Some days just seemed turned around. Upside down or perhaps inside out.
In a weird way I AM working on the new mission book today. Although what I am actually doing is not writing the book but talking to a friend about how she uses missions. She’s giving me some fantastic insights and great information that I will certainly rely on in writing the book. Part of me is certain this is just good old fashioned procrastination, yet another part of me is even more certain that the book has not jelled in my mind yet and that I still need to talk more and learn more before I can write it. And I still think I will be able to make my July 1st deadline.
I know that later this week I absolutely must break open a manuscript and start writing. And that makes me just a tiny bit nervous. Though I am in some ways very much looking forward to having written again, I don’t much want to write. (And yes, I know how utterly crazy that sounds.) Honestly, I feel a bit guilty about cranking out yet another blog posts about writer’s angst. So to give this post just a bit of another focus, I invite you to comment with any questions or observations you have about Empire Avenue missions. Missions can be great for achieving a number of different objectives. And the more eaves you can devote to missions the more things you can get your social media contacts to do. I also will try to make clear some of the many things that missions don’t work well for, in hopes of saving players’ time and eaves from being spent on strategies that have little or no chance of success.
So how about it? Do you have any questions about Empire Avenue missions? Have you picked up any eaves by participating in missions? Have you offered any missions? How did they go? Please leave a comment with your answers to any or all of these questions. And be sure to look for Libdrone’s Guide To Empire Avenue missions coming this summer.
So my blood sugar this morning is 143. Still a bit more to go to get down to the goal of 110, but definitely better. I have been consistent about taking my pills and injecting my insulin each morning when I get up, though I do not check my blood sugar every day. I remain convinced that constantly checking the sugar level mainly benefits the folks who sell the test strips.
I continue to find myself more and more frustrated with Empire Avenue. Today for the first time in a while I put up a #definethis mission. I was pleased of course to see some of my old friends participate on Twitter. But I am uber frustrated– the mission simply does not seem to appear on my Empire Avenue screens. If I go to the create new mission tab, it shows that I have one mission active, but when I click on the mission it goes to the My Missions tab which shows blank. It also seems that I have somehow reached the limit on the number of people I am allowed to block. When I tried to block someone yesterday, I got a pop up saying that I had reached my limit and to contact support. I can’t find anywhere in the help docs what the limit on blocking is, and I am not going to try submitting a support ticket, as they have not replied to support tickets for the year I’ve been on the site. Feh. It feels almost as though they are driving me away.
If several different things work out, I may drive up to Seattle today with a friend to pick up something I’ve really been wanting for several weeks now. I don’t much want to drive all the way to Seattle, but I am thinking it might be worth it to get what I need. Here’s hoping that your new week is off to a good start. And I will try my darnedest to get back in the habit of posting to this site every day.
“Ain’t the years gone by fast…I suppose you have missed them.”
Time flies when you’re having fun. This morning when I logged in on Empire Avenue, a pop advised me that today is my one year anniversary. And what a year it has been. I’ve met so many amazing people, learned so much about social media and written and published Walking Down The Avenue, a concise and helpful guide for newcomers on the site. I am still analyzing the changes the Empire Avenue team recently introduced to the site. I believe that removing the confusing and not really important indices was a good move. I continue to experiment with and learn about missions. I expect I will be ready to release a new updated version of the book in about a month.
It seems I was right that yesterday was just a bit of a high point or reprieve in a depression that very much seems to be continuing on today. I slept from about 9pm until about 5am, but have felt tired and listless all day today. So I am listening to some great music from America. And hoping that this finds things going better in your world today.
I genuinely like Pinterest. I have boards of gorgeous pictures, and I add more all the time. Occasionally I edit a pin to point it somewhere I want it to point to, but mostly I just leave the pins pointing to wherever I noticed the image in the first place. I try hard to be fair about using pictures that are not mine, though I admit sometimes I just scrape images, and link them to the blog they appeared on before. The number of complaints I’ve received so far– one. And that person didn’t actually want me to take it down, just wanted me to cite it properly. No problem. Full disclosure– I am what the lawyers would call judgement proof. The image owner could sue me but would never collect a thing. Pinterest might not be such a great thing for you. But as I say all the time, you have to tailor your social media plan to your particular needs and goals.
