In The Wasted Half

You know,  I’m not going to just mention it to you if your stated goal states to me that you’re either very ignorant about social media or something of an asshole.    Today I heard someone state they were trying to create a pinterest board of “socially interesting people”.      I thought for the briefest of moments of pointing out that there is a huge difference between say “people interested in social networking”  and  “people I personally find socially interesting”  and that the title chosen for the pinterest board does not make it very clear whom the guy is targeting.   I said nothing, however,  because the guy is not my client and if you are not paying me to show you the way,  I’m not much inclined to point out your obvious flaws free of charge,   lest I slip up and act like an asshole again.  (I fear my good friend is correct when he tells me that sometimes I do come across that way.)

My friends are people who are interesting to me,  either because of the quality of their conversation and/or because we share experiences or interests– such as in certain hobbies, professions,  lines of thought or endeavor, etc.     Then there are acquaintances whom I may share some interests with and who may some day become friends or may some day drop out of my acquaintanceship.    That’s just life.  ,A conversation with a couple of friends about Facebook advertising brought home to me not how targeted the ads on Facebook are  (duh,  I knew that) but how hit or miss that targeting is to an advertiser.   I do sometimes write tips and advice for bloggers and about using social networking to promote a blog.    But honestly,  I am so not in the market for any of the get rich quick schemes targeted at uniformed new bloggers who all paid to advertise to me on Facebook today.     I remember once being very taken by an ad for a cruise line,  advertising a luxury voyage to some exotic destination (which I doubt I’ll ever be able to afford to visit).    I clicked the ad several times and spent hours pouring over info for an exotic trip I was never really in the market for.

I’m reminded again of what Philadelphia department store magnate John Wannamaker famously said about advertising.   “…half of it is wasted.   The only trouble is we don’t know which half.”

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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.

Friends and Games–For Me the Relationships Are the Point

I have a confession today.  I am almost 47 years old, but I am still more than a bit of a little boy when it comes to games.   I tend to be a monogamist when it comes to games.   As a child I went through phases with many different board games like Monopoly and Battleship and Scrabble.   As a new computer user I got really hooked for several years on Tetris.   And then I went online for the first time and stumbled into Multi User Dimensions.  It was a sort of Dungeons and Dragons– but played with people all over the world and with none of that tiresome fixation on various-sided die and no need to continually buy additional sets to keep the game fresh.

I spent hours and hours every day  using Telnet to connect  to quark.gmi.edu: 4150.    Honestly,  I had never been real big on Dungeons and Dragons;  some folks took it  so seriously that it was hard for a casual player not to exhaust their enthusiasm, long before the perpetual arguments about what a particular roll Really meant in terms of game play or just how the words in the book should be interpreted could get fully underway, let alone resolved.   In my real life experience,  D & D people were dull because they rarely wanted to talk about anything else.   The wonderful thing about Timewarp was that it was a place I could constantly chat with an ever-expanding roster of good friends that I talked to every day, and whose real lives I was a part of, as they were a part of mine.    Online friends, and particularly people I met on Timewarp changed my life, perhaps as much or more as any other experience.

My friend Mangus, it eventually developed worked in Tech Support at Microsoft.   When I pissed and moaned about my job one day, he said to me “Why don’t you move out here, Outofit.   I could help you get a job with a tech company.”    I had long decided that Boston was not the right place for me.    And when I kept on talking to him, and he seemed to honestly believe that I could get a much better job in Seattle,  I quit my crappy job and my crappy apartment, leased a new Toyota for three hundred bucks and set off down the yellow brick road to Oz.   In Chicago I stayed with one online friend (on Christmas Eve– she took me to her sister’s dinner and they made me feel like family, even though I had never before met them face to face).   I detoured to San Rafael, California to visit and stay with a friend who had fled Boston not too long before me and had a great job with a Marin software company.    After a breathtakingly beautiful and deeply emotional, almost spiritual seven day journey I docked in Tacoma, Washington  and spent three month’s camping out on my incredibly generous and wonderful friend Loofa’s couch.     All of these people were just “folks I played games with”.  But they all gave me food,  a place to stay and a real chance to change my life so much for the better,  that I know I will never, ever be able to re-pay them– except of course to the extent that I too extend love and kindness to people around me who are in need at the moment they pass through my life.

Today Spiggi  told me that “friends and games are unrelated.”    This post is to reply, in friendship and without rancor that that is the most asinine thing I have ever heard.

