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.