Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sometimes,  I think,  'I owe all it all to pie pictures'.     After getting back into socializing with my online friends,  my dividends picked back up,   I started selling shares again every day and 'lo and behold after 9 months on the Avenue  (e)LIBDRONE is trading over 100 eaves/share.   (Of course my high flying social media friends,  who had their century marks months ago are quick to tell me that 200 is the new 100. And I sigh just a little.

My book  Walking Down The Avenue-- a concise guide to success on that hot social stock market game Empire
Avenue is now available on Amazon Kindle:

Buy now on Kindle only 99 cents!

In the new year I plan to release further revisions,  as Empire Avenue grows and changes.    The current 1.1 release is up to ate for all of the new changes on Empire Avenue,  except for Missions.     Look for a version 1.2 that will include an all new section about Missions sometime in January.     In the meantime,   a very Merry Christmas to you and your friends and families.      I hope that you have some yummy things on tap to eat and will get a chance to have some special time with those you love.      Happy Holidays, my friends.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I had a heart attack last weekend.

I am now at home recovering.    It will take me some time to get back to my previous level of social media involvement.    But today,  I find myself wanting to count my blessings and give thanks for them.

I am extremely grateful to the staff at St. Clare's hospital here in Lakewood and St. Joseph's hospital in Tacoma.    I feel so blessed by all of the help and kindness I received every step along the way.    I am also grateful to the Pierce County MedEvac guys who rushed me from the ER at St. Clare's to the Cath Lab at St. Joe's.   They couldn't have been nicer or more helpful.

The cardiologist and the team at St. Joe's Cath Lab worked really hard to make me comfortable and proceeded immediately with the cardiac catheterization procedure.     I feel as though I was very lucky in that using angioplasty and placing a stent they were able to resolve my heart problems without need for further surgery.

I am so grateful to my huzband,  Ron,  who was such a huge help.   I am so happy and grateful to be back at home with him.       I am grateful for the insulin and other meds the hospital gave me to take home with me.    My blood sugar is down to 240 today and I expect that with continuing to take my Lantis every day it will be down to a normal range in less than a week.     I was also thrilled that my blood pressure in the hospital was normal every time they checked it after the procedure.    

The smaller good news is that my cardiologist is also affiliated with the clinic I had been going to.   The doctor told me to just ignore the nasty letters from billing and make an appointment and get seen.    So Ron is going to call and try to schedule that next week.    I also have a follow up visit with the cardiologist scheduled for 11/22.

The big good news is that my two year waiting period for Medicare is about to end.  We expect we will get the letter/enrollment package any day now and I will probably be covered on Medicare from Jan 1.    

I am so grateful for all of the love and light that has been put in my path this week.     I am sleeping a lot, taking my medicine and doing my best to recover.       I will be back to social media as soon as I can.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Only One For 1.1

I'm just thrilled that on Tuesday November 8th I will be publishing Walking Down The Avenue, release 1.1. It is not a major re-write.   If you've already downloaded and read release 1.0,  there really isn't anything brand new and earth shattering in 1.1 that you would likely want or need to buy another copy for the .1 upgrade.    I have expanded the lists of connected networks to include all of the new possibilities,  and I have made a few minor changes to accurately reflect the current state of game play on Empire Avenue.

The folks whom I really want to push this book upon are the newest newbies,  continually arriving on Empire Avenue.   I do believe that having the book very early on in their Empire Avenue experience will give the most bang for the book and help newbies much more quickly understand how to use and play on the Avenue.   Since my goal is to try to pitch the book mostly to brand new players,   my marketing will be very different this time.     I will not be doing any shareholder mail promotions and I only intend to distribute one  100% discount coupon.    I will be sending it to my low volume e-mail list only.    You can sign up in the sidebar at the right.    Everyone who has signed up for the list by Tuesday November 8th  will get an e-mai on that date which will contain the one and only coupon code which will be valid until the end of the year, December 31, 2011.      I hope that many of those who receive the coupon code will take it upon themselves to pass it along to newbies as they meet them on the Avenue.      It is find to share the coupon directly with any one other user by any private communications.     I specifically ask that anyone receiving this coupon NOT post it to any discussions, groups, bulletin boards, listerservs or any other means of communicating with more than one person at a time.


The price of the new 1.1  edition will only be 99cents and my hope is that with a lot less coupons going out,  at least some of my audience will choose to pay the dollar and get the book.    My sincerest thanks to each and every one of you who have downloaded and read Walking Down The Avenue.     I have had so much fun on Empire Avenue and in my online social life on the various sites and networks.     It's been a real joy to work on the book,  and I am very much looking forward to releasing a slide show presentation of Walking Down The Avenue which I hope will add real value to the material.     So don't forget and don't be shy-- sign up for my low volume e-mail list and as soon as release 1.1 is published I will shoot you a coupon code so you can download the latest copy  and keep it handy to share with any newbies you meet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Walking Down The Avenue v1.0 coming next Thursday!

Dups and Aaron and the team did not defeat me.   As I had feared all along,  they did make multiple significant changes to Empire Avenue this week.   But I am pleased to say that I have just finished all of the revisions.     One more through proof-reading tomorrow or the next day and Walking Down The Avenue v 1.0  will be ready to "smash" into a real eBook.

A friend who is a retired graphic designer made the book cover for me,  using a public domain image.   I'm thrilled with the cover  (Which looks So much nicer than my very amateurish effort on the beta).  I expect that I will upload it to Smashwords on Tuesday.  Provided there are no problems with the upload and it all goes according to plan,  I may give the book's sharehloders ((e)WALKING) the first sneak peak via a shareholder mail on Wednesday.   Then starting Thursday I have a list of 14 people,  all of whom have lots and lots of shareholders,  who have agreed to send out a shareholder mail containing a 100% off coupon.

Although the price is going up from free to $2.99,  I don't expect to sell many at all at that price this first month.  I will be promoting the book with the 100% off coupon all over the place and hope to get twice as many people to download the $2.99 version as did the free version, but I'm not really expecting that many of them will pay for it.    What I hope is that Empire Avenue continues to evolve, change and grow.   To a point where a year down the line,  hundreds of newcomers each day get the book recommended to them from the first thousand or so who get to read it for free.

If you'd like to be one of those first thousand,  you might sign up for my very low volume mailing list in the sidebar.    On September 1st,  I plan to mail the 100% off coupon to my e-mail list.    It will only be the second e-mail I have ever sent out on that list,  which is really only for updates about Walking Down The Avenue.  So if you'd like to peruse the eBook when it's published next month,  please fill out the form and check your e-mail on 9/1/2011.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It seems as though...