It really frustrates me the way any time a team has a bit of a success, there are suddenly 100 teams trying to duplicate what they just did, and by and large all of the ME TOO products seem horrible and useless to me. Pinterest came up with a clever and distinctive interpretation of what could have been just the zillionth book marking site or photo gallery site. I have to say that I was honestly appalled that the Empire Avenue team included in it’s update a very Pinterest looking page that channels the blog and social media rss traffic of all of your shareholders and those you hold shares in. This same information has always been available on each persons’ profile page. What I don’t like about the new eav page is what I found I didn’t like about the social CRM software I tried out a while back. While I love the theory of being able to see all of my streams in one place, the fact of it is I currently manage different social networks using different tools and my first reaction to having every last tweet, facebook msg, stauts update, etc etc etc all dumped into one big stream….was OMG, how can I focus on anything with all this jumbled together. My friend Nakeva on the other hand found real utility in that program and gave me some good advice for setting it up. Different tools for different purposes and different people. The right tool I do believe is the one that works well for YOU.
My other thought is that it appears they are completing eliminating the indices. This is a good move in that being listed in a particular index (I’ve been CEO of Games, Social for a while) gave some pathetically small bragging rights to a handful of CEO’s but contributed nothing to the game play nor the user experience. That will be a long section I can just delete from the book, while I will have to write a lot more about missions.
Private conversations are the most important ones, I’ve come to believe. I know I’ve written recently that “any idiot can raise an amen chorus“ and I certainly don’t mean to disparage public conversations– heck, this blog has been all about public conversations– but any real professional knows that private conversations online is where business really happens. Whether it’s discussing future plans with a mentor, re-hashing a major event with another participant or joking and daydreaming and just being friends, private conversations are where any good social networker will invest a lot of their time.
I finally managed to steal a glimpse of the new Empire Avenue interface. So they borrowed a designer from Pinterest to make a graphical display of your Tweetstream. Excuse me while I have a nice long YAAAWWWNNN. I’ve yet to reach any judgment about the value or the utility of the Empire Avenue changes, but my first reaction is that they are hardly game changing and will not require a great deal of revisions in the next release of Walking Down The Avenue. However, a private conversation this morning, in addition to alerting me to sneak a glance at EAv’s new interface helped me to conceive a great marketing innovation for the next release of the book. Those who pay a lot of attention to me and my web presence may note that the new account I created on Empire Avenue yesterday has nothing at all to do with Walking or its promotion and is actually about a new project I am conceiving that is related to bullying and online reputation. I’m not ready to publicly announce any more than that at this time.
I’ve said many times that the only constant is change, and nothing in my life experiences so far causes me to in any way doubt this maxim, which I believe is equally true in business, in social media and in human life generally. I find myself getting genuinely excited about writing and selling the next release of Walking, even as I continue blogging every day and trying real hard to have lots of public conversations here on my blog (go say Happy Birthday to my friend Hank NOW if you haven’t already and think that my new project could be a lot of fun, and a way to earn a bit of profit. Life feels good to me this Monday morning. I hope it feels good in your world as well and that you have a great week ahead.
I am convinced that some users simply fail to appreciate that they are most always dealing with other real people on the other sides of their computer screens. Surely, I think to myself, folks would never be this dishonest and petty if they were not convinced that cheating somehow doesn’t count when you do it online for play money. It was an ugly situation in the #SocialEmpire group.
A long time Empire Avenue player who runs a charitable organization was complaining that he had created a very high value mission offering 50,000 eaves to folks who donated $25 to his charity. He gave away a lot of play money and only three folks made the reciprocal donation to his charity. A member of the Empire Avenue staff popped in and mentioned that they can help in this sort of situation. Several folks pointed out that all users who offer missions can make them contingent on being a member of a particular Empire Avenue community, and if you have a closed community, you can carefully control whom the mission funds go to. The gentleman who had lost 1.5 million eaves (who is btw a very nice guy and whom I consider a friend) vented a bit more, and then one of my other friends took offense. Some days social media(tion) is not so fun :)
However the problem, which the guy who lost a boat load of eaves complained about, is a real and growing problem. My friend Gaye Crispin told me she recently lost 100,000 eaves offering a simple re-tweet mission. While I have been genuinely thrilled with all of the visitors missions have attracted to this blog, I certainly share my friends’ frustrations with folks who just take the eaves and ignore the instructions. So I was pleased when Gaye announced she is forming the Missionaries Community on Empire Avenue. I have run several missions now, paying extra to require that the mission be open only to this community. The first two worked pretty well, but the third one….I was really disappointed that so many folks took my thousand eaves and didn’t even do the simple re-tweet that was the easy alternative for my mission.
