5 of my favorite posts from Google Plus – September 18, 2011

Events of the week included the Obama Jobs Speech, straw poll in Florida won by Herman Cain, 2 policer officers in Fullerton California were charged with murder for beating death of Kelly Thomas, Two and a Half Men killed off Charlie Sheen’s character, and 6 tons of space junk falls harmlessly in Canada.

5 of my favorite posts in Google + week of September 18, 2011

Posted by Zacarias Abad Torres 

Posted by Dave Beckerman

Posted by Massoud S

Posted by Pedro Henrique

Posted by Michel Rajkovek

5 of my Favorite Posts from Google Plus – Week of Sep 11, 2011

The big news item this week was the 10 year anniversary of 9-11. I was especially moved by the reading of the names by family members at the 9-11 memorial. A few things that struck me was that  there were no political speeches given during the ceremony out of respect for those lost on that day.

Here are some my favorite posts what are yours?

Posted by Rapha Ritchie

Posted by Morgan Abbou

posted by Suraj Hota

Posted by Viktor Skurko

Posted by Denise Oliveira

I hope you enjoyed these posts as much as I did. For more follow me on Google Plus or on twitter @Fierce_Living and @Fierce_Chat

5 of my Favorite Posts from Google Plus – Week of Sep 4, 2011

It’s been a crazy week with Obama’s speech, blackouts in San Diego, terror threats, recovery from a hurricane on the east coast, a typhoon in Japan, more unrest in Egypt, and a tropical storm that hit Louisiana and later brought flooding to the Northeast. That’s why it’s great at times to get lost in whatever your guilty pleasure, escape from reality, mode of entertainment is.

There were a lot of great posts that came through the timeline once again and I could easily post over 20 that I thought were terrific. I have to at least try to follow my own rules (until I decide not to) so here are my five favorites.

shared by chantal gayatri

Shared by viktor skurko

shared by Felix Wang

Shared by Deborah Rosier

Shared by: nader madakto

And this video is honorable mention. I saw it in the stream and went to you tube to watch it but in the process I lost who shared it with me.

I hope you enjoyed my findings. Let me know what favorite things you have found in your social media endeavors this week.

5 of my Favorite Posts from Google Plus – Week of Aug 28, 2011

Google Plus is about 2 months old and has approximately 25 million users. There has been a lot of discussion lately about the battle between Google +, Facebook, and Twitter. Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages and there is enough room in the Social Media universe for all three platforms in my opinion.

Many of you who know me know that I am a huge fan of Google Plus. I am a visual learner and have a great appreciation for all of the visual imagery available on the site. You can have a hangout with friends and watch You Tube videos, you may be bombarded in your stream with a boat load of infographics or you can check out the work of many great photographers and artists who have taken to the site.

Over the next several weeks I am going to select my favorite 5 posts of the week and share them with you in my blog.  The criteria I am using is the wow factor of images, creativity in infographics, quantity of comments generated by the post, or it’s just one of my favorite topics.  What are your favorite posts this week on Google Plus? Leave me a comment with a link.

Posted by Morgan Abbou

Posted by vikhil nv

Posted by Graham Smith

Posted by Steve Raffner

Posted by Misha M.-Kupriyanov

Power to the People of Empire Avenue

I’ve been using Empire Avenue for about 3 months now and while I enjoy it, it feels like something is missing. I can’t really put my finger on it so I thought I’d survey some users and get some additional perspective.

I asked the following questions and received 21 responses.

Survey Questions:
1. How long have you been on EA?
2. How did you find out about EA?
3. What do you want to get out of EA?
4. What do you like best about it? What do you like least?
5. What SM do you use the most?
6. Has EA impacted the way you use SM?
7. Have you made any new contacts? Do you connect with them on other SM sites?
8. Do you have a strategy for EA? Have you set any goals?
9. How many hours per day do you spend on EA?
10. Will you continue to use the site?
Bonus:
11. If you are a new user (within the last 2 weeks) what are your expectations from the site?