I will just never be a consistent, regular personal blogger.    While Empire Avenue has made some changes this month,  in particular a new and improved layout for profiles and support for mobile check in service Four Square and iPhone photo sharing suite Instagram.     So I am going to have to do some re-writing and revising in the next two weeks,  for the most part the book's text will stand as written.      I am going to allow a handful of other players to send out a free coupon code for Walking Down The Avenue 1.0 via shareholder mail.     I will also send out the coupon code via shareholder mail to both my (e)LIBDRONE and (e)WALKING accounts and via e-mail to everyone who signs up for my mailing list.  (Look in the right sidebar!)    For those who do not receive a coupon code,  the list price will be $2.99.   Since I will be heavily promoting the 100% discount coupon,  I don't know how many copies I may or may not actually sell very many copies,  but I am looking forward to at least potentially beginning to make some money from the eBook.

Still to be done,  I need to get a new book cover image ready.   I also need to finalize arrangements with the folks who will be sending out the coupon codes for me,  and make those last changes and additions to the manuscript.    August 30 will be here before I know it.  (Although the book will officially launch on September 1st,  I intend to actually upload it on August 30th,  to allow time to be sure that the book is up and available on launch day.)   I am so pleased with all of the great people I am meeting on Empire Avenue and am especially grateful to the nearly 250 folks who (as of this writing) have downloaded the free beta edition of Walking Down The Avenue.    The free beta will continue to be available until approximately August 30th-- the new 1.0 version will replace the beta version on Smashwords.    If you download the beta version from Smashwords prior to the upgrade,  you will be able to re-download that beta version again for as long as Smashwords exists.    However, you will not be able to download the new 1.0 version unless you buy it,  either for $2.99 or using a coupon code as described above.

Thank you so much for your help and support.   I look forward to continuing to write and update Walking Down The Avenue for as long as Empire Avenue itself keeps going.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting ready for 1.0

On September 1st I will be releasing version 1.0  of my eBook Walking Down The Avenue.   At that time I will raise the price from free to 99 cents.   I feel certain that I will not distribute as many paid copies right off the bat as I did free copies,  but my  strategy with this book has been as a long term project.  If, as I hope, Empire Avenue has a nice long run and the game continues to constantly evolve and change,  I should be able to continue publishing up-dated versions every two or three months.

Actually,  I am hoping to have the new text and all of the edits done and the new and improved book cover image uploaded by August 30th or so,  so that I can make sure that everything is working correctly.   Then on September 1st I will announce the new book release in a guest blog post on a popular social media blog.   A free coupon code will be available to Empire Avenue shareholders,  both mine and those of the host of my guest blog post.     I will probably be fairly free in giving out the coupon code to shareholders.     I will also be distributing the coupon code via my e-mail list.   So if you haven't already,  you might want to sign up in the sidebar at the right.   This is a very low volume mailing list.   Every six to eight weeks, at most I will send a new message.   So far the only message I have sent was to announce the availability of the beta version of Walking. I give you my word that I will never be a spambot.

How much work I am going to have to do on revisions depends largely on how much Dups and the team change the game between now and around August 23rd.    I have already made some updates and revisions and begun adding new material,  but I am very much at the mercy of developments on the Avenue as to how much updating I will have to do.   I am so pleased and grateful to everyone who has downloaded and read Walking Down The Avenue and especially to the 32 of you who have subscribed and even more grateful to the 15 folks who opened the message.   So here is just a little added incentive to sign up for my mailing list-- everyone who is subscribed by August 31st will continue to receive a free coupon code for my eBook for as long as I publish it.    As I said I plan initially to be very free in handing out the free coupon code,  but just as what is now free will cost 99 cents next month,  I don't plan on giving the book away forever.   So be one of the few who have the savvy to sign up now and continue to get the most useful eBook about Empire Avenue for as long as the game goes on.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sometimes....A Bear Just Has To Be A Bear

My friends who know me well already know that I am a bear.  Both in the bear sense and  in being especially fond of bears iconicly and totemicly.    In Walking Down The Avenue I wrote that the Books index on Empire Avenue was such a natural fit that I would not switch to another index just to be a CEO.    And yet today,  I just did.   After three months of being visually identified mostly with my Libdrone Books logo, with scads of pie pictures and for awhile with a Seattle Space Needle picture I used as my Facebook avatar,   I decided on a whim this morning to post a handful of public domain bear photographs on my Facebook page.     And rather a lot of my friends Liked them.


I previously stated that when I reached 2.3 million eaves in net wealth I would sell off some shares and buy my third Bigger Piece of the Pie.     I have reached that wealth milestone and spent an hour or so today going through my portfolio.    Don't own shares in me.  SOLD!   Sold off my shares when we were max/max and you still acted friendly to my face?   SOLD and BLOCKED.   Compared to my previous experiences buying pie,  this third slice came rather easily.   For the first time in more than a month,  I went through my entire portfolio yesterday evening and made and identified all of the tickers I held shares in that didn't own any in me.    Where I only owned a small number of shares and/or the dividends were awful I went ahead and sold right away,  and re-invested the proceeds in shares that I want to keep.    Those that paid great dividends I put on a list.   And just as soon as dividends were paid I started selling.   Selling off those that had not invested in me netted me about 210,000 eaves.    I sold down in a few shares where I owned a lot more shares than the other party.   I also sold about 50 (out of 300 owned)   in two or three friends whom I know will understand.  

In honor of my third slice of pie,   I  will this weekend be serving up yummy delicious pie to everyone who invests in me.   However instead of posting it in my Empire Avenue avatar I will post pie pics on the buyer's Facebook wall.   I will acknowledge all buyers on my Empire Avenue profile.   Alas,  the pie that I am serving is only pretty pictures,  rather than Empire Avenue upgrades.   If you'd like a slice and you aren't already on Empire Avenue,  sign up now and get 2,000 eaves free from me.   My thanks to  Ryan who taught me and so many other players the value of having a newbie farm to finance pie upgrades.   My take away today is that change is good for creating new interest and getting out of a price rut. (With all of the likes my bear pictures garnered,  my share price is up over a full eave today.)  And that sometimes,  a bear just has to be a bear.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Social Media Motifs

My friend Holly wrote a piece yesterday about the rather small number of motifs that all fiction can theoretically be reduced to.    I'm familiar with the point and it is a good one--  there really is nothing new under the sun and most all novels tell one of the same old stories,  in a unique new way.   And the idea of the same old stories being endlessly repeated certainly resonates with me in my social medial activities these days.   Sometimes it seems that every other thread I read deals with one of a handful of seemingly endless arguments.

The "Google + is the greatest thing since sliced bread" threads  (now numbering 12,344,963,021 as of 7/14/2011 05:29 GMT) aren't really arguments.    While I am definitely underwhelmed with G+ and very frustrated at Google's inability to let me use one account to access all of their services I desire,   I am hardly a strident critic of Plus itself-- it seems to me ridiculously early to be passing any sort of judgment about a brand new product still in beta.

Another debate,  which is a bit livelier is over whether it is okay to Like or +1 your own material.  Some argue that it is simply basic SEO, while others feel that it is silly, tacky or even unethical to to Like yourself.   I don't see it as an ethical issue, really,  and I'm sure the SEO advocates have a valid point.   But I am so trained by years of using StumbleUpon to be very restrained in giving thumbs up to my own material  (like yourself often on SU and you get sent to a kind of purgatory-- click up all you want,  no one will Ever see those posts) that I really just can't bring myself to Like and Plus myself.   Luckily I seem to have friends who are willing to do it for me.