And so I have been playing whack a mole again, blocking the folks who took my play money but didn’t bother to even send a simple re-tweet as I asked. I suppose I will have to let Gaye know about the worst of the cheaters in her group, which was specifically set up to save us from the legions of cheaters. Sometimes…..social media games really suck.
Sometimes I really do wish that I were the one who came up with the expressions that go viral. I first heard the expression “button dancing” on my friend Holly’s blog. She quotes Hajra Khatoon with coining the phrase “button dance” for the act of clicking all the like and share buttons on a blog post–the high speed intersection of blogging and social networking. It is an apt expression, and more and more of us are doing it every day it seems. Sometimes I do it because a friend sent me a request or offered a few eaves in an Empire Avenue mission. Other times just because I found myself impressed with someone’s comments or content.
It seems to me that button dancing is just one part of what I am coming to recognize as an entire global economy in social recognition. I’ve written before that reciprocity is really what makes most things go around online. In Walking Down The Avenue, I mention the “speed dating” that used to be frequently practiced in the #SocialEmpire Facebook group. Not nearly as naughty as it sounds, speed dating merely involves creating a thread or an event. Each user who signs in to the event visits the Facebook profile or page of every other participant and Likes everything on the page and leaves a comment or two. Sometimes you find interesting information or discover cool things on your friends’ pages. And sometimes real conversations (and sometimes great and or hilarious conversations) take place on Facebook pages. I often find myself shooting the breeze with Randi, Jake and Sharon among many other friends I talk to on Facebook.
Empire Avenue missions fit neatly into the social recognition economy. They allow bloggers and social networkers to give their friends an incentive to do the button dance or to perform any number of other actions that make the recognition economy go around. I’ve used missions to revive the #definethis daily word game on Twitter. I’m having a great deal of fun with my friends who enjoy obscure and unusual words. And I’ve found that the more I succeed in my goal of having fun with my friends online, the more my Empire Avenue scores, dividends and share price go up. What about you? Do you do the button dance? Have you ever like bombed a friend’s Facebook page?
They are my friends. I need to make that totally clear. And to give them their due, I also have to say that they are sometimes, in some ways approachable. And they do help to promote me and my work. And yet.
Unlike my blogger friends of yore, they don’t seem to notice or acknowledge when you link to them. They don’t always notice when you are speaking to them, even if you do tag them in a public post. They are never rude, of course. Except in that they sometimes seem to ignore you, even when you are right there. They are so different from you and me. Except I sometimes fear I am becoming one.
Social Media Rock Stars. I actually think there was a Facebook group with that name once, but I’m pretty sure it never really took off. S/M rockstars are usually quite friendly of course. They tend to greet most new ideas with enthusiasm and most always pledge to help. They are a bit less likely than most to actually follow through. And as I struggle to keep up with the almost 700 friends I’ve made to date I do have to wonder how the folks with 2,700 friends manage without things falling through the cracks. (Except of course that I know things DO fall through the cracks, as they did when I had thirty friends and when I had 300 friends…it really is kind of human nature I think.)
I am both thrilled and amazed at the great new people I continue to meet (like Susan Davis Cushing– one of the founders of #Sustainchat and master gardener and organic expert June Stoyer, who is patient even with my very brown thumb) and at the same time painfully aware that I now have at least 100 shareholders whom I have somehow not managed to meet, greet or invest in. It is so easy to be critical of others for the short-comings you perceive in their social media efforts. And so difficult to keep up with an ever growing number of friends and acquaintances. And I think the only is answer is the one that John Irving quoted in The Hotel New Hampshire. (“And so we beat on, and our dreams escape us almost as vividly as we can imagine them.”). It’s not really an answer to the time crunch of an ever expanding social media circle. But it may serve as a reminder that even if you have (insert Your friend count number here) friends, real communication is still more often than not a one to one experience.
It was a thread in Team Zen, but it felt as though it really could have used a bit of self help from the 1970′s. Empire Avenue is a very intriguing and complex web site. It is in one sense an equivalent or perhaps competitor to sites like Klout and Peer Index. But at the same time it is most definitely a social networking stock market trading game. And I honestly don’t think it is in the least bit fair to criticize one’s friends because they are ”playing to win” in what is most definitely a game, that has been specifically offered as such by the gentlemen (Are there any ladies on the EAv Team?) who put the site up on the web every day.