What I really wanted to figure out through this survey was not just why people were playing the game but are they actually getting any practical value out of it. I think for the most part they are but let’s dig into the responses and see what we can discover.

Time on the site
I was pleasantly surprised that I received a response from somebody who had only been on the site for 4 hours. I just checked and CITYCHATTR (Saskia Wijngaard) is still playing and has a stock share price of over 50 with dividends of 0.37. Another respondent, CASTREZANA  has been on the site for 6 months and I am happy to say that he is doing great with a share price of 91.26 and dividends of .81 per share. I did not hear from anyone who had been on the site for longer than 6 months.

How did people hear about the site
Almost everyone who responded either found out through Twitter or FaceBook, although, a few were referred to the site by their friends and one came across it by accident.

Why do people want to play Empire Avenue
More important than how they found out about Empire Avenue, however, is what they do with the site once they are on board. Empire Avenue is a game that channels the stock market but can you actually make money by playing it? On the surface it doesn’t seem likely, however, if you look at the survey responses carefully it is quite clear that there can be significant financial gains generated through this venue. For example, ARIIX CANADA is an entrepreneur and stated that they have made a staggering amount of contacts and consider their entire network expanded by over 2000 people as a result of registering with the site. This account also is doing very well with a share value of 103 and dividend of 0.71.

Like Best/ Like Least
While Empire Avenue is certainly a place to connect, learn about social media, and just have fun there are certainly a few things about it that drive people crazy. By far the most annoying thing about Empire Avenue is that if you take a few days away from the site or from using your social media connections it is very likely that your share price and dividends will take a  hit. KRMC states “the share price can fluctuate widely and once it goes lower it is very difficult to bring it back up again.” A few other complaints are the site takes a long time to learn how to use it and the site itself can be slow at times. One last complaint is the social media sites you get credit for using are limited.

On the other hand, respondents really enjoyed the abilitiy to make contacts that they never would have made otherwise. The site also makes it very easy to connect with people on the social media sites that are connected to Empire Avenue. The site has an algorithm that is used to measure activity on the social media sites which also serves as a motivator to increase your activity in those sites. It’s also fun to watch your share value increase and interact in the hundreds of communities that have sprouted up on the site.

Strategy and Usage
Social media is the heart of Empire Avenue and all of the respondents to the survey were aware of this and the associated benefits. Of course, my sample size is small compared to the total number of people on the site and I was hoping to run across someone who’s main focus was on gaming so I could get a different perspective.

Respondents were most active on Facebook and Twitter but there are many who use LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and even eCademy. Most people spend about 30 minutes a day on the site but there are several who have it open all day and check in periodically throughout the day. The amount of time spent on the site tapers off over time. CHOCOHOLIC started at about 9 hours per day but now only spends close to 30 minutes per day.

Like anything in life it is my belief that you need both a strategy and goals and objectives to be successful with Empire Avenue. ZANZPLANS has a strategy to buy people she likes and try to find those who will reinvest in her. KCHAMP26912 says ” Yes I’m working on purchases at least 100 shares in all who have purchased 100 or more in me and matching anyone below, then I’m going to work on increasing my daily earnings so I can start putting more in those who own more than 100. On the social side I plan to get to know everyone better as time allows.” Great strategy, I say, because her share value is 119, her net worth is over $7M and her dividends are 1.34 per share.

Will you stay on the site?
Almost everyone said they were in it for the long haul, however there were a few who were going to play it by ear. 365GRATEFUL will only stay on the site if she can garner interest from others. PETERADIO can’t live without it and ARIIX CANADA says of course, it’s pretty much the future of social media.

Bonus Question
JOEBURROUGHS stated that he hoped to get some friends signed up so that he could compare networks. CITYCHATTR expects to bump up their traffic on other SM sites. Both are doing well with share value in the 50’s and dividends close to 0.40.

