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.

#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!

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.