Fiducial Not Fiduciary

A one bit image from the Pixel Noise blog.

I’ve been having so much fun lately with the #definethis word game on Twitter.    I was very struck yesterday that several players seemed to confuse the daily word, fiducial,  with the very similar sounding but actually a quite different word fiduciary.’s definition of fiducial

Based on or having trust: fiducial dependence upon God.
Accepted as a fixed basis of reference or comparison: a fiducial point; a fiducial temperature.
does mention trust,  which is of course a critical component of a fiduciary relationship.

( defines fiduciary as:



Law . a person to whom property or power is entrusted forthe benefit of another.



Law . of or pertaining to the relation between a fiduciaryand his or her principal: a fiduciary capacity; a fiduciary duty.


of, based on, or in the nature of trust and confidence, asin public affairs: a fiduciary obligation of government employees.


depending on public confidence for value or currency, as fiat money.

Wikipedia’s disambiguation page for fiducial sheds some light.   The very first sentence on this page reads :
“In law the term “fiducial” means “of or pertaining to a fiduciary“.”   This page goes on to specify several other meanings,  including uses specific to imaging technology, mathematics, statistics and physics.   It was genuinely thrilling to me to explore these related yet distinct terms on Twitter.

Even though I am as yet following only less than 400 people,  I spent a little time yesterday un-following accounts that have not followed me back.    I was more than a little disappointed to find that TwitCleaner,  which my friend Holly highly recommended did not offer me an option of seeing a list of those who were not following me back.    I manually looked at all of the accounts TwitCleaner flagged (for spam, excessive posting, lack of interaction, etc.) and un-followed most everyone who is not following me back.    If you have 2,000 followers and you’re only following 20 users,  I’m sorry but you are not anyone I want to chat with on Twitter.

Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with being a broadcaster on Twitter.   There are lots of tweeps who enjoy getting updates in their stream and are not particularly concerned with who does or does not follow them back.    Like any and every other social media site,  Twitter is just a tool and there are probably as many different ways to use that tool as there are users.   It sometimes seems to me that a great deal of the tensions and disagreements in social media are between users who use the same tool differently and are unable to understand or accept that the other person’s different use of the same tool is every bit as legitimate as their own use.   (This applies in spades on Empire Avenue.)   Are you on Twitter?   Are you looking for reciprocal followers or do you prefer to subscribe to broadcasters to get information?   Leave a comment and let me know.

Being Patient With Your Boor

Patience has never been my long suit.     When I want something I tend to want it right now, thank you very much,  and would you please get it for me right away.    Yet patience is an absolutely essential trait in most any kind of planned social media.      Today,   while I should be writing that new book  (and I did get started on it and wrote perhaps 20% of it the other day) I find myself working on an experiment to promote the #definethis daily word game.    It will take several weeks to fully implement this new strategy and will take months in fact to see how well it does or doesn’t pay off.       I think the trick will be to stick with implementing it over those weeks and months until it becomes clear how well it works.    I am trying real hard to learn patience,  as it applies to giving strategies time to prove themselves or clearly fail.  I am not going to go into the strategy here  (I have to save something for the book) but if you enjoy obscure and unusual words,   I certainly invite you to join us in the daily Twitter word game.   Just visit the #definethis blog every day for the latest word and concise instructions.

I also today find myself wanting to tell an acquaintance that he comes across so salesy that I these days am making almost every effort to avoid hearing from him.   Lately this guy seems to send me an instant message every day or so.    I never reply to these IM’s anymore,   and I have already unsubscribed from all of his updates.   We were introduced by someone who is a good bit further along the road from acquaintance to friend in my own personal account books and I really don’t want to un-friend  (because it would likely be noticed and might spark hurt feelings and public sentiments).     Some days,  I wish I weren’t so thoroughly Southern and would just tell the guy to leave me alone.   /sighs   I actually know that I will not ever tell off my salesy acquaintance,  or even admit to him that I find his IM’s annoying.   I know that being gracious with socially inept people is one of the duties of those who would claim to have decent manners.    And sometimes,   putting up with a boor is simply one’s duty.