My Responses
Several people who took the survey wanted to know my responses to the questions. So here they are.  I started playing about 3 months ago. I’m pretty sure I heard about Empire Avenue on Twitter. Like most people I use it to make connections, have some fun, and measure my activity in SM. What I like best about the site is it encourages engagement in social media and offers you a way to measure that activity. What I like least is that unless you really invest an enormous amount of time on the site your score plateaus and is difficult to get a strong bump unless you become hyper active.

The social media sites that I use the most are Twitter and Google+. I do engage differently on social media than I did prior to signing up for Empire Avenue. I think this is due to The Hawthorne Effect. I have connected with several people on the site and carried those connections over to Twitter and Google+.  My strategy is to focus on trying to connect with interesting people, buy into at least 3 players per day, taking into consideration their activity in social media, share price, and dividends before I make a purchase.

Each month I set two goals that I’d like to achieve during the month. My current goal is to increase from 130 shareholders to 200 shareholders and increase my net worth from $745K to $1 million. I noticed that when I started setting goals and making them public, quite a few players invested in me just because they wanted to contribute to my success and help me to meet my goals. I encourage anyone playing the game to set goals and make them public by posting in the communities they are involved in.

I’m still not able to put my finger on what’s a little off about the site. I would love to hear from you to see what your thoughts are. I do think it is a fun way to make valuable personal and business connections, keep track of your social media footprint, and improve your engagement in social media.

Additional Tips for Empire Avenue
For tips and cheats on Empire Avenue click here
http://www.michaelqtodd.com/eavtwitter
http://commercialscott.com/2011/06/re-5-tips-tricks-and-tools-for-empire-avenue/

Shout out to the survey participants:

PETERADIO, KRMC, JOEBURROUGHS, EMMAG, WHOIS, SANZPLANS, RAYCOLON, 365GRATEFUL, ZAGORATH, ARIIX CANADA, PVH, CITYCHATTR, KCHAMP26912, ANJLEE, CALL, AHYNES1, CASTREZANA, FR05TY, CPERKCPA, and CHOCOHOLIC

DADT Repealed What’s Next – One Man’s Journey

I have been following @Jethro_Aryeh on twitter for at least 3 or 4 months. I’m not sure why or how I connected with him but the first thing I noticed was that he had an unusual icon for an avatar and he was in the military.

His tweets were always a bit mysterious as he is still active duty military and was not able to come out or let himself be known. It was interesting to watch his posts as it became more apparent that DADT would be repealed. Shortly after Obama signed off a new avatar appeared and Captain Perez was officially out of the closet. He was now able to share his picture as well as his full name Alberto Aryeh Perez DeJesus.

So who is this guy?  When I decided to write this blog post I knew I had to interview him to get the whole scoop and he was more then happy to oblige.

Alberto is currently employed as a captain in the army and is stationed in Waipahu Hawaii where he enjoys the weather and thinks the people are very nice. I joked with him that he must be tired of eating all of that SPAM (Hawaiians love SPAM).  He pointed out that he was Jewish. Ok I wasn’t expecting that one. I just assumed that he was catholic. He went on to tell me that he can trace his ancestry back 5000 years and mentioned to me that the surname Perez can be found in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Lesson learned: Don’t make assumptions and don’t judge a book by its cover.

I asked him about his dating life and he told me that because of DADT he has not been able to date. He realizes he has had to make a huge sacrifice and would love to have someone to cuddle with at night but it’s always been out of the question due to military policies. At this point he would love to meet that special someone, however, his bandwidth is all used up due to his career, his studies, and the pending case. Even though I just talked to him briefly, my first impression is that I think he would make a great catch.  All you single lads out there keep your eye on him.

xvwioc.jpg

A few more things that are important to know about Alberto is; that he has been independent since the age of 17; he ran away from home and completed high school on his own; and upon graduating he joined the Air Force because he knew he wanted to do something for his country and he had career aspirations that included secondary education. He remained in the Air Force for 2 years until his mom died. Not too long after leaving the Air Force he re-enlisted in the Army where he has served for 19 plus years. While in the Army he has had tours of duty in both Korea and Iraq. I asked him what it was like serving time in Iraq and he said he spent most of his time dodging bullets and IED’s.

