Random Support

Shhhh.   I tell you a secret that Mr. Everything just doesn’t get.    Being “random” with your friends does not actually, exactly come across as real friendship much of the time.   Of course randomly popping in unexpectedly and throwing real help is certainly a friend-winning move, but  being more likely to fail to show up when called, asked and needed is just not anyone’s idea of   “supportive”.     The further I go in social networking the more and more I find myself wondering if there isn’t really some upper hard limit of the number of Facebook friends one can have without turning into a Social Media Rock Star who just doesn’t get it.

I’ve long since realized that what really makes most things online go around is reciprocity.   The way to get links from nice people with great audiences is to consistently link to nice people who provide good content. This was true when I started my first blog way back then and remains true today.   Anyone who is serious about their blog will do all they can to encourage and respond to all comments to make the site a two way conversation with readers.    Consistently drawing comments and becoming known as a site where discussions will take place greatly increases page views.    It is in a sense so web publisher 101 that I remain a bit shocked that Mr. Everything  doesn’t even have comments on his blog.

But as I’ve said before it can take all kinds of FB friends to succeed in your goals on the Interwebz,  and I am genuinely proud to announce that Libdrone Books is signed up for Michael Q Todd’s #eavenar Social Media Conference,  to be held February 16th and 17th  from 12pm to 9pm  Pacific Time both days,   online.    Although the exact arrangements are not yet finalized as I write this,   the ticket will allow participants access to the teleconference website all hours on both days.   All paid participants will also receive a free copy of Walking Down The Avenue v 1.2,  the most comprehensive and up to date guide book there is for Empire Avenue.     The early bird price of only $4.95 for the two day conference and the eBook  is available only through February 8th.

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Choosing Tools Wisely

So I was talking to my friend Hartley (aka PetLvr) about Pinterest.   It seemed to me to be yet another sort of cool, sort of so/so  photo sharing site.    And then he showed me the pin for his book.   “That’s nice,” I thought.   Then he showed me how the pin is linked to the book’s actual download page.   He asked me for my book’s landing page,  and then added a pin for it.     It took me only moments then to realize,  hey this is WAY cool.    My friend and I just made a bookstore.   And it’s a bookstore that could get lots of casual browsers if only we got a bunch of other folks to join us.

I’m looking for authors who are willing to let me promote their books.   Your e-book or print book must already be for sale at a unique URL.    You will only need to permit me to pin a picture of your book cover and link it to where  you’re already selling it.   If it’s on Smashwords or Amazon please note that I will use affiliate links and earn a tiny commission,  though I am happy to feature ebooks that are offered for download from your own web site or even books that are sold,  but not on Smashwords or Amazon.   As long as you have a decent book cover image and a unique sales URL,  you’re in!

Just leave a comment with your book’s URL  and I will take care of the rest.   That Pinterest makes a great free virtual storefront may not be what the folks who created it intended,  but it seems perfect for this use,  at least for books with colorful covers.   I am thinking that this could be a great way for lots of us #indie authors and bloggers to promote our work–  as Hartley pointed out we can All re-pin each other’s books and the links to the sales pages will endure no matter how many times you re-pin the book cover image.   This is a great example of a friend showing me how to use a tool that had not seemed very useful to me before.    And you know,  maybe Michael  is right that all of the tools he promotes really are  necessary for a serious social networker.   But honestly,   I think it’s more likely that as my friend Stu Rader (aka 12flat of Olivia International) observed the other day:

” For a company, brand or client I whole-heartedly endorse a social media manager to have a central focus to a max of say 4 top level outlets from within a central hub. The hub should be a collaborative cloud or internal web based network/intranet. The front door to their business online is the Web site. Facebook personal profile is pretty obvious, G+ is gaining the momentum for businesses that cannot be ignored in 2012. Quora is a great place for an executive and brand/product manager to field questions about a product or service, since it does not allow business aliases. Facebook page with a possible tumblr feeding in. You notice I didn’t say Twitter, though we re-publish to it from #fb. Way too much IM noise/short link affiliate types there but fun when you’re bored. The above all applies to sole proprietorships and mega corps with many business units. ”

I greatly admire Michael‘s perseverance,  and honestly I don’t ever actually expect to “win”  our little argument.     I’m not a fan of all the sites Stu talks about–  you may remember that I hated G+ and canceled my account on that network months and months ago;  I also have never tried or used Quora.  And while I acknowledge what Stu said about the spammy short links and noise on Twitter,  I think that Twitter can be a very powerful tool for businesses and activists alike    I don’t think there is nor can be any “one size fits all”  answer for marketing,  social networking or anything else.   But I am dead certain that no individual or company can afford to be  everywhere.

Just Friends (Not Just Facebook Friends)

Anyone who has used Facebook for more than a short while and is not completely closed to accepting friend requests and at least occasionally meeting new people is well aware that there is a big difference between “friends”  and “Facebook friends”.   Even if you are Not in fact a LION* chances are  that your  “Facebook friends”  are an odd mixture of people whom you’ve known in different places and at different times over the years of your life.   I have some good friends who maintain in their minds (and thus in their realities) a very real distinction between  “friends”  and “online friends”.