Walking Down The Avenue

I’m reminded, frankly, of the early days of Entrecard.  Before bad management changed a clever and effective social network to a tired traffic exchange,  Entrecard attracted a group of smart, clever bloggers and allowed them to meet, mix, mingle and place small box ads all over each other’s blogs.    For me it was a very exciting time when in short order I met dozens and dozens of great bloggers,  made a whole bunch of new friends and saw my blog’s popularity skyrocket.   I’ve been involved in many web sites and forums since then,  but until my recent foray onto Empire Avenue  I had not experienced anything like those heady early days on Entrecard (which, btw, were also remniscient of my early days on Blog Catalog.)

I remember explaining to Rich Becker, shortly after catching the Entrecard bug that Entrecard was Really a social network,  decked out in advertising service clothes.    Likewise Empire Avenue is Really a social network that struts about dressed as a stock trading game.   Each member of EA selects a  Ticker Symbol (1–12 alpha-numeric characters) and other users buy shares in their stock.   You can of course invest your precious Eaves (a virtual currency) in such luminaries as Tony Berkman(e)MEDIAMOGUL,  Johh Gushue (e)GUSHUE,  Richard Becker (e)RRB  or even your humble correspondent, (e)LIBDRONE.

You will connect your social network accounts– specifically Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Flickr and YouTube,  as well as your blogs to your EA profile.   Your participating on each of these networks, as well as your participation on the Empire Avenue site contribute to raising your share price,  which also goes up each time someone buys shares in you.   Your shareholders earn dividends each night, which are based on your level of activity on your blogs and social networks.    As successful photography blogger Henry Plumley  (e)PHOTOSBYHANK observed:  “It really is a great new way to approach networking. Soon after you sign in, you become wrapped up in researching your target audience and making sure your message is out there for all to see.  What I feel is the best feature of Empire Avenue is the ability to see all your other social networks at a glance. Empire Avenue uses a 0-100 scoring system to rate your performance on all your networks. It’s so easy to see where your strengths and weaknesses are which helps you decide where you need to improve.  “

I’ve spoken with many members who have found that Empire Avenue gives them the push they need to keep focused on creating quality content and interacting with their audience,  both for the success of their blogs and careers and to keep their share price up.   When someone’s share price increases over 100e  they are declared Centurions and are toasted by everyone on the Avenue.   If you do sign up,  be sure to send me a private message.   I’ll be happy to invite you to join the #SocialEmpire group on Facebook,  where lots of great EA players hang out and talk about everything from tips on social networking, blogging and EA success to movies, music and their personal lives.    It’s a boat load of fun AND it helps you to succeed at blogging and social networking.   What do you say?   Why not try Empire Avenue now,  and receive 2,000 Eaves on me! 

Empire Builder

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First,   please note that this post has nothing whatsoever to do with the Amtrak train that travels between Chicago and Seattle.   (Though I would of course like to take that train.   Someday.)    A few days ago, my friend Tony posted something about a new social networking site he’s been using.   So I clicked the link and was very soon caught up in Empire Avenue,  a new social networking aggregation site that revolves around a stock market theme.    When you sign up, you choose a ticker symbol  (mine is LIBDRONE— go figure 😉 and other users can buy shares in you.    As you sell  shares, your value increases.   Your value also increases based on your participation in social networks–  specifically Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Flickr and You Tube.

I’ve had a boat load of fun buying and selling shares in other people.   As most always happens,  several of my most social-networking-savvy friends are already on there  (and of course,  I bought shares in them right away) and I am meeting a bunch of fun and interesting new people.    I have a feeling that I am going to enjoy actively participating in Empire Avenue.    And I am 100% certain that talk about a virtual stock market social networking site,  really doesn’t belong on the books blog.   So I decided once again to dust off my old, old personal blog,  so that I can write about what I’m mostly doing for fun online these days.     I expect that I will spend some time dusting off the old site,  adding pictures and widgets and re-listing on CMFads and Blog Catalog and other places I took it down from,  the last time I stopped updating this site.

If you haven’t already,  please take a few minutes to check out Empire Avenue,  and please do buy 200 shares in me.   It doesn’t cost anything to join or participate.   There are some optional added features that you can buy with real money,  but it is definitely not required,  nor necessary to have a grand old time becoming a virtual social stock market mogul.      If you do visit EA,  be sure to say hello.   I’ll be happy to buy some shares in you and hope that you enjoy playing as much as I do.