I talked to him about coming out because I wanted to know how people in the military handled being in the closet. Alberto reminded me that DADT is technically a law and he wanted to do everything he could to uphold it (DADT is still in place until the repeal is fully enacted). One thing he wanted me to understand was not only could enlistees not discuss their sexual orientation but the armed services were not allowed to pursue anyone either. The title of the law really should have been Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue.

The obvious question is if the military cannot pursue why have so many military personnel been discharged? My personal opinion is that the military did pursue enlistees. I have no evidence to back that up, however, I have heard through various sources that it has occurred. Gay military personnel have legitimately been discharged as a result of verbal or written communication, through complaints, by snitches, and via confession. Here are some personal stories of military people who have been discharged as a result of DADT.

Until recently Alberto never told anyone in the Army that he was gay. Although he did come across others that he knew were gay, he did not say a word out of fear of being outed. Like anyone else who is gay and in the closet he had constant feeling of anxiety and caution when dealing with people because he had no idea who he could trust.

Now that DADT has been repealed and will be put into effect shortly, everything should be coming up roses for Alberto, right?. That’s a big NO. The opposite is true. After serving faithfully in the US Army for over 19 years he is being forced to retire because the Army claims that they cannot promote him and he must retire. Alberto is convinced that his pending discharge is because he is gay and he has evidence to back it up.

Alberto began to have questions about his status after being passed over for promotion on many occasions. He felt that he was an ideal candidate because he had always received positive reviews from his direct reports and he did not believe he had any negative information in his employee file.

To get a promotion in the military the candidates paperwork is submitted to a review board and that board decides whether there is merit or not. If the board determines the candidate is worthy of promotion they will forward the appropriate documents up the “food chain” and if the stars align the person will be granted a promotion.

Alberto soon became skeptical of why he was constantly being passed over for promotion and filed a formal complaint with his local inspector general per military policy. His complaint was denied via a very vague memo. He filed another complaint recently that has gone all the way to the Pentagon and that was also denied, stating that he is not competitive (what the hell does that mean?), his records are not complete, and thus he does not meet the requirements for promotion. His only alternative according to the Army is for him to retire.

Most of us would probably be glad to leave and take our pensions and take a permanent vacation. But this is not what Alberto wants to do at this time. He is happy serving his country and is studying to be a behavioral therapist. I find it very suspicious that at a time where military suicides are at an all time high and there is a severe need to have military personnel trained the field of mental health that they would take a stand that Alberto does not qualify for promotion.

The icing on the cake is that Alberto has a stellar record in the military, he is enrolled in a prestigious university and his current GPA is 3.8/4.0. Alberto is convinced that the military wants him discharged because of his sexual orientation and he told me that he has proof. His current status is that he has 3 classes to complete prior to beginning his internship. He is funding his education on his own and he plans to begin interning as soon as he possibly can. A forced retirement would throw a huge wrench in his plans so he is fighting with everything he can to retain his position.

What is the bottom line?. Alberto has served his country and sacrificed his life for the armed services in a way that no straight man or woman ever had to. Because of his sexual orientation he has not been able date, marry, or have healthy discussions about his sexuality. Further, Alberto educated me to the fact that under the repeal, even though the military cannot discharge personnel legally based on sexual orientation, gays and lesbians WILL NOT have the same rights as non-gays. As a matter of fact, there is a reference to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the repeal, which prohibits gays who are able to marry from having the same benefits as those who don’t. The repeal of DADT DOES NOT MEAN that gays and lesbians will receive equal treatment as those who are not gay or lesbian.

