Monday, May 30, 2011

EmpireAvenue: The Emerald City

    EmpireAvenue, or EAv, is an online stock market gaming site, or so it appears. To some of us who left Kansas a while ago, it's a veritable yellow-brick road to the Emerald City of online networking, replete with a Twittering Klout climb.

     There are those who do not understand how a stock market gaming platform is anything but just that. While you can stay at Professor Marvel's wagon and have your fortune told, I assure you if you press on a little farther you'll discover the man behind the curtain is clearly a genius.

     For those in Emerald City, this article is about legitimately engaging and promoting each other in a group. By using the power of the group to connect people along with better resonating tweets to your followers, each person strengthens their Twitter, Klout and EAv presence on the Net.

      Empire Avenue is partially driven by your Twitter follower numbers, but also by tweets and retweets. Tweets and retweets help comprise your Klout influence, but not just any tweets. If your Klout influence key words don't match your agenda, or you're not being retweeted because your tweets aren't resonating with your followers, you've got a kink in your keyword focus/retweet action. You may well be the Mayor of Munchkinland, but Klout is never going to say you're influential about giant pocket watches or yellow brick roads, and you'll simply never represent the Lollipop kids. This all affects you at Klout and Empire Avenue, and remember, it's not just a game.
     Empire Avenue is not just a game and Twitter is not just an announcement platform. They are engagement platforms, and it’s engagement that's rewarded. Before you start thinking of gaming or 'play stock' rewards, think again. If you're having your agenda heard, raising your Klout score, and engaging more followers who resonate with your agenda, you've just stepped into the Emerald City where your voice can be more easily heard.

    But, does anyone really care if your voice is heard by some other Empire Avenue gamer? You might, if you realize that CEOs and major companies are taking stock tickers out on Empire Avenue. This, combined with the ability to raise your net presence, utilize various groups, and meet practically anyone while encouraging each others growth in a fun yet competitive game atmosphere that trumpets your Klout, Social Media and even your LinkedIn numbers, takes social networking clear over the rainbow.

    To improve your voice and presence across all three platforms, the idea is to develop 5 key words/hashtags (5k/hash) that also align with the WeFollow community which represents your agenda. First, come up with your 5 key words and then search Twitter to review them with hashtags. Single words may be better than multiple words but you'll have to see how one works out vs the other, depending on what words you choose.

    Once you select your 5k, review those choices with your Wefollow account. Go back, tweak as needed. You'll understand the tweaking once there due to the different categories. Set your list and tweet it out. Save your 5 words on a notepad so you can keep them in front of you for the next part. 

    Everyday consistently tweet a rotating mix of several of your key words within an intelligent tweet and sometimes hashtag them. Chronic hashtag use is annoying, so use just a couple a day on one or two of your 5k. Also learn to tweet your own content if your content consists primarily of retweeting other's content.  Find ways to originate your own content.  Or, instead of retweeting someone who is tweeting another's content, go directly to the article and create a new tweet. Whenever possible write and create your own original material. This can involve using your own photos, creating a blog for your topic, showing the steps along the way of a project, etc.

     As a group (remember the Emerald City?), align with those whose 5k/hash resonate with your agenda/interests. Your 5k/hash may be golf, nightlife, celebrities, food, wine. But, you may also be interested in dogs, parks, rafting, travel, tennis. Great! Find other members to connect with by reviewing their 5k/hash. Then actively and genuinely follow each other.  You may only have two of your collective 5k/hash in common with each other. That's fine, there are others in the group. Keep connecting.

    Now when you see one of your group members 5k/hash come across your timeline that genuinely resonates for you or your followers, retweet it. They will also retweet yours.  Congratulations, you're genuinely and directly engaging in Social Media and promoting your agenda to people who are interested in what you have to say.

    Re-read that part about retweeting because that's the one crucial piece people are not getting. People say, "OH right!", but then rarely retweet (or share) for others, reverting to tweeting for themselves. The rules of Twittiquette state something along the lines that you should engage and retweet others first and mainly and tweet yourself less. I'm here to tell you, that's really not happening and therein lies the problem. Let's be clear: Help someone else first. You have to retweet each other because simply retweeting your own stuff doesn't build you any Klout. It's like saying you're a good kisser. Well, sorry, but you can't assign that to yourself. It's determined and bestowed upon you by others.

    Your job is to create engaging content and to retweet fellow engaging content creators. You'll know you're on the right track if you continue to not only engage via Twitter but also at Empire Avenue (trade stocks, learn to play better, have fun) because your Klout score should eventually take off like a flying monkey.

    The group could also be helpful for getting people to step up their content game. If you're having trouble retweeting someone's 5k/hash on a regular basis, and they're not getting the results they should either, it's probably because their content isn't resonating with you and possibly others. It could also be that their follower list needs to turn over to their improved focus. Talk to your fellow 5k'ers and see where improvements in content can be made. The followers will eventually, well, follow!

     Do remember, though, it's not necessary or desirable to retweet everything and everyone, and we are all certainly busy, so that's actually a relief. Slow and steady wins the race as a group. Overall, a more focused, engaged group could do a lot, not only to raise scores, but to form a more genuinely engaged community and followers.

     On an individual level, If your agenda is getting out there, it can only be good for you, but this is just the start. I haven't even covered replying to someone or - gasp - tweeting directly to (not at...) one or your followers to engage them directly. These actions all count. Being a human being and connecting directly with your followers in one way or another is imperative.

    Last, but not least, I found this article written by Mike Morucci to be extremely good in terms of followers, retweeting, and content: Tips for not getting unfollowed on Twitter.

    If you'd like to connect with me at Empire Avenue, my stock ticker is APB. As of this writing I'm currently trading at e29.39, up +2.35. My Klout score, which bolted 5 points yesterday after some busy trading and hasn't updated yet today, is resting at 49. No Ruby Slippers required.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Paths and Followings

Well, it only took me 10 years to peel my nose off the grindstone to realize I could have my own blog to talk about business and begin to network again with the real world. Hello! 

 I donated every single day of the last 10+ years helping patients all over the world, while building our online community right beneath them. The lessons I learned, and the knowledge base I amassed, exceeded my wildest dreams. Today I'm interested in using what I've gained to expand my horizons toward working with some truly engaging people and companies.

 Expect to find a mix of what is and what isn't working with online communication - and why. I also like to jump in and help, but it goes both ways. A lot of what I'm about is helping each other. I'm interested in what's going on with networking and I like to speak about online engagement across multiple platforms.

  You'll also find me engaging and connecting all manner of people and things. Consider me a sort of pollinator, if you will. There are cool ideas and things out there and I like nothing better than to match the right people up with them - or each other. Kinda like those flower socks in your drawer. So, you'll see a mix of business and pollination of LIFE here from me.

 I admit I have very strong feelings surrounding people connecting with each other in a real, genuine, direct and kind way on the Net whenever possible. This is the cornerstone of my non-profit. It is the only way to genuinely build a following, a company, a brand.

  Those who fail to connect directly are missing out on the bigger picture. The people and companies that are doing the best business today are the ones who can reach out and directly engage their followers as human beings. It is the one thing I see people respond favorably to time and time again. It's so needed by everyone, yet it's one of those forest for the trees sorts of things. We're all screaming to be noticed and not noticing those around us. Those people might notice us if at some point you stop flailing both hands above your head and reach your hand out to that person next to you.

  Automation is the death of human engagement. There are no short cuts to being real. Be genuine, be consistent and be diligent. The work is literally one person at a time. As daunting as that sounds, it's not only worth it, but there is an unexpectedly pleasant and almost magical ease that wafts in with it. It's then you'll know you're on the right path.