The question "what is spam" certainly brings out strong feelings.   Most everyone hates spam.  Most everyone is certain that they themselves do not spam.   Yet the beat goes on.   Those who have things up so that every time they type 140 characters they score 1 tweet, 1 blog post (on Tumblr), and 1 Facebook post certainly don't think of themselves as spammers,  though other folks certainly do.   There are  lots of gray areas,  reasonable arguments about different audiences on different sites and it seems to me the chances of this question being definitively resolved within the lifetimes of anyone who will read this are, pretty much, nil.

The most contentious perpetual argument on Empire Avenue is,  I have come to believe,  "What IS A Blog?"   Those who read my earlier piece with that title will recall that it is not a simple question, but rather a sorting mechanism that pits creators against curators against copiers.    And which participants may accurately be sorted into which of these categories and when generates,  I have come to believe between a third and half of all conversation on the Avenue, in the communities and in the Facebook groups.  (The G+ crowd is so busy crowing about plus,  that they ignore even this most insoluble of the endless social media arguments.)

While I can at least hope that some of the hype around plus will eventually die down and we can have a chance to use it and work with it and see what it can and can't do and importantly how Google handles the issues that will inevitably arise as they roll out Plus to the entire planet.  I quietly point  out that Google does not have an especially enviable record for user satisfaction, and is very Facebook like in making it pretty much impossible for users to contact a human been for support when something goes wrong.    There isn't really anything new in social media.   Only people clever enough to have the same old discussions in ways that seem new all over.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I don't like noisy bars

This is a rant.    If you're in no mood to hear it,  please click here to go somewhere else today.    I've been genuinely pleased with the modest success of my beta release of Walking Down The Avenue.   More than 70 people have downloaded a copy already,  and all of the feedback I've received has been positive.    I am working on adding additional material for the 1.0 release,  which I am not in any hurry to rush out.  

As previously mentioned,   I have not been enjoying Google + very much.    Due to Google's restrictions and profile requirements I find that I am now using THREE separate Google accounts-- and while it is possible to get two of them going at the same time in separate browsers,   I literally have to log out of my e-mail to use G+  or to post to this blog.  #IAmSONotAHappyCamper.      And the G+  feature that everyone seems SO excited about is a complete non-starter to me--  the group video chat thing appeals to me not at all.    I am severely hearing impaired and web video chat does not work for me.   Period.   Paragraph.   Page Break.    I can watch tv or movies by relying on the closed captions.   In person I can sometimes read lips and interpret expression and body language--- though this can be hit or miss,  particularly with people I don't know well.    Honestly,  even my spouse sitting five feet away from knows to type me an IM if we Really need to Talk.    G+  sure doesn't look like a Facebook killer to me,  at least not in this early iteration.

All of which is by saying that I continue to do most of my socializing in Facebook groups.     It appears that Empire Avenue is Not going to be adding FB groups to EAv scores any time soon:  they seem to be focusing on improving the discussion boards in the Empire Avenue communities and trying to lure the discussions in house.   Unfortunately I don't believe I'm alone in feeling they are a long way in terms of both ubiquity and user interface from making much progress towards this goal.     I know from my 20 years online that change,  often drastic change,  is the only constant in any online community.    And  it really saddened me today to see that a community I had really enjoyed seems to have become Way too spammish for me to enjoy.    The rule has always been that Buy Me spam is strongly discouraged but members are allowed to celebrate "significant game milestones".    I know that everyone has a slightly--very different experience of Empire Avenue.   The more active you already are on the connected social networks the more rapidly your price will rise, and your dividends may well keep up.

I am experienced on social media,  though I've never really tried to be "most popular" and after more than three months in the game,   I seem to be seriously plateauing at 80.    I have gotten as high as 82 but today am back down to 80.    After a heavy day of active social media,   I'll probably go up again tomorrow but I am reaching the limits  of how much social media I'm willing to Do and am beginning to wonder if I will have to come to grips with being an 80 dollar stock that just isn't going to go on to become a centurion.   (At least not without a lot of help from my friends.)    And in all this time,   I think I have Once posted a buy me-ish type spam to One group,  when my shares were going for 42 and I made a Hichiker's reference.   So this gorilla icon guy,   whom I haven't met and don't know posted the _n_th  Buy Me spam thread  (I saw at least 6 buy me or single player recommendation threads,  both of which are supposed to be against the rules) before the gorilla guy's post prompted me to ask if the rules had changed.

Gorilla guy  (whom I've blocked, thanks) took offense and told me to sell him or whatever.   No need,   never bought.    Like I said the guy posting was a stranger to me.    Who seems to be a good bit newer in the game than I am.    Who posted a thread and got tons of replies about his big push from 77 to 80.      Whatever.    (I firmly believe that it is quite impossible to be friends with everyone;   the ability to civilly ignore people you don't wish to engage is the most useful online social skill imho.)   But then one of the groups moderators posted,  not to trash the guy for spamming,  but to assure me that I am a valued group member too and would be more than welcome to share my significant game milestones too.   Oh-----kay.      The problem is if now 600 people are allowed to spam any particular price milestone they choose  (and not just the traditional 100-- which like a bridal shower is more properly pushed by one's friends rather than by the Bride) what had been a cool place to hang out and shoot the breeze with some incredible people has pretty much become a spammy snake pit that I am just not likely to hang around very much.    There's another group I like and respect and belong to,  but I rarely go there anymore because the scroll rate is so high and the signal to noise ratio has gotten way noisier than I'm comfortable with.    What I hope the mods  (and even the gorilla guy for that matter) understand is that it's not about being angry or taking my marbles and running home.    It's about too much noise making the good conversations too hard to follow.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sometimes....

Sometimes I just hate Google.    Long time readers of my books blog will recall some years back that it was a change on Blogspot (which required anyone commenting on a post to sign in with Google or Open ID and did not allow one to comment leaving just your name, e-mail and URL) that finally got me to move the books blog over to WordPresss.     I railed against Google at the time,   and was pleased that they after a time changed it back.     Indeed I probably would not have used Blogspot for this new personal blog,  if they had not made that important change.

While reading the zillionth or so person's observation the other day about how bad Facebook sucks,  I find myself thinking the other day about how much I dislike having become basically a pawn of a few huge companies online.    We all know how bad Facebook sucks.  particularly in terms of their privacy policy and their complete lack of customer service.  (Unless of course you are an advertiser-- a friend tells me that advertisers can get someone on the phone or to answer an e-mail;  my friend explains to me that Facebook users are not Facebook's customers.)    And the same of course is true of other huge online companies.    Those of us who use g-mail are definitely Google users, rather than customers.    This started off as a post about how frustrated I was at not being able to get into Google+.