Going forward, Alberto has hired a lawyer to represent him and has received the backing of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and Senator Richard Blumenthal from his home state of Connecticut. He has filed a a legal complaint against the army claiming an Official False Statement. This appears to be the first case of it’s kind and will likely be ground breaking and precedent setting. Ideally, he would like to see his case resolved before he is forced into retirement, However, he has the mindset that this is a case that, win or lose, he will be pleased because it will move the discussion of equality forward.

Alberto is a great guy and deserves all of our support. If you help Alberto you are supporting equality. So what can you do? Follow this link and sign his petition. If you really want to take it to the next level contact Senator Blumenthal and let him know that you are happy that he is supporting Captain Perez and encourage him to act quickly to get resolution of the case. This is a great opportunity to help the cause and you can do so very easily.

To engage directly with Alberto follow him on twitter @Jethro_Aryeh

Google Plus – Taking Social Media Discussions to a new level

I am still very excited about Google Plus and the potential for this platform. Today I posted a straight forward question and received several very insightful comments which I have attached below. Whether you agree with someone’s political view or not, this platform has opened a new door for people to connect with others in an unrivaled way. I have engaged with so many unique individuals on the site that I would never had met in either Twitter or Facebook.

What are your experiences on Google Plus? Have you made any new connections?

Original Post: 

James Fierce  –  7:22 AM  –  Limited  MUTE USER
Do you think Obama should be re-elected? Is he doing enough to support business or are there too many regulations stifling the business climate in US? More stimulus? So many questions.
Jason Easley (PoliticusUSA)'s profile photoJason Easley (PoliticusUSA) originally shared this post:

It is worth noting that President Obama and Democrats created more jobs in 2010 than George W. Bush did in his eight years as president.
  –  Comment  –  Share   –  Share on Twitter  –  Reply to Author
Comments:
Jafar abdul Haseeb – At present I am a bit unsure. It really depends on the nomineee. If it is Huntsman.. Idk..any of others then i will more than likely support Obama.. time will tell
7:27 AM

+1

–  Reply

Chuck Homsy's profile photo

Chuck Homsy – IMO he hasn’t really shown much backbone or leadership. If he had during the debt ceiling debacle maybe it wouldn’t have turned so sour on him. Then again it’s mostly republicans that hold the purse strings and because of that they probably are the one’s responsible for talking S&P into lowering the U.S.’s credit score. Just because they know they don’t have a snowball in hells chance of having another person elected to the Presidency.
7:31 AM
David Sanders's profile photo

David Sanders – Does anyone think a specific President will really change things much? The corporate influence is so strong, I find it hard to believe any one person can make a true difference.
The left agenda is too left and the right is too right. A mushy wimpy centralist like Obama is perfect. He will be elected again.
7:40 AM (edited)
Jafar abdul Haseeb's profile photo

Jafar abdul Haseeb – I agree with what you say completely. His failure to show leadership started with the Bush Tax Cuts expiration debate. I am no fan of taxes by any means but revenue is essential. His willingness to compromise is good however he needs to grow a spine sometime.
7:35 AM

+1
Chad LaFarge's profile photo

Chad LaFarge – His view of “compromise” is when other people agree to do what he wants, and for most part, what he wants is bad for business.(insert obligatory call for action) I’d love to see a consumption tax so all this “tax breaks for the Rich” crap can go away and we can get back to being the only Super-Power in the world (present company accepted, China 😉 … love you guys over there).
7:47 AM
Jafar abdul Haseeb's profile photo

Jafar abdul Haseeb – I disagree with your view of his view of compromise +Chad LaFarge. I don’t think he wanted the Bush Tax cuts to extend. I think he was compromising because of the 2010 election results and felt this would be a way to forge relationships and compromise for the future. 250 K a year is not my idea of rich..
7:52 AM
Chad LaFarge's profile photo

Chad LaFarge – I took that as his going along with the (D) House and (D) Senate, who both voted to extend, and his not wanting this to be only the third veto of his presidency (the first veto killed H.J.RES.64, which would have extended 2010 appropriations by 2 months, and the second killed H.R.3808, which would have recognized interstate notarization… Notary Public across state lines).
8:11 AM
Jafar abdul Haseeb's profile photo

