Author Archives: alv321

Redfin and Zillow – not so different after all

I was on the market for a house a couple of months and used the Redfin app to look for homes. I do wonder if using Zillow would have been any different. I searched in Topsy and Social mention for both companies to see if I could find any reason why a regular ‘Joe’ like myself would want to use either.
Selena Gomez put her house on the market in early May! That was the reason why there were so many tweets on May 1st. Aside from a celebrity’s house being listed on Redfin, it is not very clear what can be deciphered from the sentiment numbers. From the Zillow side, it seems that their announcement to predict future home values got a lot of attention on May 8th, along with some ‘positive’ labeled sentiments. Sentiment scores from both Topsy or Zillow were relatively constant even during these type of announcements.
Both companies have many neutral sentiments; my reasoning is because costumers are not paying for the services, so it is not common for someone to complain. Zillow is a more widely known company and their social media data reflects that. Both Redfin and Zillow seem to be responsive to tweets addressed to them, and no groundbreaking occurrences have come from these two companies lately. It is safe to say social media content on Redfin and Zillow does not help determine which one has a better application or features, but we can say that they are both responsive to their followers and Zillow has a greater audience tuned in.



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by | May 19, 2014 · 2:55 pm

Homeless Shelter Directory


Below is an update from the homeless shelter ‘Adult Service Center’ located in Downtown Seattle on 3rd Ave (between Lenora and Virginia). This is the same update that is found in many other listed shelters in

Shelter Information Last Update Date: 2012-02-14 16:15:46
Important: Many of these shelters now have waiting lists. Please call before going to them. Many waiting lists are very long. Shelters and service also go out of business. Always call ahead to confirm that this location is still active. If you find that this location is no longer operating, please send us a comment using the form below.

As you may reason, a homeless person would probably not have access to a phone, less a computer. There is definitely an opportunity to use social media to find other ways to get the word out there for those that need to know.

Homeless Shelter Directory (HSD) is doing a great service in our comunities because they collect information of homeless shelters and service organizations. This is a great directory, and there is plenty of opportunity to improve the communication efforts to both, volunteers and the actual homeless. HSD does have a Facebook page with around 5000 likes, but their last activity was on December of last year. There are new comments left by Facebook users, but it doesn’t seem that HSD responds to the question and comments posted. HSD does not have a twitter account, although there are some tweets that reference HSD. Needless to say, HSD does not really follow a content calendar. If any, the content calendar comes from the local organizations that set up ‘events,’ such as for food-banks or soup-kitchens. HSD’s purpose is mainly to communicate who (non-profits) is doing what, and it allows the website visitor to add their own ‘homeless’ organization. HSD promotes volunteering opportunities, but I do not see any outreach volunteering efforts for the homeless people themselves, as for helping them identify shelter and food locations. Using social media to recruit volunteers for the purposes of creating methods to expand the communication channels between the homeless and the people that want to help is something I’d like to explore.



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Playstation vs Xbox

In November of 2010, I was faced with a decision that committed me (dare I say) to a lifelong commitment – Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 w/ Kinect (Oh I wished I had known about the system 2 Decision-Making process then.) Fortunately I was able to decide via trial and error, as I returned the Xbox 360 w/ Kinect that same day I bought it because… let’s just say a software update could’t fix all of its problems.

Today, we are in a new era, where social media can influence the purchasing decisions of consumers. After taking a look at some of the social media presence of Playstation and Xbox, I can tell that they are very active participants in this world. However, it is hard for me to determine if it is part of their social culture and more importantly if it generates added value for each company.

Screen shot 2014-04-13 at 7.56.18 PM

Today Playstation and Xbox are part of many social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. Both are very involved and each show almost daily activity, more so in the aforementioned media platforms. Many of the posts are from the company’s themselves, introducing new products, events, competitions, promotions, sweepstakes and more. Both companies seem to be using these platforms more as a marketing tool, rather than a place for users to ask questions directly to the company. On the flip side, it seems that users also don’t use social media platforms to obtain answers to questions from the company. Users blog, tweet, comment, but I perceive the expectation is for other users to respond, not a representative from the company necessarily. Going back to the question of culture, I think that while both companies are very active in many of the social media channels, the company itself cannot adopt these channels into their culture unless the user interaction with the company is more developed. Both the users and company need to know that if a question is posted on twitter (for example), the company will be expected to respond (at least more often then not.) In the future, we just may see a more live feed of interaction via these platforms, similar to those feeds from live television shows (i.e ESPN, MTV).

Playstation does lead the amount of social media traction, possibly due to its greater user base. While this data may not translate directly with value added to the company, it is an indication of the number of people that are paying (some) attention to their products and services. I’d like to point out two social media aspects of playstation that I believe is improving the interactivity with their users – Greatness awaits and Greatness exchange. Greatness awaits allows the user to share an in-game screenshot of their game for a chance to be in a weekly poll where anyone can vote on which screenshot is best.   Greatness Exchange allows the user to exchange their ‘trophies’ earned while playing games for sweepstake entries. Both of these programs provide an incentive for users to play more games. In addition, it gives potential future costumers an extra reason to choose Playstation over Xbox.

P.S. – I may be dealing with the same decision late this year, PS4 or Xbox 1??

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