Advertising and Social Media

One of the first questions that I get from a web savvy person when they see the stats for not just my blog, but the other sites I webmaster is why don’t you monetize it? The answer is quite loaded, since I do have google ads running on a couple of the sites and I have thought about putting more banners here and there. The short answer is because I don’t want this to become work. While I am totally open to the idea of using my web knowledge to make a company’s web presence more successful, taking the “Logtar” brand and making money with it might take some of the cool personal and social aspect away from it. I don’t have to answer to anyone and can post pretty much about anything I want.

That said, I believe that business using social media to reach their customers is one of the best thing that could have happened to advertisement in years. I have felt the advertisement world has been sick for quite some time. I was always annoyed by commercials where at the end I had no clue what the product was even if I could retell the commercial like I wrote the script. Unless they were going for full subliminal, I thought they were not doing a good job at all. Don’t even get me started with what I think of advertisement via blinking banners on the internet.

While Meesha is still very skeptical of the whole thing and pretty much feels like he is being attacked by all fronts from people trying to sell him stuff he does not want. I see the complete opposite. I see myself being closer to the product development and enhancement process than I ever have before. I feel empowered to not just #unfollow a shameless advertiser in twitter, but to support a company that is doing things right by talking about them. I do believe that social media finally earned its 2.0 with being the digital age word of mouth.

Being invited to the blogger/twitter preview of the AMC Mainstreet made me want to go again. It had nothing to do with me being given a free quesadilla or the ability to see a movie before its even on wide release, it had everything to do with the superior movite watching experience they offered. I am glad I gave AMC as a company a second chance because they had really lost me after a visit to the Fork and Screen.

Posting about something even in a negative manner still ranks the online presence higher. Being able to voice my opinion is powerful when you have an audience, and I feel that here in KC the local blogger/twitter group is raising the coolness level of this city. I have learned about more good places to visit in a short period of time than if I would have just visited the travel guide suggestions. I know some people like Meesha want to try everything for themselves first, but I don’t want to try a horrible place if someone else already had the bad experience. I have been told that I saved people a movie ticket with a movie review or at least made them wait until it became a rental.

I don’t think what social media is doing locally or even in a global scale is going to be easily manipulated. I don’t think a free sample makes you obligated to like something you would not already liked in the first place. At least from the places that have contacted me for a review yet, none have come with a “must talk positive about our product” rule, in fact most have wanted a very honest opinion in an effort to make their service of product better.

Let my Photos Go!

I like photography, I like it a lot. I like capturing moments in time, and I love to take way too many pictures… my problem now is where do I keep them?

The first service that I used to upload pictures to was actually webshots, and I still have some pictures there but I have not uploaded anything there for quite some time.

I used to keep all my mobile photos in a now defunct textamerica until they decided to charge and poof, all my mobile pictures were gone… I think that is one of the reasons I stop taking mobile photos as much as I used to because losing them all sucked a lot. I also kind of started using brightkite, but various past stalker incidents I have to keep my stuff private which kind of defeats the whole purpose IMHO.

I have been somewhat happy with flickr, I was one of the early adopters of the service before yahoo swallowed it and actually paid a membership for a couple of years. To really get good features you have to pay for a membership, and while it is not very expensive it just bothers me that I have to pay to give access to my own pictures. One thing that I still don’t like about their interface is that it is very configurable in some places, but not so much in others. The final presentation of the albums is not something I like. So once again I want to use something different.

I have used the google free service and I am liking how it works more and more, but now transferring years worth the pictures seems like a daunting task. I know that there are scripts and even services that I can use to move things around but it is just a big hassle and I just want a service that I can use for a long time.

I am working on the idea of getting a gallery and actual portal for my photography going, but the bandwidth is just not something I am willing to pay for just yet. The blog and other various websites are already eating the bandwidth that I pay for.
So I am in a total limbo when it comes to where am I going to stick all of my photos at? I am sick of them being everywhere and nowhere.

I have a bunch of family pictures that I would like to post, but some of the other people in my family started using the kodak easy share site and I just don’t enjoy it that much. Just try to look for something without making a user. Do I got for the ease of use for my (already in need of technical support constantly) family? or do I go for a feature rich place that would let me do some coding around it?

So if anyone knows of the killer website to keep all your pictures, with geo tags, conversation, access to static addresses, even if there is a price attached to it please let me know.

Also while we are talking pictures, you can check out a little slide show of some old pictures I am actually proud I took.

A Book About My Life

During our life we experience a journey that shapes who we are, love, pain, hope, despair, dreams… it is rare that we know when someone or something will become a part of that book.

If I had to pick a theme or message for the book about my life it will be love. I believe that everything in this journey comes back to love, having it, feeling it, giving it or simply lacking it. People without love and passion about life have come and gone through my life and they will not be main characters, what is even more surprisingly is that even the most painful experiences in my life have simply become chapters… every day getting smaller. Back then I seriously thought that chapter of my life would forever shape me, now it is a simple chapter almost comically remembered as the brief appearance of Voldemort.

My book has many characters, but I would have never imagined that most of the main ones would be people that I have met online. My wife is someone I met through my blog, and besides my friends Tom, Bobby, Mario, Travis, Carlos Andres, Julio Cesar, Corey and the Marks (there are 3) all of the members of the friends that I know will be friends for life are people I met first online.