You have to understand that for years my primary Google account has been based on a typo.   Way back in the MUD days  (if you don't know what that is, you are an online NEWCOMER who needs to remember her manners-- don't care how much Klout you have) I used the handle outofit.  Out of it.   That was how I often felt when I first began hanging out with some friends from Compu$erve on Timewarp  (telnet: quark.gmi.edu:5150).    To get to Timewarp I typed  that string at ! Unix prompt.   The Unix shell account I bought and accessed over dial-up from my local ISP was the only way for folks not connected to an .edu or a .gov  to get online.    So it was,  very early in my blogging career when I set up a new Blogger account  (long before gMail days btw) that I chose my old handle outofit.     I'd used it for a number of years and had not yet conceived my libdrone handle that became the one I try to promote everywhere and always.    Silly me.   I typoed  ouofoit  into the account creation box and quite failed to notice the typo before I submitted it.    For all of these years I have published multiple blogs while logged in as ouofoit@gmail.com,  an address I never gave to any of my friends.   And which I never connected to the web of a dozen or so e-mail addys I use,  all of which forward into the one gMail box I actually use to manage all email correspondence  drone@libdrone.info.

This last bit proved to be critical.    I received dozens of invites to +  from different friends at lots of e-mail addys.   And every time I clicked to join in the fun,  I got an error that + requires Profile and your organization is not allowed profiles.  (gMail on my own domains,  the free plan).     I finally added a profile and displayed my real name with my very old typo ouofoit and after waiting about,  voila,  I am accessing the Plus and busy finding and adding all my Facebook friends.      Time was I talked about how using different handle for different parts of your life enabled you to pursue even specialized interests with very different groups of friends,  who have little in common with each other and whom you don't want to mix with each other.     Google +   with its circles feature seems prepared to enable you to finally do just that with your primary social media logins.     How ironic that on Google +  I am a 4 year old typo come to life.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walking Down The Avenue-- Available Now!

A day early,  and absolutely free of charge  my new eBook Walking Down The Avenue is now available on Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/70323

I  tried very hard to be clear and concise and to take as much of the confusion that seems to define Empire Avenue out of the picture.   I hope that you will take a look at it--  it's available for download in all e-reader formats as well as in .pdf   if you prefer to read on your computer screen.     I know there is at least one typo that made it past my many, many proof-readings.    I am very interested in hearing about any errors you notice as well as in getting any and all feedback you might care to share.     You can leave your feedback as a comment on this post or feel free to e-mail me privately at  writing@libdrone.info.

Here's wishing you and yours a great  Fourth of July weekend.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Almost There

I have been making much progress towards publishing my first eBook,  which I still hope is going to happen on or shortly before July 1st.      I know my homemade cover looks nothing like a professionally designed one would  (and I do hope to be able to afford a real cover at some point in the future).    It's also going to be a very short little eBook-- only about 18 word processor pages.

(I can here the snorts and derision alreadey--  'it took you a couple of months to write 18 freaking pages?!???'    Yes, actually.    Empire Avenue changes and evolves every day and many of the sections have had to be re-written multiple times as changes on the Avenue made them inaccurate,  in some cases within minutes of being written.)     I play to continue updating, revising and expanding and expect to release new versions every month or so.    I have tried to upload the book to iWriteReadRate-- my friend Adam's great new eBook site.   Unfortunately,  it did not work properly for me.   The site produced a  .pdf file that is 2700 pages long and has text in on the middle 1.5 inches or so of each page.    Adam has his tech folks looking into it and I am hopeful of being ready to sell on that site by Friday.  

Meanwhile,  my project for today is to add and link a table of contents and make a couple of other changes to comply with the Smashwords style guide,  which will enable me to upload to Smashwords, which would make my little book available via a huge number of eBook vendors including Amazon kindle, B &N Nook, etc.    I am very hopeful of finding success in the brave new world of eBooks and honestly can't wait to see what this week will bring.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reserve a free copy of Walking Down the Avenue now!

So I'm writing a book.   About Empire Avenue as a matter of fact.   Honestly,   it is slow going.   EAv is evolving and changing so rapidly that even in the early pages of  draft,  I've had to re-write sections several times due to changes in the rules and procedures.  

I find myself very taken with Empire Avenue as I become more and more involved with and spend more and more time hanging out with great friends like Holly, Jake, Suspiria, Anise, Gina, Casey, Dirk, Scott and Ryan.   Not to mention Shannon, Travis, Hank, Carole, Stu, Sheree, Robert, Peter,  Mike, Paulo, Cyril, Caleb and Adriel.   Or Nakeva, Sharon, Michael and Jeffrey and so on and so on.   Honestly,  I've met so many people from all over the world since joining Empire Avenue that I have to mark it as a life changing experience.  My one gripe is that Empire Avenue can be very confusing to newcomers.   So much so that it  is even a bit off-putting.   Even to people who have mastered Twitter.     Which is why I decided to write a book specifically directed at Empire Avenue newcomers.   I am trying to be definitive without being verbose.   Authoritative without ever talking down to anyone.    A book that is short, useful and cheap.

I hope to have the beta edition  (this is going to be an eBook and I plan to number the frequently updated editions like software) available for sale by mid July.    If you would like to receive a copy of the beta edition, not at the amazingly low list price of  79 cents,  but instead absolutely free of charge,  please sign up for my very low volume mailing list-- using the widget in the right sidebar.   The first message I will send to this list will be when the eBook is published and ready for download,  as I said hopefully in early to mid July.   After that you can expect that I will write to you at most every four to six weeks.   (Yeah,  I am going a bit overboard to avoid being spammish*)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Islands in the Pacific

So you may have noticed that I have not been faithful about the daily #Trust30 assignments.   Honestly,  one of them just did ot speak to me, and I just didn't have time for another.  But this one--which was actually for yesterday does speak to me:


Travel by Chris Guillebeau

If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

My response:

There are of course a huge number of places on my list of places I'd love to see before I die.   A remarkably large number of them are islands in the Pacific ocean.     In October 2001,  my late spouse and I took a long-planned and saved-for trip to Hawaii.    I got laid off from my job with Earthlink shortly after 9/11,  and there was at times a dream-like quality that I've come to realize is actually common to many trips to the remarkably beautiful Hawaiian islands.    Most visitors fall in love with Hawaii.   Those whose travel agents book them a VIP tour at the Polynesian Cultural Center-- about a two hour drive from Wakikii Beach,  may develop a serious longing to see a number of other islands in the Pacific.

Somewhere I have a photograph of Joel and me,  each under an arm of a big man from the island nation Tonga.    He has tatoos all over both of his huge arms and his handsome smile and beaming goodwill  remind me of just one of the remarkable people whom meeting set me off on a journey of reading about and developing a someday travel list that includes Tonga,  the Maori New Zealand,   Rarotonga,  Easter Island, Tahiti, Bora Bora and also the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.     It is not one great trip I dream of, but rather years of being able to travel to these remote and far away islands,  which have come to call to me.   Honestly,   I don't know if I will ever have the coincidence of time, money and health to get to even a fraction of the places on my islands in the Pacific list.   But it's nice to have big dreams.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Revisiting: What Is A Blog?