A Cacophany of Cacography on #definethis

Happy Friday, my friends.    Those who have been on Twitter awhile know that #FollowFriday,  frequently abbreviated #FF is a time to spam links to lots of people you don’t really know.   Heck,  if you get your handle included in a popular string,  it can lead to dozens of people re-tweeting your handle dozens of times.    It does not,  for the most part in my experience,  actually leading to lots of people following you.   There are many who argue that follow Friday has become a meaningless cacophony and there is at times real truth in this.

Lately,  I have been having so much fun playing #definethis with a few friends whom I round up with an Empire Avenue mission.     What I really love about it is that both my writer and word nerd kind of friends, who just love word games and my  hate to write friends all seem to enjoy playing.      I have talked to Heather,  the lady who tweets out the word of the day each morning.   She is frank to admit that she just abandoned #definethis due to being busy with other commitments.   It sounds as though the tweets are going out mainly because she lost the password to log into the account to turn them off.    So anyhoo,  this #FollowFriday  I decided to link to some of the great folks who popped into my #definethis column the day we posted a cacophonous cacography.

@nwjerseyliz  is I sometimes think my only friend who can spell.   More times than I care to count Liz has tactfully pointed out one of my typos or mis-spellings.    Her tweet:   “In medical school, would-be physicians are required to take Cacography 101. #DefineThis

Liz was not the only one to invoke a medical theme.  Jeroen @jvzelst,  was also quick to use doctor’s handwriting,  tweeting ,  “It just keeps amazing me how my pharmacist can decipher the cocography of my family doctor…#definethis”

My buddy Sharon, @crazykids6  the absolutely laugh out loud funny family blogger blamed her kids of course: “Boy, do my kids really need to work on their cocophany #definethis

My organic expert buddy  Craig @ogranichat was literary:  “I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words yet embedded in front of my eyes my cacography beckons me to do better.#definethis

My friend Mandy  (@zoe201015),  who has become one of the sharpest commentators on this blog,  observed:  The cocography present in my physicians notes regarding my last visit was overwhelming and unsettling. #definethis  (again with a doctor theme)

These are just five of the great friends who played my cacophonous cacography  game this week.   I hope to continue these lexicographical excursions and may make something sort of like this post my own personal  #FF traditon.

Loath v Loathe OR A Vocabulary Lesson on #definethis

"Look, a distraction!"

I continue to have a lot of fun with my friends,  which to a larger degree than for most people really is my primary goal online.   Yes,   I write books and publish books and do consulting with #indie writers who need help with the “blogging/social networking” thing.   But everything that I do is really based on relationships and most of what I’m doing so far is just building relationships.

And the other day I had a mostly lovely chat with my friend Gaye Crispin  (who by the way is one of the most lovely and charming people I know) about the very similar and confusing words loath and loathe.    Click on each of the words to see the definitions.   As homonyms go these two are kind of,  well,  killer.   Our fascinating discovery of these two very similar words was brought about by the daily #definethis contest on Twitter.     I’ve long been a huge fan of #definethis  which challenges the Twitterverse to use Merriam Webster’s word of the day in a sentence.   Just tweet your sentence with hashtag #definethis  and you’re in the game.  I’ve been playing for some time now and for awhile we had a nice little crew of players but they seemed to disperse over the holidays and somehow never came back.

But yesterday I used an Empire Avenue mission to try to rouse up a few more players,  and was so pleased that Gaye not only played,  but actually pointed out to me that the word of the day, loath,  was not actually the word I had used but instead it’s identically pronounced cousin,  which actually does not mean the same thing.     For a word nerd like me it was a moment of pure bliss.    I think I will continue bribing with eaves a few more folks to play #definethis with me on Twitter.     And if eaves aren’t your main motivator,  feel free to follow @definethis to receive one tweet every day with the new word a link to the definition.

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.