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Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN

Live From Saint Paul

The Republican national convention, referred to as RNC08 is being held just a few blocks from my home. I live in St. Paul, Minnesota. I point out the location of the convention because it is one of the many facts that seems to be escaping the attention of the national media.

It has been an interesting experience, and the convention doesn’t start until Monday. We locals started spotting the FBI agents in early August. Next came the media brining huge trailers, satellite dishes and miles, and miles of cable with them. Then the semi’s started rolling in with all the food and beer.

Where to Find News

Late last week local news organizations started reaching out to people like me asking for any news or photos we might be getting so that they could include a kind of man on the street perspective on their web sites. I have been contributing photos and commentary via Twitter and Flickr.

Local news outlets are scrambling to be noticed by national media, and the non-traditional media outlets are scrambling to beat the main stream media.

Where are the Protesters?

The war protesters are out in full force. The local and non-traditional media are picking it up and reporting on the arrests and raids. The protesters, the local media, the national media, and the republicans all seem to be using the same hash tags on the internet #RNC08.

It didn’t take me long to discover something that I have known for a long time. The best source of news seems to be the internet. Last night I discovered that by using twitter I could keep track of various news organizations and the protesters. I also discovered that I could pass information back and forth between news organizations by re-tweeting some of the remarks, and the national news media re-tweeted some of my observations.

Twitter, blogs and mobile blogs are having a huge impact on news coverage. They have also become the great equalizer in that anyone can publish and get news. I can say for sure that the protesters are not getting much national news coverage. I guess there is nothing for the national news media to cover if protesters and demonstrators are in jail and can not assemble or speak. If I got all of my news through mainstream media channels I would be missing out on almost all of the pre-convention action.

A local radio station is asking the general public to watch the national media and report errors in coverage. So far there have been plenty because in spite of all the fancy equipment organizations like CNN brought into town they don’t seem to have maps or a GPS. They sit in the heart of the city of St. Paul and report news live from Minneapolis. Can the general public really rely on reporters who don’t even know where they are?

. . and the national news media covers local real estate?

It is the same with the national coverage of the Real Estate market by the national media. They don’t know what is really going on in a given town or neighborhood. Consumers may be better off reading our blogs and getting that street level view of reality from people who are engaged in the business every day.

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  1. Missy Caulk

    August 31, 2008 at 7:55 am

    This is an interesting year, huh? Yesterday I followed the MI game on a live blog, the comments throughout were coming in fast and furious.
    It is a whole new era for the conventions too. I think Twitter, blogs etc have become the great equalizer too. HAVE FUN!!

  2. Mack in Atlanta

    September 1, 2008 at 4:53 am

    If John McCain wanted to improve his exposure on the internet he should have selected Teresa Boardman as his running mate!

  3. Glenn fm Naples

    September 1, 2008 at 6:25 am

    National media do in fact read our blogs with real estate market conditions, but they are looking for facts and not spin. Unfortunately, too many real estate agents put a spin on their reporting, which greatly depreciates the value of the individual post.

  4. Teresa Boardman

    September 1, 2008 at 7:13 am

    The national media does not put a spin on the news? wow they have you fooled. They spin it by what they report, what they don’t report and how they report it. I have dealt with a few. They call looking for drama. They have the story all planned out and call Realtors until they find one or two who back it up. They need to sell papers, magazines and ads on television. Yes they are biased.

  5. Bob

    September 1, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Everybody puts a spin on stuff based on their own vested interests.

  6. Louis Cammarosano

    September 1, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for the coverage

    Paid journalism is inherently suspect as they write for their media owners who need stories that create interest in their product so they can gain readers/views and sell newspapers and ads

    Blogging news is also inherently suspect, while it may not have a direct profit motive, often it has something more suspect – an interest in pursuing its own brand of the truth.

    Having both bloggers and journalists out there gives us many points of view from which some semblance of the truth can be formed. This is certainly better than having just paid journalists covering out news.

  7. Glenn fm Naples

    September 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Of course the national media spins stories to generate revenues. But how many real estate agents previously had the experience of taking a course on dealing with the press?

  8. Steve Simon

    September 2, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Until you have spent some time as an elected official you really have no idea at what depths the News Media will sink to…
    Read my profile.
    I have seen misquotes (known to be a misquote in advance of distribution) used as headlines.
    I have seen the with-holding of information that changes the entire context of a an event.
    I have seen thousands and thousands of dollars spent in one sided opposition research while major blunders of the other side are not even mentioned.
    Depending on the organization this one sided harang’s predisposed tilt is also usually predictable…

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.



Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.



Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?


Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.



social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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