There's been a  very interesting discussion today on a an Empire Avenue-related Facebook group.    Adriel Hampton posted in the X-Bar that he was disappointed that Empire Avenue seems to be permitting "content farms".  

On Empire Avenue,  the seemingly simple question "What Is A Blog?"  can be anything but simple to answer and there was a spirited discussion about, well the morality of having a Tumblelog that consists of embedding videos from YouTube and adding just a one line quote from the lyrics and two tags,  connected to Empire Avenue as a "blog".

I'm a writer.   For years I updated my book review blog about one or more books three to five times per week.    I am very well aware of the difference in terms of time, effort and skill between researching and writing a professional quality three hundred to five hundred word blog article vs re-blogging a picture or a video that someone else has already created.    And yet,  I found myself arguing on behalf of folks like,  well myself,  who regularly "blog" twenty or thirty music videos every day.   It is,  I believe,  a curatorial endeavor.    My music tastes are a bit narrow,  a bit odd and rather well-defined.    I listen to select pop/rock music from the 1960's--1980's for the most part.     And the fact is that I have through Tumblr made a few friends who share at least some of my tastes in music and tell me they enjoy having my videos in their Tumblr stream.   And every day it seems,  there are people who Like and Re-blog the videos that I post.   It seems to me that if what I am posting is reaching out and connecting with an audience,  my posts create real value in my personal social network.     Which is why I don't in any way feel that I am "cheating"  on Empire Avenue.

My friend Jake,  whose Tumblr curates amazing landscape photographs from all over the world pointed out that he has made real friendships through sharing amazing pictures-- which he pointed out he spends a great deal of time selecting and in the cases of photographs he takes himself editing.   Jake argues, and I am inclined to agree,  that he does put as much time and effort into his photo blog as any of us writers do on cranking out those 300--500 word posts that many people do in fact find challenging to do more than once a day.     One thing that many folks in that discussion did seem to agree on, is that Empire Avenue should regard Tumblr as another content site,  like Twitter and Facebook, etc.  rather than as "blogs".    As my new friend  Roger Hoyt and I agreed-- we're supposed to be networking and making friends--not arguing over what a blog is.   So how about a nice, non-spammy campaign to convince Dups and the EAv team to make Tumblr another top level network.

cc: @adriel  @dups

Today I Face The Future

Today is day 2 in the #Trust30 challenge at ralphwaldoemerson.me.   Today's prompt from Liz Danzico:


Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.



My sentence:

Today I face the future,  scarred by my battles with the past,  weary from my encounters with reality,  yet ready to deal with whatever comes my way and as always hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

15 Minutes To Live

I'm participating in #Trust30.    #Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. 30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey.    

Today's prompt by Gwen Bell:

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.
-----------My Story----------
I should be in New Orleans.   When the judge told me I was to be executed in fifteen minutes,  I found myself thinking about my home town.   Thinking about the taste of a shrimp po boy, dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise;  of sticky, muggy, HOT nights, riding the Zephyr at Pontchartrain Beach.   Remembering Mardi Gras parades,  Hurricanes at Pat O'Briens and the ever-changing spectacle of people-watching on Bourbon Street.   I found myself thinking that if I had never left New Orleans,  I never would have ended up  being executed for breathing without a license on a space habitat no one back home ever heard of.     I tried to remember the taste of oysters Bienville,  to hear the sound of the streetcars sling-slanging down St. Charles Avenue, to recall the wonderful iciness of a chocolate snowball on hot summer day.   
As the air-tight door closed behind me I pictured myself as a child,  on a day trip on the paddle-wheel riverboat Mark Twain,  recalled my senior prom at the Roosevelt Hotel and pictured the double shotgun house where I grew up on Iberville Street.  As I tried to remember the names of the brother and sister who had lived down on the corner,   were they Dawn and Ken,  or were they Frank and Ruth, or...the air tight door ahead of me opened,  and I was spaced.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Social Media Plan

My friend Holly is participating the We Blog Better guest posting contest this month.    Her article  Failure To Plan, Planning To Fail: Why You Need A Social Media Plan  was just the inspiration I needed,  after all these years socializing online to come up with my very own social media plan:

Continue participating on Twitter, Facebook and Empire Avenue. Continue to attract new friends and followers. Continue policy of accepting all friend requests on Facebook but only selectively follow back on Twitter.
Begin getting people to sign up for my new e-mail list on Mail Chimp.
Continue writing e-book about Empire Avenue. Send a link for free e-book to everyone on list, once it is published.
Write more articles for BrooWaha.com It appears these articles continue to attract regular readers month after month, making the site a good place to create content and backlinks.
My plan contains NO numbers. No metrics. But it is specific and achievable and I believe it will enable me to further my goals.    It seems to me I meet so many metrics-obsessed folks on Empire Avenue these days.   They are SO involved in how many days it will take them to reach a 100 share price,  that many of them seem to quite fail to notice that they are getting their share prices out of sync with their daily dividends.    Reaching a 100 share price in less than a month is wonderful,  but if your daily dividends are only .50,   you are a very poor value proposition and certainly not displaying the kind of understanding and savvy that a "social media professional"  would want to display.
I am definitely Not a social media professional,  not even the copy/paste variety.   But I believe that I am doing well on Empire Avenue.   I am so pleased with all of the great people I've met and I am definitely continuing to have fun.   I've said before that Having Fun is my first priority,  and honestly I place all of my social media goals above secondary to it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Were You Planning To Fail?

Today,  you rally need to go read my friend Holly Jahangiri's guest post on We Blog Better:

 Failure To Plan, Planning To Fail: Why You Need A Social Media Plan

Holly is fantastic writer and blogger who does an amazing job of making each interaction feel up close and personal,  yet she still manages the trick of seeming to be everywhere at once.   Whether you're a social media wiz with 20,000 Twitter followers or a brand newbie blogger who is still puzzled by  'tweet' as a verb,  Holly's most excellent post will tell you things you really need to know and link you to some of the best information out there.  

Once you've read Holly's piece,  be sure to leave her a comment and join in the discussion.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Abandon Drabble

What follows is my very first attempt at a Drabble-- an approximately 100 word story on a particular word, in this instance "abandon".   The inspiration came from my friend Aheila's blog.  Visit  Drabble Day--Abandon  if you'd like to participate or take a look at the other drabbles.



Heather stood   directly in front of the trash can.   She held her tray with it's cup, fries box, and BigMac box which held a smear of secret sauce (ok, so we all know it's really Thousand Island dressing) and a slip of pickle which somehow she had failed to eat.   Heather thought about all the fast food she had eaten in her life;  about all the times she had tried to diet and all the pounds she had lost and gained. Finally she dumped the detrius  into the bin,  just as a uniformed teen ager carrying a  trash bag came up and said, "Excuse me."

