I am asked several times a week about the proliferation of Social Media within the Property Preservation Industry. When Foreclosurepedia first came on the scene several years ago, there had never been (and still is not) a Digital Presence discussing the Industry. When Foreclosurepedia put together the Property Preservation Consortium (Formerly the National Property Preservation Guild Group) on LinkedIn there had never been a Social Media Group dedicated to the Property Preservation Industry. When we put together the Foreclosurepedia YouTube Channel there had never been a Video Channel dedicated to the Industry. Finally, when we founded the National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG), there wasn’t an active Organization of Contractors led by Contractors in the Industry.
So, you might ask, if you are so are so hip to the Concept of Social Media, why address the pitfalls of it? That’s a good question. Two reasons: First and foremost, I anticipate the Property Preservation Industry attempting to reign in the ability of Contractor’s legal rights under the First Amendment utilizing Social Media.
The next and far larger reason is that how a Company presents itself by and through Social Media can make or break the Company. Take Foreclosurepedia, for example. Foreclosurepedia the Blog is actually ran by the Foreclosurepedia Media Institute (FMI). FMI runs the Blog; deals with advertising like Google AdSense and other Firms and soon with Industry and Contractor Accounts; provides Commercial Business Intelligence; Consulting; Custom Coding (We are on the Google Developer List); and other ancillary business opportunities. Foreclosurepedia the Company deals with the generic Property Preservation services; new and remodel residential construction; specialty Local and Wide Area Network Cabling; and landscape architecture.
Both FMI and Foreclosurepedia compliment each other in that Foreclosurepedia benefits from both the exposure and Intelligence gathered by FMI. Ms. Mills owns Foreclosurepedia and I own FMI.
The problems which come into play with other Companies in this Industry is that they walk a tightrope. What complicates things even more is that whether you are a Contractor with employees or subcontractors, when statements are made publicly, they directly reflect upon your business. Even more so, when National, Regional or Otherwise Unspecified Order Mills allow employees to make statements Financial Institutions become extremely nervous as the Comments are reflective upon the Banks which then come under scrutiny of the US Government and make lobbying efforts more difficult.
When you look at Associations such as the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) and their Social Media trek, you find a very conservative mindset. Both their Board of Directors and Members are extremely wise, in my opinion, to avoid the pitfalls in a 24/7/365 real time world. Now, I am not sure if they have a written Policy governing these matters; I have only found ONE occasion wherein an Issue was newsworthy and it was due to association not statement. The NAMFS are consummate professionals when it comes to Social Media; however, I would say that they should perhaps speak a bit more on Industry issues — not the Hot Button Issues, but things which might help educate everyone without having to pay the $600 per ticket to hear folks like Condi Rice and Laura Bush ramble when they have never even been near a mold contaminated home.
When you look, though, at the National Property Preservation Guild (NPPG), it is like night and day. Daily gaffes or “typos” seem to be the norm as opposed to the exception. Looking back upon the NPPGs history; from when I left the NPPG until now, the onerous Statements coming from its Board leave the Industry scratching its collective heads.
Prior to becoming a Texas Non Profit, the previous Chairman of the NPPG had openly pondered the idea of becoming a For Profit Company. Now, making a decision between Incorporation and Limited Liability Company is one thing, but teetering back and forth between For Profit and Non Profit raises more than a few eye brows.
When the Leadership of any Company voice publicly their disdain for anything it becomes marked by that which it says. For example, taking extreme positions; open attacks upon Contractors and the Media, is a dicey situation. With the NPPG it is commonplace; with NAMFS the wisdom of Diplomacy shines through.
