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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.

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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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Deepfakes can destroy any reputation, company, or country

(MEDIA) Deepfakes have been around for a few years now, but they’re being crafted for nefarious purposes beyond the original porn and humor uses.

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Deepfakes — a technology originally used by Reddit perverts who wanted to superimpose their favorite actresses’ faces onto the bodies of porn stars – have come a long way since the original Reddit group was banned.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) to create bogus videos by analyzing facial expressions to replace one person’s face and/or voice with another’s.

Using computer technology to synthesize videos isn’t exactly new.

Remember in Forrest Gump, how Tom Hanks kept popping up in the background of footage of important historical events, and got a laugh from President Kennedy? It wasn’t created using AI, but the end result is the same. In other cases, such technology has been used to complete a film when an actor dies during production.

The difference between these examples and that latest deepfake technology is a question of ease and access.

Historically, these altered videos have required a lot of money, patience, and skill. But as computer intelligence has advanced, so too has deepfake technology.

Now the computer does the work instead of the human, making it relatively fast and easy to create a deepfake video. In fact, Stanford created a technology using a standard PC and web cam, as I reported in 2016.

Nowadays, your average Joe can access open source deepfake apps for free. All you need is some images or video of your victim.

While the technology has mostly been used for fun – such as superimposing Nicolas Cage into classic films – deepfakes could and have been used for nefarious purposes.

There is growing concern that deepfakes could be used for political disruption, for example, to smear a politician’s reputation or influence elections.

Legislators in the House and Senate have requested that intelligence agencies report on the issue. The Department of Defense has already commissioned researchers to teach computers to detect deepfakes.

One promising technology developed at the University of Albany analyzes blinking to detect deep fakes, as subjects in the faked videos usually do not blink as often as real humans do. Ironically, in order to teach computers how to detect them, researchers must first create many deepfake videos. It seems that deepfake creators and detectors are locked in a sort of technological arms race.

The falsified videos have the potential to exacerbate the information wars, either by producing false videos, or by calling into question real ones. People are already all too eager to believe conspiracy theories and fake news as it is, and the insurgence of these faked videos could be created to back up these bogus theories.

Others worry that the existence of deepfake videos could cast doubt on actual, factual videos. Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University says that deepfakes could lead to “deep denials” – in other words, “the ability to dispute previously uncontested evidence.”

While there have not yet been any publicly documented cases of attempts to influence politics with deepfake videos, people have already been harmed by the faked videos.

Women have been specifically targeted. Celebrities and civilians alike have reported that their likeness has been used to create fake sex videos.

Deepfakes prove that just because you can achieve an impressive technological feat doesn’t always mean you should.

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Red flags to look for when hiring a social media pro

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social Media is a growing field with everyone and their moms trying to become social media managers. Here are a few experts’ tips on seeing and avoiding the red flags of social media professionals.

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If you’re thinking about hiring a social media professional – or are one yourself – take some tips from the experts.

We asked a number of entrepreneurs specializing in marketing and social media how they separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to social media managers, and they gave us some hints about how to spot whose social media game is all bark and no bite.

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Candidates with underwhelming, non-existent, out-of-date, or just plain bad social media pages should obviously get the chop.

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These pros especially hated seeing outdated icons, infrequent posts, and automatic posts. Worse than outdated social media pages were bad social media pages. Marc Nathan of Miller Egan Molter & Nelson provided a laundry list of negative characteristics that he uses to rule out candidates, including “snarky,” “complaining, unprofessional” “too personal” “inauthentic,” and “argumentative.”

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Several entrepreneurs said that they had come across social media managers without “any experience in critical fields: marketing, advertising, strategic planning and/or writing,” to quote Nancy Schirm of Austin Visuals. She explains that it’s not enough to know how to “handle the technology.” Real social media experts must cultivate “instinct borne from actual experience in persuasive communication.”

So, if you’re an aspiring social media manager, go clean up those pages, get some references, and figure out solid metrics for demonstrating your success.

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Pinterest fights anti-vaxx info, urges Facebook to follow suit

(SOCIAL MEDIA) With misinformation continuing to spread online, Pinterest is putting their foot down and urging other networks to do the same.

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The World Health Organization calls anti-vaxxers one of the top 10 health threats in the world.

Pinterest decided to do something about misinformation being spread by anti-vaxxers. You can no longer search for vaccines on Pinterest and get any information, pro or con about vaccines.

You’ll get a message, “People have reported Pins from this search. Let us know if you see something that goes against our policies.” And “Sorry, we couldn’t find any Pins for this search.”

Pinterest’s policy prohibits “This includes promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses and anti-vaccination advice.”

Pinterest is disabling search for vaccines while it finds a better solution to allow material that is appropriate. Users should report pins that are against Pinterest’s policy.

There are ways to get around the general search terms. Type in measles. Fortunately, many of the pins are helpful and promote ways to avoid the measles, namely vaccines. With tons of search variations, there’s almost no way to prevent all misinformation.

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CNBC reports that Pinterest’s ban on vaccines and its determination to stop the spread of misinformation pertaining to public health could put pressure on other companies to do the same. Bloomberg reported that Facebook is “exploring additional measures to best combat the problem.”

Tech companies do have an obligation to provide quality information. But given the problems with fake news on Facebook, I think it’s safe to say that no matter what these companies do, people are going to try and continue to find ways to share bad information.

It’s easy to be deceptive on Facebook and other social media sites. Many people continue to be fooled by fake news posts and phishing emails.

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For now, question everything. Use your critical thinking skills to verify information. Maybe someone will come up with a solution to stop online hoaxes, but then the hoaxers will just find new ways to bend the rules.

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