Bucking For The Corner Office

Image Credit:  Vlado,  FreeDigitalPhotos.net
For my friends who are not involved with Empire Avenue,  my apologies.   Today's post may not make much sense.    I promise to try very hard to write more generally again tomorrow.  I had something of a revelation this morning.   I was checking on my index-- Books,  where I have been in the number 2 President's position for several weeks now.   Honestly,  I never really considered it possible that I would overtake my CEO.   But since Empire Avenue began showing activity scores on the indices ranking,  my activity score has been going up and the CEO's has been falling.   Today I noticed that I am less than 9 points behind my CEO.  (He's at 291.6 while I am at 282.8.)

My more sophisticated Empire Avenue buddies say that the indices are just a play thing,  and point out that your ranking within an index, even if you are in the top three (CEO, President, CFO) really doesn't mean anything at all.  There are after all more than 200 indices and some of them are certainly more competitive than others.   Part of me is just a little bit secretly thrilled that this week I may become CEO of the Books Index.  But unlike a particularly brain dead acquaintance,  who is creating a Facebook group exclusively for Empire Avenue CEO's and former CEO's,  I know that it really means almost nothing at all.   And I'm certain that when and if I become an Empire Avenue CEO,  I will not be joining a Facebook group.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What Is Spam?


Spam sushi is an odd delicacy of Hawaii.   I was frankly surprised at how much I liked it during my visit to the islands.  Did you know that Hawaii is one of the biggest markets for Spam lunch meat?   Online spam  (which now consists of not only e-mails but also tweets, shouts and all other sorts of electronic communications) is certainly much less loved than  Hawaii's favorite snack.  And something that happened on Twitter yesterday leaves me thinking again about the veritable question, What Is Spam?

It might be tempting to say that spam is in the eye of the beholder.   Though it seems that senders never behold spam quite as recipients do.   Adriel Hampton posted a unique online petition which urged people to re-tweet a message to Empire Avenue CEO Duleepa Wijayawardhana  requesting that activity in Facebook groups be counted towards Empire Avenue scores.    My buddy (e)HART  like me re-tweeted the message,  but also wondered aloud what the purpose was.   Dups replied to both of us that the "spam"  was a distraction to people who are working hard to improve Empire Avenue.   He was very polite about it,  but he did complain that the messages were "spamming" him.

It got me to thinking of something that happened early in my career at Sprynet where I was in charge of customer service e-mail.    A customer wanted something,  to cancel his service and get a refund perhaps,  and when he got our auto-reply explaining when and how his request would be processed, he was dis-satisfied with the wait time and began sending hundreds and hundreds of duplicate e-mails demanding that we immediately put a refund to his credit card.   I e-mailed my boss and suggested that we Not expedite this customer's refund,  on the grounds that if it became known that sending a few thousand spams into our inbox was the way to get your money back quicker,  we would soon find ourselves in a position where we spent most of our time dealing with spam,  at the expense of ramping up our customer service department to handle our rapidly growing customer base.   My boss agreed and we left the spammer's original request in the queue and deleted all the duplicates,  which he continued to send for several days,  although I wrote back to him explaining as politely as possible what spam is,  why it's not okay and when and how his request would be handled.   My boss even called the guy and asked him to stop spamming us.   Eventually the issue was escalated a few levels beyond my boss' head and an executive asked me to process an immediate refund and send the guy an apology before his original message had made it through the queue to an agent.

My takeaway from that incident was that while spam is wrong,  sometimes it actually works.   Which is why people sometimes do it,  even if they are well aware it is considered rude and in some states (including here in Washington) it is actually illegal now.      I honestly don't know what communication may or may not have transpired between Dups and Adriel-- Adriel's petition was designed so that dups could sign into it,  acknowledging the msg and stopping the continued re-tweeting  (or as Dups called it "spam").     The customer who was frustrated with an ISP's cancellation and refund processing probably didn't look upon himself as a spammer.   Though the people who received his messages did.   I've read that almost 80% of spam comes from fewer than 100 actual individuals and companies.    And I have to wonder whether the folks who spam for profit-- and clearly it can be profitable or our channels of electronic communications would not be jammed full of it,  consider that they are doing anything morally or socially wrong.    

When I was new on the Internet I learned that spam was the same message posted in more than one place.    Or an identical e-mail sent to more people than could reasonably be expected to want to receive it.   I still look at spam mostly in numerical terms.   Yet I belong to an organization that contacts elected officials and other decision makers on issues important to us.   A group specifically set up to send thousands  of identical constituent messages into political offices.   Political staffs used to reply to every letter and e-mail received,  although it seems as though most no longer do that.   When they troubled to write back and even spelled your name correctly,  it tended to make the sender believe that they were being heard and that their input was valued.   These days I find the feedback to elected officials thing kind of dull because it's like shouting into a vacuum.   I have to wonder if the politicians finally decided their constituents were simply spammers.

I have to give Adriel props for creating a unique petition that seems to have quite successfully gotten the attention of a busy, social media savvy executive.   But I would caution him to be very careful about creating anything that might be regarded as spam,  which is a kiss of death kind of label to many of us.   And I would tell Dups that as annoying as spam from customers can be,  the best way to deal with it is to address the issue the spammers are raising loudly and publicly.    That's the most efficient way to stop a growing group from turning into a stampeding crowd.

What's your take?  Who are the spammers in this post?  Is spam ever justified?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Playing With My Blocks: Something Facebook Actually Does Well

If you read this site regularly,  you are almost certainly already well aware of my distaste for and many criticisms of Facebook.    So perhaps you will be surprised that today I am actually writing to praise one feature which I find Facebook has integrated well.

Even at the beginning, way back when on CompuServe, it was possible to "block" users you didn't want to interact with.   This is to say that you could configure your account and/or software to hide or not display messages from users you simply did not want to interact with.    It was not an easy or intuitive process back then,  and honestly there was only one user ID in my block list back on CompuServe.  And to this day,  I find that when I use the block function on any site to suppress only one or two users.

Facebook,  I am surprised and pleased to say handles blocking other users quite well.   The two users I've blocked simply never appear on my screen,  even when we post in the same thread.  (I can tell they've posted there by other people's replies to them.)  I remember how difficult it was back in the CompuServe days to get people to understand that blocking others' messages from appearing in their streams was the appropriate way to deal with users whose content they didn't want to see.   But I'm pleased to say that in my current online life, it really works well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

As The World Tweets

OR Ding Dong, The Terrorist Is Dead


(This post isn't Really about the death of Osama bin Laden.)


It was either on Friday or on Saturday that a bunch of friends mentioned that they rely primarily on Twitter for their news.   Honestly,  it struck me as just a little bit odd.  While  up until Sunday night,  I did get headlines from a number of mainstream news organizations via Twitter,  I mostly got my news by reading online editions of various newspapers.  But Sunday's night's news of the killing of Osama bin Laden really changed all that for me.

