Saturday, April 2, 2011

Twitter a Bad Neighbor in San Francisco?

Twitter,  a still relatively small (in business terms) company grew out of a project at a San Francisco firm,  has taken the Internet by storm with its very popular micro-blogging service.   Like many growing companies,  Twitter is need of more office space, projecting growing to a level of 3,000 employees.   San Francisco taxes businesses by a levy on payroll,  rather than the more common tax on earnings or,  as here in Washington state a tax on gross receipts.   This means that most tech companies who looked to expand a large work force would look to move out of San Francisco,  to an office park in Silicon Valley or to a completely different market outside of the Bay Area.  

Twitter however came to an agreement with the city of San Francisco under which they will lease for six years a much larger space in a vacant building only a block or so away from its current headquarters office.   In return,  San Francisco will exempt Twitter from the payroll tax for all new employees hired during the six year lease.   Twitter's neighbors complain that the gentrification will only increase rents in the area  (San Francisco is a notoriously very expensive city) and that Twitter's presence will not benefit them at all, given the tax exemption.    Seems to me San Francisco's tax policy does tend to favor smaller companies or smaller offices of large companies.    Whether San Francisco's tax break is a good deal or nor?    That's harder to call.

What do YOU think?

For more information see this article in The Seattle Times:
Twitter tax deal creates classic San Francisco row

What's Your Twitter Grade?

I am bi-polar.   I only fairly recently learned that bi-polar disorder is what is wrong with me-- although I've realized for most of my life that _something_ was wrong.    Honestly,  I've found that it is much easier to deal with my illness now that I know what it is.     I've learned that when I start on some project or game or task late at night,  become engrossed and stick with it all night and just keep plugging away at it all the next day,   this is a sure sign that I have cycled up to manic.

I mentioned awhile back my new interest in the web site Empire Avenue,   and I continue to be really hooked on this game.    One of the things I noticed on my EA profile  (I seem to almost constantly hit F5 to see if anything has changed) is that EA has tentatively assigned me a not-half-bad Twitter score.     I don't use Twitter the way most people do.    Some of the accounts I follow on Twitter are news organizations (I find the headlines that my echofon flashes in the lower right corner of my Firefox screen genuinely useful for following news) and the others are pretty much all people I have come to know,  either on various blogs and web sites or face-to-face.   And while some of my postings to Twitter are to publicize things I have written,  most of them are actual conversations with other sharp, clever people.

Anyhoo,  after having met and followed a bunch of new people after spending a night and a day hanging out on EA, Twitter, Facebook and a few other sites,   I decided to re-visit a site I've used before  Twitter Grader.  It;'s real easy to use.   Just type in a Twitter handle and hit Enter and after a brief interval the site provides you with a numeric grade,  on the 0-100 scale as well as an absolute rank  # xxx  out of the 9 million some odd Twitter users the site has graded.    My score currently is 87/100 and 1 million some odd out of 9 million some odd.    This seems pretty high to me since I have less than 300 followers.   So out of curiosity,  I ran some of the people I follow through the program and was a bit amazed that almost all of the folks I follow and talk to have scores in the high 90's and  many of them are ranked 100/100.

Honestly,  I don't really know what all this means,  yet I find it fascinating.    Do you use Twitter?  If so,  visit Twitter Grader and see what your score is.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Full Circle

Blogging has been, truly, a long strange trip for me.   I started a site on Blogspot on June 1, 2007,  largely to keep up with a couple of very long-time dear friends, whom I mostly kept up with via their blogs.  (Hi Ron!, Hi Bev!)    Since that first uncertain post,  almost four years ago now,  my life has been through so many changes, ups, downs, ins and outs that I am hardly the person I was then.    In September 2007,  I took some good advice and moved my personal journal to this site (which until very recently was at and focused my site at  much more tightly on book reviews.

Only I never really did keep up with the journal on this site.   There were a few months in 2008 when I did post fairly regularly  (and most of those posts were about how very challenging it was to produce a daily book review site) but honestly this site never made it very far up my priority list.   And that definitely shows.  (I remain in awe of my friend Bev who for more than ten years now has published a daily, 7 days a week,  journal of her life.)   I learned more than a bit about blogging and web publishing.   I learned about web site promotion.    I moved on from Blogspot to self-hosted WordPress.   Still later I moved on again to free-hosted WordPress (.com).    My health took a turn for the worse and I had to retire from the library.

Being on disability is okay.   Although under our insane health care system it requires taking a two year vacation from seeing doctors and taking pills.    I've still got 9 months to go before I will have healthcare again,  and my diabetes, blood pressure and bi-polar disorder are starting to really worry me  (untreated).   While I kind of know in theory how to create a money-making blog,   I found that putting it into practice was oh so much more difficult than I'd ever imagined.    I've found that free-lance writing is a very tough way to earn extra income.   (Lots of buyers want excellent, eloquent, "native-speaking"  English;  but they mostly want it at wages that would be so-so in rural   India,  let alone the urban United States.)  So now,  I am working on writing a book,  which I plan to self-publish.   

And I find that what I really want to do,  in addition to write books and play games online,  is get back to this personal journal.   Which has been online for nearly four years.   And which I've never really made a serious effort at.   Now that I know that I am never going to make more than pocket change for creating it;  now that I have a much better understanding of how to create, publish and promote it;  now finally I have come full circle;  to publishing on BlogSpot;   about my life and my feelings.     I don't know if I will ever have the self-discipline to post every day,  but I'm going to give it a go.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.    I welcome your comments and will endeavor to reply.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Empire Builder

First,   please note that this post has nothing whatsoever to do with the Amtrak train that travels between Chicago and Seattle.   (Though I would of course like to take that train.   Someday.)    A few days ago, my friend Tony posted something about a new social networking site he's been using.   So I clicked the link and was very soon caught up in Empire Avenue,  a new social networking aggregation site that revolves around a stock market theme.    When you sign up, you choose a ticker symbol  (mine is LIBDRONE-- go figure ;) and other users can buy shares in you.    As you sell  shares, your value increases.   Your value also increases based on your participation in social networks--  specifically Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Flickr and You Tube.

I've had a boat load of fun buying and selling shares in other people.   As most always happens,  several of my most social-networking-savvy friends are already on there  (and of course,  I bought shares in them right away) and I am meeting a bunch of fun and interesting new people.    I have a feeling that I am going to enjoy actively participating in Empire Avenue.    And I am 100% certain that talk about a virtual stock market social networking site,  really doesn't belong on the books blog.   So I decided once again to dust off my old, old personal blog,  so that I can write about what I'm mostly doing for fun online these days.     I expect that I will spend some time dusting off the old site,  adding pictures and widgets and re-listing on CMFads and Blog Catalog and other places I took it down from,  the last time I stopped updating this site.

If you haven't already,  please take a few minutes to check out Empire Avenue,  and please do buy 200 shares in me.   It doesn't cost anything to join or participate.   There are some optional added features that you can buy with real money,  but it is definitely not required,  nor necessary to have a grand old time becoming a virtual social stock market mogul.      If you do visit EA,  be sure to say hello.   I'll be happy to buy some shares in you and hope that you enjoy playing as much as I do.