Empire Avenue: Stock Trading for Social Media

I don’t have lots of money to play around in the stock market as those who saw my broke-ass of the week feature on the brokeassstuart website. If I did, I’d put it into Apple because even when things suck, they go up. Now there’s a website for people who would like to buy stock in their social media friends and hopefully gain a profit. It’s kind of like fantasy football for the stock market lovers.

What you do is sign up and connect all your social media sites to it so they can check it out and see how much you’re worth. After I finished I had started at somewhere around $11e [e being, eaves, the name of the empire commerce currency] and noticed that people started buying shares in me. I’m hooked up in a lot of sites, not just twitter and Facebook, but instagr.am, youtube, foursquare, LinkedIn, etc so I guess that’s why it showed my value at an increase of +7.217. That’s a lot higher than some of the bigger names out there.

I’m still not sure what you can do with what you earn, but I started to buy shares in friends of mine who are on twitter and Facebook who have good increases. I’ve never had money to invest in the stock market, though I did have an great-aunt who gave me her shares in a steel company that was sold and cashed out and I got $10k with no money invested so I can’t complain there, especially since he put me through college way back when

This seems like a very interesting experiment since after I joined klout.com within a week I was asked in five different interviews what my klout score was. Who knows, in the future people will be asking what your social media stock price is at. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll break 400 like Apple at the end of the month, but I have no idea what the highest valued social media geek is worth at the moment. I’ll need to do more research. If you join and want a good return on your investment with the e that they give you look up BBTB since that’s the abbreviation of my stock. It’s climbing quickly. Since I’ve started writing this article my stock has jumped over 10 points overnight.



Sorry to my loyal readers…

I found a couple of sites that I won’t mention who pay you to put ads on your Facebook and tweet feeds. I thought I might be able to make a few extra bucks on this, but it turns out that in the past month I haven’t earned even a dollar from both combined.

So just to let you all know that I’ve stopped the ads on my Facebook and Twitter feeds so when you read something it will be from me and me only and not from someone who’s giving me a couple of cents per post.

My apologies. I will only be accepting sponsorships/advertising from San Francisco local businesses that I wish to promote and not from people  who will be trying to sell you crap. I will continue with the AdBrite adds at the end of each post until someone can suggest a better way to make money since as we all should know by now that Google is evil and their AdSense is a scam.


Baghdad By The Bay Meetup in the works

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and I finally broached the topic on Twitter yesterday and was surprised by the response. I’m getting a large amount of people in San Francisco and beyond who read this website and I’ve finally decided to get out of the house and meet up with some of my “foreign corespondents” in San Francisco. That is the other bloggers, citizens, fans, readers and even the haters of this website.

Since I’m a Sunset redneck, it only made sense that I have the meet up in a suitable Sunset establishment. Also since I want to give some of the people from out of town a chance to prepare I’m going to not try a flash mob type of thing with a meet up tonight @ Uncle Fucker’s Chuckle Hut! but actually give you a few months warning. I like to plan ahead and I want to find a place that can handle the people who will come. Judging from last night’s twitter replies of over thirty people I suspect I will get a good amount of people to show up so I’ll actually have to approach a place and tell them what I’m doing. First stop will be the Blackthorn Tavern @ 9th and Irving because not only do they serve Boddington’s beer, Magner’s Cider, and have a DJ, but on Sunday’s they also have a BBQ going.

I’m thinking sometime during the San Francisco summer which falls right after the rest of the world’s summer meaning September. We should have good weather then and that’s the month of my birthday so what better excuse to stage a party. So I’ll be visiting the venerable Blackthorn Tavern in the next few days to discuss with them having a meet up there and see what they say. I want to see all the local blogger’s, politicians, scoutmobbers, miscreants and hipsters from all over the city to come to this event so make sure to mark your calendars for sometime in September for this get together.

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Journalistic Twits

Twitter is all the talk of the town recently since they want to stay in San Francisco and San Francisco doesn’t want them to leave. This means SanFrancisco is Twitter’s bitch and has to give it up for them to stay. They’re doing this by giving Twitter significant tax breaks. All well and good if you’re a techie and see Twitter as essential. At times, San Francisco and it’s techies act a little more Victorian steam punk and and don’t see why they should get a break.

Well, I like electricity and I’m not a steam punk. I tried Twitter out long ago and couldn’t see why there was anything worth having an account where you essentially were sending out 140 character posts that essentially said, “Dig Me!”

Then the day came when I wanted to integrate Twitter into this blog and I discovered something new. A local community serving the local community. I find with Twitter that I can get more up to the minute news in San Francisco from people on the scene with their smart phones who photograph or video what they see and share it with others. A few days ago when Ocean Beach was hit with a tornado I was staying in from the rain and didn’t realize that there was a tornado touching down a mile from my house. Follow up tweets told me that West Coast tornados that touch down on water aren’t as strong as the ones you hear about in the midwest that rip houses apart and suck cows and diesel trucks up in the air hurling them at people all around.

When I’m out and about and happen to see something going on that is news worthy I share it with my community of followers on Twitter whether it’s a homeless guy sleeping on the streets in the Sunset or a car crash that snarls up traffic for others. These Twits like @obbulletin, @Njudah, @_laughingsquid and @SanFranciscoPro are reporting what they see. No opinion, just check out what is happening here. That’s what journalism is supposed to be as I was taught. If you want some funny opinion pieces I like to read what @DaBakedBaker, @BayAreaGreenway and @UppityFag [Hugh Jackman isn’t gay, he’s just singing and dancing with an orchestra in SF! #gay #fag] has to say because they admit that they’re stoned or drunk and are being funny, something opinionated journalism from Fox News won’t admit.