I found myself on Twitter as the first word came around  that President Obama was going to make a big announcement.   And honestly, the jokes about the several-times delayed  Obama announcement had barely gotten started when I heard on Twitter that the announcement was almost certainly that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US forces.   When Obama finally spoke,  the White House site refused to serve me video and the NY Times site was inaccessible due to  very heavy traffic.   But Twitter never slowed down for a moment and by following hash tags and people you hear are tweeting live from in front of the White House or Times Square in New York.   On the tv,  which my spouse prevailed in Not tuning to any of the news channels during or after Obama's address, it was widely reported that anchors were reading tweets on the air.  To be perfectly honest,  I don't think I need a journalism degree to read the tweets for myself.

I got quotes and reactions to quotes during the speech and discussion with friends and strangers as each detail emerged.   It felt as though the whole wide world was talking about the Osama bin Laden story before, during and after it's release in the mainstream media.   The act of sharing that big news story, both with my online friends and with citizen journalists reporting as the story breaks and people react to it felt more like living the story than merely reading about it or seeing a tv broadcaster report about it.

I tweeted to my friend that the experience of watching the Osama Killed story unfold on Twitter was going to force me to rethink the definitions of "news" and "interactive".     I strongly suspect the next time there is a big story breaking,  I will most likely be hanging out on Twitter, both discovering and reacting to it with a community of friends and strangers.   Some people I know and talk to all the time.   And others who will be strangers to me, at least at the beginning.  For now I follow some of the people I met during the Osama story--I seem to be constantly gaining Twitter followers and Facebook friends these days.    And while I will not be canceling my cable tv subscriptions or avoiding newspaper web sites,  it really does feel to me that the primary way I access news just changed.   I suspect I will have occasion to write again that "the story Broke on Twitter."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

That Little Faggot, He's A Millionaire


"That little faggot, he's a millionaire"
Money For Nothing
Dire Straits


It has taken about five weeks,  but as of this afternoon I am a millionaire on Empire Avenue.  After (e)LALO18's  purchase of 500 shares,  I am also again trading over 65e per share,  though who knows if I will go up or down tomorrow morning after the market maker has his share.  (Some days the market maker giveth and other he taketh away.)   I continue to be amazed by all of the great people I continue to enjoy getting to know and hanging out with.   And as my time on the Avenue continues,  I continue to learn more about social media and mark the comings and passings of companies and celebrities.

I wrote previously about buying shares in Jane Fonda (e)JFONDA the evening the account joined Empire Avenue,  and I did see my shares double, then triple in value.   But when I saw the account invested only in four other Empire Avenue accounts, one of them (e)INFLUENCER who is reputedly Ms. Fonda's public relations representative,  it was clear to me that neither Ms. Fonda nor her PR or social media staff were actually going to play the game,  so I sold at a nice profit and bought shares instead in (e)ADRIEL.   Adriel's price has now rocketed up to over 140e per share,  which dwarfs even his 1.20/day dividends.   (e)GIRDY is a much better bet these days for divs with shares around 70 and divs around .80

I have to say that EAv has caused me to re-examine my social media efforts.   (e)CAROLEBAKER  told me (tactfully of course) that my LinkedIn profile, well,   sucked.   And I realized she was right.   I thought about it for a bit and realized that the real issue is that I didn't really want to be on LinkedIn in the first place.  So I removed myself from that site and focused more intently on Twitter and Facebook and am now publishing two Tumblr blogs-- one for unusual and interesting words and another for music videos that I like.     For me, at least,  this is now one has a hundred blog posts/week.   Many of them consist simply of embedding a video,  quoting a bit of the lyrics,  tagging it with artist and title and pressing Post.   Not the same as writing 300-500 words or  more.  The word nerd blog is nearly as easy.   Just a word, a definition and a comment.   About one time in three I add a picture.   Sometimes a make a joke or a topical reference (EAv, definethis, book blogging, etc).  I then tweet the word and link.   Getting good feedback on it from my Twitter followers.

And so I continue walking on down the Avenue.   It continues to be fun.  So I'm still there.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Priceless Passions (but not, alas Poetry)

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with poetry or National Poetry Month,   which it so happens,  happens to be April.


Time is a funny thing.   We've all heard the expression "time flies".   And just as often one hears bored people talk about time moving  "as slow as molasses."   Since signing up on Empire Avenue, it seems that I have met a zillion or so new people.    Honestly,  I didn't really notice the days and weeks passing that much.  Yesterday morning I unlocked an achievement on Empire Avenue that informed me I have been on that site for 30 days now.   And stopping to think about it,  WOW!,  what a month this has been.

My long time friends who were with me when I burned out a bit on writing  a book review or three every day,  and came to the realization that my books blog would never, ever earn enough to cover hosting fees no matter how great I made it,  will recall my ill-conceived foray into creamed corn.  I'm not in the least bit sorry that I attempted naively to start a social networking blog,   nor do I have any regrets about pulling the plug on it after just a few weeks.   But I do find it ironic that since deciding to focus on this personal site that I've become acquaintances and Twitter friends with guys like Chris Baccus and Scott Monty.   I am so very, Very, VERY thrilled to have met Holly Jahangiri,  with whom I am in the process of launching The Remarkable Association of Writers Who READ.   I have cared deeply about literacy and adult literacy education since my high school years  (no fooling, (e)NATION!) and I am realizing today that with the new RAWWR!! project I am following the excellent old advice about following my passions.

I've also really enjoyed playing #definethis on Twitter everyday,  and getting to know some of the ace players like the extraordinary poet @gavroche and @definethis herself-- who like my blogging buddy Cardiogirl  I know a fair bit about her life, but not in fact her name.  (Which echoes my reflections on the great name vs handle issue.)   After a month on Empire Avenue I am yet a few thousand eaves short of being an e-millionaire. But the real value of the friends and relationships I've made and the new projects I've become involved with is, as they used to say in the Mastercard commercials:  Priceless.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#Winning-- Christopher Baccus, Jane Fonda and Shannon Morgan

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with @Charlie Sheen,  #tigerblood  nor the Like button reputedly tattooed on Ryan Zeigler's junk.


Some days,  things go really well.   For instance,  yesterday evening I got the chance to chat a bit further with AT&T social media director Christopher Baccus.   I told him a bit about my own relationship-based investment strategy on Empire Avenue.  I mostly invest in people that I talk with and chat with.   Unless I am quite certain that I don't want a relationship with someone who buys shares in me,  I always buy back-- even if I can only buy a handful of shares.   As relationships progress,  I make further investments.  When I have invested in shares in someone who owns no shares in me,  I look at those shares as "money in the bank"-- the shares I will sell first and without hesitation when funds are needed to invest in a more promising prospect.    Chris seemed to really listen to this little speech that I fired off.    He pointed out that Monday was only AT&T's  second day on Empire Avenue and that frankly they haven't yet figured out how they will approach things like buying virtual shares in their own virtual shareholders.  I was even more so than during our previous conversation impressed by Chris' listening skills and have the feeling that we may see great things from the AT&T team in the days ahead.

