’s too controversial and personally, I can do without it. I avoid politics and religion and know many don’t agree with me, but it’s my thing.

  14. ines

    September 24, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Oh, I forgot – it’s nice to get the point of view from someone from the UK – (I have the S. American perspective and the Spaniard one)

  15. Jay Thompson

    September 24, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Excellent points Poppy. I’ve attempted to steer clear of politics on my blog (aside from the occasional “informational only” posts about ballot propositions and presenting both sides of issues of local interest).

    I did have a serious backslide during one of the party’s conventions while watching the candidates acceptance speech while Twittering. That was a mistake that I won’t repeat.

    I was even torn about whether to place a “Support Our Troops” ribbon on my Jeep. I’m sure it annoys some, but oh well — it’s staying there. One nutjob gave me an earful about it at a gas station. I wouldn’t want her for a client anyway.eve

  16. Lisa Sanderson

    September 25, 2008 at 5:14 am

    Poppy: How many times does your name ‘accidentally’ get spelled ‘Poopy’? How do you feel about that? LOL

    Seriously, I am glad you brought this up and I am even more glad to hear that the politics-on-the-sleeve thing annoys other people as well. I have been thinking about un-following a couple because I am so tired of seeing it in my feed. I barely watch tv anymore because I just can’t stomach the spin, so why do I want to hear these regurgitated arguments in twitter?

    One last thing, @mikeneumann…leave Oprah out of this. She is one of the few positive voices out there and we all would do well to have more of the ‘wishy washy feel good’ stuff playing over and over in our brains instead of the crap that tries to overtake our minds.The world would truly be a better place.

  17. Matt Stigliano

    September 25, 2008 at 10:57 am

    But one thing that has shocked me about the US election is how passionately people publicly air their political views.

    Poppy – You have to remember that this is the same country that when our children go missing or our family is murdered, we jump on the television to give interviews in seconds flat. My wife, being English, is always amazed by that. I never noticed it so much, until we were married, but it is a bit twisted at times. In America we love to be on TV (ever seen the kids that hang out behind a reporter giving a live report?). It just seems like something that’s embedded in us. And the same goes for politics. We love to know people are listening to us.

    Me, I keep it to myself. I have strong opinions, but am always listening to both sides of the argument no matter what the topic. Sometimes I learn something and find myself reconsidering my position. That’s what adaptability and change are all about.

    I agree with the idea of politics being a bit much for some public forums, but then again, I’ve actually seen a few business cards here in San Antonio that proudly declare their religion in real estate…which shocks me just as much.

  18. Eric Bouler

    September 25, 2008 at 11:15 am

    50 % are for your canidate and 50% are more than likely against your canidate. If I had a political blog that would be different. I do talk issues that may have things to do with politics and each side has its pros and cons.

    Much better to talk about politics face to face. Then its better to review one issue at a time because there are always 2 sides and nationally we see very little facts and lots of fiction.

  19. Teresa Boardman

    September 25, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I don’t talk about politics anywhere on the internet. I don’t mention religion either., and you just explained why for me. thanks

  20. Brad Coy

    September 27, 2008 at 4:17 am

    What Todd, Thomas, and Teresa said 🙂

    And just for the asking. Could somebody from across the pond come over and teach our politicians a thing or two about keeping their religious views and rhetoric private?

  21. Poppy Dinsey

    November 4, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I wrote this post on politcal views and tweet streams over a year ago, but I still agree with it https://bit.ly/5o8ei.

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Snapchat shifts strategy to open their arms to competitors

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Snapchat opens some interesting doors after keeping the padlocked for years – will this new strategy solidify their status as a digital giant?

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There’s no denying the notable impact that Snapchat has had on the visual side of social media apps. From knock-off Snapchat-esque filters to more egregious rips such as the “Stories” feature, allusions to Snapchat are inherent in the bulk of social media platforms. Snapchat’s response is simple: to monetize these allusions via the Snapchat Story Kit.

The “Stories” feature has rapidly become a massive part of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, with over a billion daily story users across these three services. Comparatively, Snapchat enjoys around 186 million daily story users, making it nearly impossible for the original story curator to compete.

Like many modern businesses, Snapchat’s initial response was to ignore the competition in a display of relentless, self-indulgent optimism. Now that such optimism has been dampened by cold, hard numbers, Snapchat is turning to another venue: sharing.

By sharing their “Stories” feature via a new developer suite — called the “Snapchat Story Kit” — Snapchat will be able to monetize its most ubiquitous aspect while maintaining some semblance of branding across any participating platforms.

In theory, the Snapchat Story Kit will allow app users to post their Snapchat stories to apps such as Tinder, Twitter, and so on; this will enable the same level of story interaction one would find within Snapchat or on Facebook without taking the focus away from Snapchat’s API.

Since any story posted via the Snapchat Story Kit will still go through Snapchat rather than a nonpartisan third-party app or program, this move will continue to emphasize Snapchat’s presence in the visual world.

There are a few possible downsides to this power-grab, not least of which is Facebook’s level of control at the time of this writing. Since Facebook already uses its own version of the “Stories” feature on all of its most-frequented apps, Snapchat has essentially missed out on some of the most powerful opportunities to monetize its features.

It’s also within the realm of reason to assume that Snapchat will require Snapchat Story Kit users to jump through additional hoops before they can use its features—a move that, similarly to the Bitmoji jump, may prove to be more annoying than hindering.

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MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

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Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

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You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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How to spot if your SEO, PPC, social media marketing service provider is a con-artist

(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con-artist? Too often, we trust our guts and go with the gregarious person, but too much is on the line to keep doing that with your business.

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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.

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 a 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 is really just an expert in bullshit with a likeable 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 by 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.

The Questions:

  • 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 CV’s?
  • 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 skill sets. 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 likeable 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 professional 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 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.

    Final thoughts:

    “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 up front. You are no obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your businesses success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.

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