All these Twits [and I’m using that term affectionately] are beating the newscasters to the punch so much so that the guy who shot the video of the tornado got his footage used on local news and was interviewed to boot. That’s not too shabby a way to get your 15 minutes of fame. I really like the democritization of journalism that’s happening with Twitter when it’s done right. Yes there are a few haters on Twitter, but I don’t follow them. I do like to follow the local politicians who seem to fond of using foursquare to check in where they’re at so that people who don’t like them can hunt them down quickly. I do like @AlohaArleen who must have stayed up through the night after the earthquake in Japan to give everyone an early warning from here home in Hawaii when the tsunami hit. I do think Twitter can be done right. You just have find those people to follow.

So a Bull Walks into a Union Shop…

I was working at a printshop a little over a decade ago and lost my job after I had a stroke. I wasn’t exactly told why, but they let me go. I can only assume that it might have raised their insurance premiums because I has a health risk. As it turned out the company started to go downhill from there. I have a curse that I somehow developed in that every company that I have been laid off/fired from usually goes under within 6 months. There’s only one company so far that’s still moving along in a crippled state and they should be gone shortly.

Now after I lost that job it turns out there was a print service bureau up the street that was getting more work than they could handle and I was the cute hard working guy they new because when we had a breakdown in our film processing equipment they’d send me over there for a fix. This was a union shop and I had never worked for a union shop before and my eyes lit up. Unions! They always paid you big bucks, got you great health benefits and you got lots of time off and in this case you only had to work a 7 hour day which included your lunch. Two thumbs up! Strangely enough, the three owners of this small business started the company unionized. As a matter of fact the printers union was the first union ever started int he United States. Well, this is where the fun stops.

I was used to having to produce start to finish 30-40 jobs a day from electronic artwork to finished printing plates. Now I only had to produce the finished artwork. I liked starting at 7:30 in the morning which seemed ambitious to everyone except one of the owners who would open the place at 7am. While things went fine for a few months I noticed them asking me to slow down on my work because I wasn’t leaving anything for the other two workers to do. Then with the dot com bomb there slowly became less and less work coming in and because I was so efficient they were having to send home employee’s with more time on the job. This was totally against union rules and so since I was the newbie to the bunch they finally laid me off. The unfortunate part was that the others who worked there weren’t as efficient as I was so in the end even though they had less work, what was taking me 15 minutes to do was taking them 2-3 hours to do and they started to lose customers which meant even less work and they eventually closed down.

Today you won’t find a single union printer within San Francisco and you won’t find very many small non-union printers in San Francisco any more either. So now let’s move forward a few years. I was out of work and heard that Safeway’s union had re-negotiated their pay scale so that checkers were making $20/hour. I start thinking this would be easy so I went in and applied and they were very eager to hire me. I passed all the tests with flying colors and was invited to the first training meeting. Here’s where it starts to get weird. Most of the people in the meeting did not have English as a first language there were four people who fell asleep during the training session and one women who just about passed out, but it still sounded great so I went along with it. They didn’t say anything about pay though so after the four hour training session which happened to be at my local Safeway I went down and found the manager that I always said hi to when I was shopping there. I asked him, “So I hear that the checkers are making $20/hour now when does that start?” His answer, “They didn’t tell you in the meeting? You start at minimum wage which after a year you were eligible, but not guaranteed full time work at minimum wage and you get incremental pay increases each year so you won’t be making $20/hour for about 10 years.”

Crap, waste of time. I can’t raise my family on $9.75/hour part time. Start looking again. This led me to start thinking about unions.

Unions were started to protect workers from being exploited by their employees. This was a good thing. People weren’t being paid what their job was worth in the marketplace and when they unionized they had higher wages, job protection and benefits. In Safeway’s case they may as well have not been unionized because they were paying crap and had a high turnover rate. Most of the people in the training session with me weren’t even legal voting age yet. For them it was probably a good job. For me having a family it sucked.

Then you have toll takers on the Golden Gate Bridge that they’re going to be getting rid of because their union get’s them paid $27/hour and fully paid benefits for them and their families at no additional cost. They have to paid about $50 union dues a month which at $27/hour is nothing and their job…taking money and making change. $27/hour is a bit on the high side wouldn’t you say? You don’t even need a high school diploma to get that kind of job.

Workers do need some protection, but by this I mean good workers. People who have the talent and skills to do the job should be paid accordingly. We now have lots of “start ups” I attended a meeting of one last night and I worked for one a few months ago under the jobs now program. Then I was getting paid because they were getting reimbursed by the federal government for hiring unemployed parents. Great job. I was being paid what I was worth and encouraged to learn new skills. Then the subsides ended and so did the job unless I wanted to work for private equity. Private equity means you earn shares in a company that are pretty much worthless unless someone offers to buy out the company. There are many companies who managed to make this work, but there are far more who haven’t. While computing is moving towards the cloud, I’m not letting my paycheck move there as well.

San Francisco has tons of start ups all over the place. We have our Twitter who’s doing quite well and hasn’t gone public yet, but I’m not sure how they’re making their money other than getting rich investors to toss money at them thinking they’ll make it work one of these days. MySpace on the other hand which isn’t SF based, does or rather did have an office in SF where they just had to lay off everyone because they aren’t a cool start up anymore.

Just as our government has become polarized on the left and right so has the workplace. You have unions that support unskilled laborers with high pay and good benefits, then you have startups who support highly skilled laborers for little or no pay. We need something in between what San Francisco needs is a work meritocracy. If you’re good at what you do you should be paid for it. If you’re not good at what you do then you should be paid less or not at all and lose your job. Work efficiently and produce more at a higher quality means you are more valuable to your company and are a more commercial commodity. Let’s move back to that way of life.