In addition to the huge corporate brands that began appearing on the Avenue late last week,  Monday evening brought about our first bona fide celebrity siting.   Not merely a "social media" celebrity- an actual movie star-- the incomparable Ms. Jane Fonda listed herself on Empire Avenue around 5:30 pm.   My good buddy Travis Tripp was the first person in my orbit to break the news,   and by 6pm like many of my friends who happened to be online at the time,   I owned 200 shares in (e)JFONDA and spent the evening watching their value rise.   As of this writing ,  the value of my Fonda shares is up nearly 1,600.    I get the impression that Ms. Fonda is frankly more interested in promoting her exercise videos,  rather than meeting and greeting her legions of fans,  but I have to confess I felt more than a little thrill at leaving a Welcome to Empire Avenue note on Ms. Fonda's EA profile.    The very astute Anise Smith not only snapped up two hundred shares in Ms. Fonda but also invested in her Public Relations man (e)INFLUENCER.

One might expect that having interacted with a social media heavyweight and brushed close to a real movie star,  that my third coup of the evening might have proved something of a let down.   My good friend Shannon Morgan posted the first two paragraphs of a short story on her blog and invited readers to continue the story, promising to use the best entry in her next blog post.   Somehow,  in between selling shares in people I am somewhat less than bullish on,  purchasing shares in Ms. Fonda and serving an hour on the #SocialEmpire chat room help desk (where I answered a number of questions and helped three new users make their way into our group-- I was surprised that it felt a great deal like when I used to do IRC customer support for Sprynet,  and I genuinely enjoyed it),  I managed to write two paragraphs continuing Shannon's story.   I was one of the last to turn in my entry as it happens and I was totally overjoyed when Shannon declared me the winner around 10pm.  (Shannon has said before that I have good #InternetBodyLanguage and I certainly give her props for her openly declared #heteroflexibility,)

Since Monday proved to be such a #candylandofawesomeness,  I am almost afraid to imagine what extraordinary surprises Tuesday may bring to Empire Avenue and my #SocialEmpire friends.   But however it turns out,  I resolve that I will return to this space and share all the news of everything from #EAvKink to the soon to be officially announced Remarkable Association of Writers Who READ.    Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chatting With AT&T's Christopher Baccus

I know that on Saturday night I stated I would post on Sunday about AT&T and Intel,  continuing on the theme of major corporations arriving on Empire Avenue.   Honestly,  I slept very late,  gorged on Easter ham and did not type so much as a syllable except in chatting.   This morning's news is that Christopher Baccus,  AT&T's social media director has joined us in the #SocialEmpire group on Facebook and is chatting with us about AT&T's participation on Empire Avenue.   Like Scott Monty on Saturday,  Baccus  comes across and genuinely friendly and seems as excited to be participating on Empire Avenue as the members of the #SocialEmpire group.

I have to confess that I have at times been intimidated by corporate vice-presidents.   Usually they have been two or  more levels above me,  the sort of guys who have corner offices, secretaries and never socialize with (as it is always, often condescendingly called) "the team"  outside of the annual picnic or Christmas party.  People you sometimes receive e-mails from, but rarely if ever send e-mails to.  (If you understand office politics and want to continue working there.)  So it was really neat for me Saturday and this morning to hang out and chat a bit with Scott and Christopher.    Where Scott took some pains to stress that Ford is not trying to change the game,  and came across as extremely well-briefed and prepared for interacting with the citizens of Empire Avenue,  Christopher presented himself more as  "we're (AT&T) just new here and are still figuring out how to engage and get to know all of you."    I found it rather charming, frankly.

Clearly it remains to be seen how well big corporations will fare in the intensely person to person milieu of Empire Avenue and the associated Facebook group.   It is also not yet at all apparent how well these companies will be able to get their dividends up in sync with the very high share prices they have quickly risen to  (my 200 shares in (e)ATT have appreciated by more than 10K in less than three days).   But if Scott and Christopher are representative of the people who will be playing for these huge corporations and if they continue to hang out, chat and engage with their shareholders,  I do believe these corporations may well be able to make some friends and succeed in the social networking stock trading game.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Didn't Saturday Used To Be A Slow Day Online?


Wow.  In the years that I have been publishing the book review blog,  weekends, in  particular Friday evening through Sunday afternoon have always been a slow time online.    This is I believe the third weekend that I have spent my Saturday hanging out on Empire Avenue,  Facebook and Twitter.   And for both personal and game reasons,  today totally  ROCKED!

The incomparable Frederic Denomme  tipped off  his Team Zen Community first thing this morning about the arrival on the Avenue of AT&T.  (e)ATT   I had to sell off some shares to raise cash.   There were a couple of players in my portfolio who had made no investment in me.   These I ditched quickly.   I then reduced my holdings in some of the shares I was least bullish about.    Within 15 minutes I owned 200 shares in AT&T,  which as of this writing have appreciated by more than 3,000e.   While lots of folks on the Ave spent the day racing to buy AT&T and pushing its price up, up, up  I spent a day at times almost feverishly chatting with my #SocialEmpire buddies,  a couple of whom are kind of moving past chat buddies to actual friends and one who is even moving along to family.

This personal stuff occurred against a backdrop of yesterday's post, which discussed (e)FORD's entrance on the Ave and questioned how the huge companies would stack up in terms of dividends, and which  succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.    Scott Monty,  Ford's VP for social media commented not only here on my blog,  but accepted the invitations of a whole bunch of #SocialEmpire members and joined our FB group and commented right there on the thread where we'd been discussing (e)FORD all day.     Honestly,  I have to say I'm genuinely impressed by Scott Monty.    His recent blog post about Empire Avenue indicates that he really does 'get it'  in a way so many 'copy/paste'  social media  'experts'  really don't.   Monty stressed that Ford wanted to work with Empire Avenue players in a way which does not "disrupt the ecosystem" (of game play).    While not everyone who has purchased shares in (e)FORD has gotten a buy-back yet,  lots of people,  such as Stu Rader report having engaged with folks from Ford and sold them a number of shares.  (I was very gratified that even before Scott engaged with us in the afternoon,  Ford invested in 150 shares of (e)LIBDRONE.)

That Ford is buying back but not all that rapidly suggests that they may be limiting their purchases of EAves, so as to, as Scott mentioned not disturb the game ecosystem.   This would seem to address some of the concerns that users like John Henry DeLong and Stephen Tiano  expressed-- to the effect that if companies like Ford can come in and buy a couple of million eaves,  how can players who are relying only on their wits and social skills hope to compete at all.   That Monty and team Ford seem to have put a considerable degree of thought and research into their Empire Avenue campaign is evident to me.    And by and large player reactions seem to range from enthusiastic to cautiously optimistic.     All in all I think it's been a dramatically successful introductory weekend for (e)FORD and the most active Saturday I ever remember having online.

Please visit again tomorrow when,  barring a crazy Sunday filled with other incredible news I hope to talk about some of the other big companies recently arrived on the Ave,  including (e)AUDI and (e)ATT.    I also hope to talk a bit about whether and how the arrival of all these big companies will change the dynamics of game play on EAv and  how players may or may not have to adapt.    Here's hoping that your Saturday too was filled with good friends and good fun.   Goodnight.