To stand the test of time, which the NAMFS has done with shining colors, requires skilled professionals. Take for example my interactions with NAMFS. The NAMFS and I rarely see eye-to-eye on much. They know that and my writings reflect that. What I respect, though, is that in as much as they are capable of, they are transparent to inquiries. Why? Partially, because the Law requires it as they are a Non Profit and partially because I believe that the maturity of their Board of Directors realizes that they ultimately will be the Association which will prevail as Regulations come to the Industry. Those whom I speak with at NAMFS additionally have the ability to move beyond the trivialities of disagreements to hopefully arrive at Accords which assist both Contractors and Vendor Companies (see I am capable of detente) find middle ground.
The NPPG, on the other hand, has a sandbox mentality. The new Public Information Officer (PIO), Peggy Corino, has taken the position that the best way to communicate with a Media Outlet is to attack them. While I can appreciate that abrasive positions like this may have been condoned at Mid Ohio Field Services where she was a Regional Manager — the same Mid Ohio Field Services which ABC News documented and we are covering in an expose wherein David Spillers and other Contractors were not paid for services rendered (David has been somewhat compensated and that will be Published later this week) — it probably is not the most professional way for a Texas Non Profit to engage the Public.
Does this mean that Ms. Corino played a role in the Spillers’ incident? I do not think so. We spoke with her last week and the world was a bowl of cherries then. What it means is that everyone has a role to play.
My role is to report upon information which I find and feel my readership will be interested in. The Property Preservation Industry is my beat; I rarely opine upon, say quantum physics even though I love reading In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat. The folks at NAMFS, whom respond to my inquiries, have a job description to present the official Position of the NAMFS with respect to the interrogatories presented, personal opinions aside. It would seem that the NPPG would understand the novel concepts at play here.
The Freedom of the Press was held so high by our Founding Fathers that they felt compelled to place it in the Top Position in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States. While Presidential Administrations may not agree with what the Press writes, they have never, to my knowledge, launched personal smear campaigns against Journalists. Even more so, Non Profit Corporations are held accountable to far more stringent requirements. The reality is that Non Profit Corporations exist ONLY BY THE GRACE AND AT THE LEISURE OF the taxpayer. At any time whatsoever, the Accounting and Minutes of a Non Profit Corporation may be requested by any Member of the Public. The results of these requests have seen both the downfall and criminal indictments of many a Non Profit Corporation.
Foreclosurepedia took a very close look at the 990 Filings of NAMFS last year. We also probed into their Constitution and By Laws. We felt it was legitimate and partially published upon our findings. With their Election Cycle coming into full swing we may also look a little bit more at how the NAMFS actually handles its Elections. With their Constitution and By Laws publicly displayed we find both this transparency and the ability of the Members to Elect the President and Vice President to pass the proverbial smell test for Democracy.
The NPPG, when juxtaposed, is far different. To date, we find no public display of a Constitution or By Laws. We were sent a copy of the NPPG By Laws (which at least fulfilled the legal requirement) as there is apparently no Constitution and were troubled by the fact that the Board of Directors are legally only allowed to be voted upon BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS! A simple reading through of this convolution makes one dizzy. It would appear that one section offsets the other and there isn’t even a Severability Clause. So, for Foreclosurepedia to simply place NAMFS under the microscope and give a pass to NPPG would be both unfair and unethical. At the end of the day; even taking into consideration that I am an Advocacy Journalist, any Organization alleging to be for the Contractors deserves even more scrutiny than the Industry itself.
3.4 – ELECTION AND TERM OF OFFICE
The Voting Members shall appoint the initial Officers of the Guild. Thereafter, the Board of Directors at the regular annual meeting of the Board of Directors shall elect the Officers annually. If the election of Officers shall not be held at such meeting, such election shall be held as soon thereafter as conveniently possible. New offices may be created and filled at any meeting of the Board of Directors. Each Officer shall hold office for one year or until his successor shall have been duly elected and qualified.
So, who died and made Foreclosurepedia G-d as the polemic goes?! No one did. We ask no one to read our material; actually we recommend that if you have heart trouble, ulcers, are on illicit drugs and/or alcohol or really do not want a dose of Reality In Your Face, that you DO NOT read Foreclosurepedia. We are not for the faint of heart; the Industry compares the experience of reading Foreclosurepedia similar to having teeth pulled without anesthesia while chewing on aluminum foil with cavities.