Jafar abdul Haseeb – Both D’s in the House and Senate voted to extend the tax cuts at his urging. I want him to succeed but I want him to grow a spine. We need the revenue.
8:15 AM
Chuck Homsy's profile photo

Chuck Homsy – Taking from my previous post: This would explain the brainlessness of the Iowans voting Michelle Bachman during the straw poll this past weekend. I can not believe the people of Iowa are that dumb and must be playing a really, really bad joke on the rest of the world.I apologize ahead of time to any Iowans that may be on this feed.
8:15 AM
James Fierce's profile photo

James Fierce – +Chad LaFarge Hey Chad how does a consumption tax work? That’s not the value added tax that they have in EU is it?
8:16 AM  –  Edit
Jafar abdul Haseeb's profile photo

Jafar abdul Haseeb – You would have toth understand the straw poll in Iowa was nothing but a fund raiser for the Republican party there. It is really meaningless. Whoever can bus the most people and buy the most tickets wins the straw poll. Romney won the straw poll in 2007 and tanked in the caucauses (spell check). Ms. Bachman will never be the nominee. The party may be desperate but not that desperate. +Chuck Homsy
8:20 AM
Chuck Homsy's profile photo

Chuck Homsy – Consumption taxes work like this, anything over a certain price point, say a $200 pair of jeans, have an additional % added to the price.
8:23 AM
Chad LaFarge's profile photo

Chad LaFarge – +James Fierce The Fair Tax is the consumption tax that most people think of, and I like it, at least what I know of it. here are some features (pro and con).Your Federal Income tax disappears.
It is replaced by a [some figure between 21 and 27]% sales tax on all items bought by consumers.
Note that businesses do not pay the tax, so it does not pile taxes up in the development of products.
To prevent regressive taxation, all people are send a monthly amount to cover the cost of the taxes for basic necessities up to the poverty line.
The IRS would go from a giant hated department of agents seeking people out to punish them to a much smaller group of people making sure your monthly check is right for your family size. (I loves me some department-shrinking)
Tax credits and loopholes disappear, so it’s not terrific in the mind of people counting on Mortgage Interest Deductions… I’m not sure how that’s compensated for, if at all (see site link below where that is likely addressed).At the same time that you see a giant increase in your take-home home, you’re going to see an increase in the cost of consumer goods, but as not as much as you might think: Much of what we buy now is already taxed, and also has the taxes of its component parts factored into price.

There’s more information here:
http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer

It’s certainly worth a read, if nothing else to know the options.

Hope this is helpful.

9:36 AM  –  Edit
Scott Clark's profile photo

Scott Clark – I’ve always liked the idea of a Fair Tax system but I don’t have confidence in our apparatus to support it.- For one, the fraud potential is huge. This would result in a perpetual backlog of cases that the IRS has to chase down probably requiring the same amount of auditors and investigators they have now.
– For another, it makes it that much harder for the government to project their budgets beyond a certain point. An income tax is somewhat predictable and jobs are designed to weather market and consumer spending fluctuations. But unless I totally misunderstand parts of the Fair Tax (which is likely so I’m happy to be corrected!), it being entirely tied to consumer spending makes it just as unpredictable. Maybe it self corrects at this level of quantitative analysis?As James’ original question: I’m not sure if Obama is doing a good enough job to be re-elected. His style of compromise assumes everyone involved in the conversation is in there for the collective well-being. That’s nice when you’re a community organizer, but I woulda assumed the cutthroat IL politics would have trained him on how often people are NOT in for the collective good, but focus more on the personal or small group/constituent/PAC good.

I want a centrist who forces both sides of Congress to work together, or failing that, forces policies through by going around Congress and talking directly to the people. I have seen though more capitulation than necessary to politicians who he wants to assume are listening to their constituents but who often can’t possibly be doing so for the kind of policies they’re pushing.