A buddy recently mentioned to me that he personally will not agree to meet an online friend face to face without first speaking with them on the telephone.    And I know this buddy is hardly alone in that point of view.  (As a hearing impaired person who physically can NOT talk on the phone,  I would be tempted to say something like  “stay the frig away from me you hearing chauvinist”,  except that he is a good friend whom I’ve known for years and who is in fact extremely accommodating about my hearing problem.)   I personally do not make any distinction between  “online friends”  and “friends”.   For me they are all just friends.    After yesterday talking about and linking to a handful of old friends,  I thought that today I would throw a bit of link love to some of my newer friends:

Holly Jahangiri— writer, mom, social media bon vivant and super blogger  is the author of  A Puppy Not A Guppy and several other children’s books as well as the recently released  Innocents And Demons.   Like me,  Holly is an online old-timer going back to the earliest days of Compu$erve and GENIE,  where she was a sysop.   (Sysop is a low tech synonym for indentured servant who runs forums not for pay but to avoid huge online access bills.)   While Holly tells me that she is not a LION* she has over the years built up a huge circle of friends, fans and admirers who visit her personal blog  (It’s All A Matter Of Perspective) and who are now flocking to her newest niche blog The Next Goal.

Tom Cooley is totally drama free.  While he is something of an expert at promoting content  (ask him about Buzzfeed) he tends to be on the quiet side and almost never raises his voice nor gets rankled.  Tom has developed a big interest in aquaponics and along with Michael Q Todd  is one of the founders of #sustainchat which is working to use social media to work on addressing the environmental and social needs of our planet for a sustainable tomorrow.

Jake Kern is a true friend.   With a remarkable eye and hours of research each day,  Jake publishes Inherently Infinite and Intimate a collection of some of the best photography to be found on the interwebz.   Jake has a remarkable gift for understanding people and mediating disputes and is a lot of fun to hang out and shoot the breeze with.    As I said to Dane yesterday  “…the thing of it is, to have friends you have to be a friend. Whatever that means to you. (and your friends)”.

If you haven’t already met these folks,  I urge you to check out their blogs and say hello.   (I assure you none of them bite;  and if Holly threatens to stick Prunebutt on you don’t worry,  he’s imaginary.)   Here’s hoping that your week is going well.

PS–the photo above does NOT depict MY “Facebook friends”  😉

Hello World (The Worst of WP.com on Empire Avenue)

You may recall that I have been really focusing my blogging activity on WordPress.com.   I now have two WP.com blogs hooked up to Empire Avenue.  One of these has more than 500 hundred posts and over a thousand comments,  the other over three hundred posts and I don’t know how many comments.   (Lovely thing that WP.com let’s you simply Import all of the posts and comments from any previous blog you’ve published–  my libdronemuses.com site has only been on WordPress.com for a week or two,  but I have posts here dating back to 2007.

While there was much to like in the theme I defaulted to,  I selected this one which I think much better sets apart this personal blog from my book review site, which is a white theme with moderately colorful accents.   The black on purple background appeals to me,  while my 47 year old eyes appreciate the white background for the main text.    I have spent several hours going through my portfolio recently,   and while I didn’t not get all the way through  (my favorite EAv portfolio management tool, Set Social shows that I still have Pages and Pages to go through).   Every account that has a WP.com badge,  I click through to the blog and Follow it here on WP.com.  But in way, way way too many cases the blog I followed had only one post  (“Hello World!”) and the inimitable tagline “Just Another WordPress Blog”.

It is honestly amazing to me that people who know enough about social media and online presence to have very high Empire Avenue scores in multiple networks would have such a WordPress.com linked to their Empire Avenue account.    Honestly,  if you can’t do it at least decently well,  far better not to be on yet another network.    Although my good friend Michael Q. Todd  disagrees  (Michael insists that you should “claim your name”  on any and all social networks you encounter,  even if only to be able to leave your image and a link to wherever you Most want to direct traffic to.)   Over the going on twenty years that I’ve been online I have seen so many different web sites pop up and then disappear.   Even sites that seemed then as ubiquitous and mandatory as Facebook does now have come and gone.   I know that web communities are fragile.   And that people can and do suddenly simply decide to go offline one day and don’t come back.   Sometimes just for a while.   Sometimes ever.

I believe that anyone who is trying to get serious about social networking actually has to be very selective about where and how they spend their time.   And I believe most clients are best served by trying to focus on a handful of the places where most of their audience is most engaged.   (It’s also important to understand the difference between the people one talks to on Twitter– you won’t get very far if you’re only broadcasting– and Facebook in terms of the different audiences you may reach on each of these must have social networks.)   I honestly don’t believe anyone,  even if they can devote a 40 hour week to their blogging/social networking/activism/etc pursuits could possibly keep up with all of the social media sites that are out htere.    So I decided to offer Michael a bet.   Will he try out Every social network I can throw at him?