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.