What Foreclosurepedia wants and what we will accomplish is the eventual leveling of the Playing Field. We fully understand and appreciate the fact that the Order Mills developed the Infrastructure which moves Work Orders to and from Contractors and Financial Institutions. We have NO PROBLEMS with that.
We feel, though, that the current environment of shifting liability onto Contractors while continuing to obscenely cut even poverty level pricing to pose a Clear and Present Danger to the Safety and Security of not only Contractors, but to the American Public. We further believe that if left unchecked, the reckless behavior of a small handful of Order Mills will eventually pose a Clear and Present Danger to the National Security of the United States. We base this upon the stark reality that if these few Order Mills are allowed to continue to breech the dwellings of unsuspecting US Citizens and continue to pursue their disregard for the need of Regulations in this Wild West that the very Financial Markets whom are dependent upon real estate as economic capital will soon find out that the foreign nations financing the bonds will pull the plug.
We encourage Members of both NAMFS and NPPG to reach out with questions or comments which they would like looked at. The Membership of both entities should be, at the end of the day, the decision makers lest they end up with the quagmire we see today in Washington, DC. We encourage the Members of both NAMFS and NPPG to inquire as to how their information is stored. Is it safe? Is it stored only on a single server and is that server protected? Finally, if you have suggestions on Issues which are impacting you and you feel your Organization is not responsive, feel free to reach out to us and we will see if Foreclosurepedia is able to get a resolution for you! At the end of the day Foreclosurepedia exists for YOU the reader and subscriber!
Foreclosurepedia NEVER HAS AND NEVER WILL CHARGE for assisting Contractors with help in Industry Complaints. The NPPG Board Members have inquired about such in the past in an attempt, we believe, to discourage Contractors from getting the help they need. We subsist SOLEY upon the generosity of your Subscriptions to finance our day-to-day Journalism. Make no mistake, we are not going to retire on $19.95 Subscription fees! With respect to our DUNS/SAM Account Packages, we do charge for these and have a 100% Satisfaction Rate.
Never allow those whom would scare you away from getting the help you need! If you are being abused or not being paid, Foreclosurepedia will help you FOR FREE! Do not allow the wolves in sheep’s clothing to deter you in your quest to be paid for the work you have performed!
Nothing like Directors, huh?! Never can have enough of them much like Board Members. So, without further adieu, here is our list of Issues to consider when treading upon the Thin Ice of Social Media!
Why is your company using social media? Who is expected to use social media on behalf of the company? Are other employees expected or encouraged to help with the company’s social media agenda?
Who owns your company’s social media account(s)? Do social media connections belong to the employee who has been interacting with them or do they belong to the company? What naming conventions should be used for social media accounts?
How do you want your employees to identify themselves? How do you want them to respond to comments, both positive and negative? Do you provide training and resources to help employees address comments, especially negative ones, about the company?
Do your employees understand that they are responsible for what they say online regarding the company? Have you addressed the company’s expectations for employees’ personal use of social media outside of work?
Do you know our audience? Who is responsible for building your social media community? Do you train employees to build the kind of community that is best for the company?
Do your employees understand what company information is considered to be confidential? Do they know what can and cannot be shared in a public forum? Do they know how to give proper attribution when sharing information, videos, photos and quotes? Do employees know how to administer social media privacy settings?
Do you have guidelines for time spent on personal social media sites during work hours? Are your employees accountable for their own results?
8. Mobile Security
How do you address the subject of personal mobile devices in the workplace? Can/should employees use their mobile devices to
access social media at work? Do you expect employees to use their mobile devices to interact on behalf of the company after work
hours? Who maintains mobile devices used for company social media? What happens when devices are lost or stolen?