Some people are on Empire Avenue because they are trying to be or consider themselves or are paid to be social media
rockstars err managers or managers in training. Some people are just using EAv as a tool to see how they’re doing elsewhere. Some folks are playing the game, and some of those folks are playing to win. Some folks care mostly about the play money and the score. Some folks care mostly about the people. And everyone really IS trying to promote not only their stock but also in many cases also their ideas. Some folks are using Empire Avenue primarily as a social network on which to meet people with whom they are in fact trying to change the world. And you know what? They are all friends of mine. Empire Avenue is a tool as well as a game as well as a social network. And like a good party, it’s also whatever you decide to make it.
So if you’re old enough, do a little mental time travel and remember when I’m OK, You’re OK was a best seller. Try at least for a little while to remember the days of TM and est. Recite your mantra if you remember it. And repeat after me. There is NO Right or Wrong way to play Empire Avenue. Brad and the EAv team have made clear that they are strongly committed to enforcing the rules and there is no reason that any of us should ever turn away in friend ship from one another who do follow the rules. In my considered opinion Brad and Dups and all of the rest of their great team are more than quite capable of enforcing the rules. And if you see anything that you think is wrong, but all means press the report button and talk to them about your concerns.
But I respectfully state that criticizing erstwhile friends for choosing a different style of game play which is in fact perfectly within the rules and is not in fact per se harmful to the game or to any of the other participants in the game or in the communities. It seems to me there was very wide criticism of some very over the top blog spamming. (eg publishing Project Gutenberg is perfectly legal, even in 300 word bites with dozens and dozens of posts per day, but is so obviously cheating that it was intolerable— they got rid of that) although as a person who is very serious about blogging I was disappointed that part of the fix was that they greatly devalued even the five blog post per day that they count. But I can live with that. I’m doing what I’m doing on my blogs and social networks because it is Exactly what I want to do. For me that is HUGE. So please, no matter how passionately you feel about newbies needing a better welcome experience than getting bid up and churned down (In my case only if they DON’t connect) all in their first week, don’t blame folks who try to buy and connect with new folks most every day and hold them for a while, and then sell them if they don’t connects. That’s just the game and if you’re really saying that folks who take it first as a game shouldn’t be welcome on the Avenue? Well then I can only say how presumptuous of you.
‘sup. My wonderful friend Tom Cooley showed me how to make a superscript number in WordPress. I actually do understand how tags work in HTML and have been known to occasionally venture away from the visual editor and actually edit just a bit of HTML to accomplish some thing or other that I couldn’t quite manage in the visual editor. And it turns out that the tag ”sup” (don’t try to display braces in a blog post– it can be done but it’s a huge pita) is the key to creating superscript numbers.2
I have been trying to learn more about WordPress.com. In many ways it is the same as the self-hosted WordPress I’ve been using for years now, although there are some differences. There are also a number of community aspects that are unique to WP.com which simply don’t apply to self-hosted blogs. I have figured out how to specify the blog you use the most as your “primary” blog, which I believe (though do not know for a fact) matters a great deal to how Empire Avenue computes your WordPress.com score.
I have one Empire Avenue acquaintance whose WP.com icon on his EAv profile connects to a WP error page that says ”This blog has been suspended to a violation of our Terms Of Service”. His EAv WP score is 5. My own WP icon on EAv remains connected to my book review blog, even though I changed my primary blog to this one. (Click here for instructions if you want to try that.) And while both my primary and secondary blogs have hundreds of posts and hundreds of comments AND thanks to Empire Avenue missions I have been getting lots of traffic, lots of shares and a pretty high number of comments on this blog, my WP.com score remains….2.3
Clearly, I don’t yet understand how Empire Avenue is scoring the WordPress.com connections. And somehow I don’t think it would improve Walking Down The Avenue a great deal to add a new section that says ”after careful observation, in as much as I can tell, the scores seem to be assigned pretty much at random”. Part of me is really enjoying this new personal blog, and the freedom to write every day about pretty much whatever the heck I darned well feel like. But the part of me that really wants to get the book updated and a new release published…kind of just wants to scream.
1–this first foot note is purely decorative, and has no function whatsoever.
2–this second foot note is also purely decorative, though it was thrilling to me to be putting in a second superscript number, no sweat.
3–this final foot note is a bitter dose of irony
Update: It occurred to me to disconnect my WP.com from Empire Avenue and reconnect it. And choose the correct blog on reconnecting. We’ll see how that works out.