From the moment I saw my wife walking down the hall in O’Hare Airport I knew a new chapter of my life had begun. She helped me rebuild not only my life, but we built a life together. And true love, lasting love had been found.

The CLSB crew, Crazy, Ken, Tony, vCook, Kim, Brother Bill, Dave, Kruz, I all met online… actually I had been friends with Cook before but when he showed up to that first group ride I had not yet married the online persona to the guy that I had gotten drunk with during my college years.

XO is going to kill me for even putting his name here. He is just one of those books you open and know from moment one that the fun will never stop. I don’t use this word lightly and in intellectual matters and coming to conclusions I feel he is a mentor. Being in completely opposite ends of many topics makes our bantering that much more fun. Ever since I saw that he is the scape artist of social events I knew that he would be that elusive character in the book that is not quite Yoda, not quite Obi Wan (he will get the humor) but more of a Captain Picard minus the Jean-Luc part.

Chimpo is a man of few words face to face, and we actually both met the rest of the crazy KC blogger community the same day. Since that day we have shared many beers, many laughs and I continue to steal Loren (Happy Birthday little one!) every time I get a chance to get attention by proxy.

Nuke and I had informally chatted back and forth online. However, he recognized so much of my personality that I don’t show that it amazed me. I am used to reading people like an open book, even if the cover is complex, but very seldom do people read me that way, more often people see what they want to see. A chapter had begun.

The moment I met Mike for lunch now years ago, another chapter was written. Even though our personalities are quite different, I almost felt like I found a long lost brother. He and his wife will be here to visit us once again this summer and it made my day after having to drop Daniel off at the airport… more on that in a bit.

Daniel, its even hard to think about how different the book of my life would be without him being a main character. The interesting part is that Daniel became part of the book and we had never even met face to face. We did not need a personal connection to create a bond that has at times scared the both of us because it seems almost impossible to feel kinship without ever meeting face to face.

This past weekend he fixed that technicality by coming here to KC for a visit from California. I had no doubt that we would get along, I had no doubt that we would have lots to talk about, I had no doubts that he would have a good time because that is who he is, always moving forward always trying to pick up the best… what I did not know was that I would experience this level of friendship from what some call a complete stranger.

I am reading a new book this week about how the brain works. I skipped to the chapter on happiness, my second favorite subject to love, and I was pleasantly surprised when it almost wrote the last chapter of Daniel and I meeting. Paraphrasing a little “While measuring happiness can be debated, it is almost certain that happiness is about little moments stacked together being more significant than one big happy event. Someone that has a drink with a buddy every night will be a lot happier than even someone that wins the lottery.”

The online crew that plays WoW with me have also become a big chapter or the people I first met online, Damayan(bring her a little closer, I am still getting experience!), Hon, Dave, Ann, Smidge, Rob, Chris, Patrick, Yuert, Theydrin, Mr iWipe (Fredler), Dr. Alagorn (he is a freaking Pediatrician!), Sokym, McTeague, Wook and the old drunk.

It is amazing to have so many great relationships, people that I can go and have a drink with, even just virtual. They each enrich every chapter of my life even more than I would have thought possible and cement the idea in my heads that happiness and success has nothing to do with what you have in the back or in the garage, but with who you have around to share your life with.

Same Sex Marriage

Sunday, Miss California might have thrown away the chance to become Miss USA. She certainly did not get “fabulous” Perez Hilton’s vote. While I could sit here and talk about the legitimacy of an event that uses Mr. Hilton as a judge, I do think the spectacle raised a good issue that seems to be getting hotter and hotter because now Iowa and Vermont have legalized same sex marriage.

I wrote about this topic a while ago and if anything my belief that we should allow two people to enter this kind of union regardless of sex is even stronger now.

To even enter this discussion I now ask people the following question. Do you believe that being gay is a choice or innate?

The gay people I have talked to have always told me how difficult a live as an openly gay person can be, and that many people would not chose that life. While there has to be exceptions to every rule, for me it is the way that you are born. From what I have read, science tends to back that up also. I have formed this opinion over years and friendships, however the thing that tipped the scale over was that most gay people I have talked to believed were born that way. People like Ted Haggard might believe that those “impulses” is something that can be “cured,” but I think it only leads to pain and deceit.

I believe that fighting to keep people from getting married is a waste of energy. Proclaiming that it should be only between a man and a woman is a pretty weak argument in today’s world. I understand that government sees the potential for children as the basis for the language in marriage law, but I certainly think that more and more people chose not to have children but still enter the covenant of marriage.

I think conservatives should really concentrate on how to keep marriages together before they start telling other people what to do or not to. Divorce to me is a way bigger problem than same sex marriage. The only marriage prevention I would like to see is letting people that are too young or unprepared for the commitment enter into marriage. Educating people before they get into marriage I think would prevent a lot of divorces, maybe even discourage some from even entering into them, but this is a topic for some other day.

Perez Hilton is someone I don’t particularly like and actually think he helps fuel the whole celebrity culture that swallowed what used to be pop culture. However, he does have a point when he says that Miss California should be trying to unite rather than to give her personal opinion when giving the Miss USA stage. Same sex marriage should be legal for many reasons, and we need to start making this a human issue and not a gay issue. Homosexuals are humans and should be allowed the same rights.