500,000 Hits!

fireworks1This morning, I became aware that this blog, storiesbywilliams, has just reached another milestone. Yes, after three and a half years, this humble site has reached half a million hits. And as usual, I’d like to include a few other pertinent numbers to help put this all in perspective. For example, since this blog went public, it has reached the following:

  • 500,180 hits (as of writing this)
  • 7041 Comments
  • 2089 Followers
  • 1834 Posts

Once again, I can only say thank you to all those folks who have helped make this possible. You know who you are ūüėČ And just for once, I thought I might let be things brief and poignant. So thanks and congrats all around, and onto the next thing!

New Milestone: 500 Follows!

fireworks1The good people that run WordPress have just informed me that this humble blog o’ mine has reached an important milestone. As of 3:00 AM this morning (Pacific Daylight Time) I received my 500th follow! Combined with followers from Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter, that brings the grand total to 2,091!

I’m especially happy about this because for some time now, I’ve had trouble breaking the 2050 mark. It seemed that with every new follower, I would lose one, and that’s never nice. Sounds greedy, I know. But it seems that the more people you have willing to listen to you, the more concerned you are about keeping that following.

https://wordpress.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/achievements/followed-blog-500-1x.png?m=1391188133h

Naturally, I want to thank all those people who have signed on to follow Storiesbywilliams. This past March marked its third anniversary, and for those who have chosen to stick with me over the past few years, I am especially thankful. The support and encouragement I have received since deciding to go public with my writing have made quite the difference.

Not only has it helped me to bring my written work to publication by giving it the feedback and constructive criticism it needed, it has been the difference between toiling in anonymity and making meaningful connections with people. This is why I began writing in the first place, and knowing that there is a receptive public makes all the difference.

Here’s to three years more and (fingers crossed) another 500 followers! And to those I’ve been following myself, I hope I have managed to make a similar contribution to your work. None of us is alone on this journey and we all need to know that we are doing matters to others. May it lead us all to somewhere joyous, fruitful and (God willing) profitable as well!

Happy Anniversary!

fireworks1Today, I got an all=important notification from WordPress.com. It tells me that today is the third anniversary of this here blog, also known as storiesbywilliams.com. Yes, it was on this day, three years ago to the day, that I started this little enterprise in order to publicize my work, share what inspires me, and connect with other writers and bloggers out there.

And as with all anniversaries on this site, I’d like to commemorate this by sharing a few facts and figures, just to put it all in context context. Three years on this site has resulted in the following numbers:

  • 3 years
  • 1095 days
  • 8760 hours
  • 1576800 minutes

Or, to put it in terms of what I’ve actually done with that time, which seems much more relevant:

  • 410,057 views
  • 6,417 comments
  • 2,039 followers
  • 1,541 posts

And as usual, I would like to thank all those who helped make this possible. Since starting this blog, I’ve managed to publish all my works from 2004 onward. These include Source, the Legacies: Preludes collection, Data Miners, Whiskey Delta, and most recently, Papa Zulu. And in the coming months, I plan to release Flash Forward, and finish work on the long-awaited Yuva Anthology.

And, just as importantly, I feel I’ve learned a great deal, thanks to the personal and professional connections I’ve made. And wherever possible, I’ve tried to pass that experience and knowledge onward; and shall continue to do so whenever possible. This site is, was, and always will be about inspiration, and that belongs to no one and everyone.

So expect to hear plenty more from me, and be sure to make yourself heard as well – as often and as much as possible. Here’s to three years more, and to forever looking onward!

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Your Reputation: The Currency of the Future

reputation_marketingNot too long ago, I did something I haven’t done in a long time and wrote a conceptual post, one which dealt with the concept of the “Internet of Things” and where its leading us. In that spirit, and in the hopes of tackling another concept which has been intriguing me of late, I wanted to delve into this thing known as Reputation Marketing, also known as the Trust Economy.

Here too, the concept has been batted around of late, and even addressed in a Ted Talks lecture (see below). And much like the Internet of Things, it addresses a growing trend that is the result of the digital revolution and everything we do online. To break it down succinctly, Reputation Marketing states that as more and more of our activities are quantified online, our behavior will become commodified, and our actions will become the new currency.

Facebook Reece ElliottAt the heart of this trend is such things as social media, online shopping, and online reviews. With everything from used goods, furniture, clothing and cars to accommodations up for review, people are turning to web-based recommendations like never before. In fact, a 2012 study done by Neilsen Media Research suggested that 70% of all consumers trust online reviews,  which are now second only to personal recommendations.

For some, this represents a positive development, since it means we are moving away from the depersonalized world of institutional production toward a new economy built on social connections and rewards. One such person is Marina Gorbis, who explores the development of what she calls socialstructing in her book The Nature Of The Future: Dispatches From The Socialstructed World. 

NatureOfTheFuture_cover_sml_01In Gorbis’ view, in addition to new opportunities, socialstructing will present new challenges as well. For one, there will be exciting opportunities to create new kinds of social organizations – systems for producing not merely goods but also meaning, purpose, and greater good. But at the same time, there is a possibility that this form of creation will bring new inequities, and new opportunities for abuse.

But at the same time, Gorbis was sure to point out the potential negative consequences. In the same way that one acquires friends on Facebook, or followers on Twitter, people in the near future could be able to hoard social connections for the sake of money, fame, or social standing. Basically, we need to understand the potential disadvantages of socialstructing if we are to minimize the potential pitfalls.

future_money_bitcoinOne such development she points to as an example is the rise of social currencies, such as Paypal, Bitcoin, and others. These operate much differently than regular currencies, as they are intended to facilitate social flows that often operate not on market principles but on intrinsic motivations to belong, to be respected, or to gain emotional support. But once these connections and flows begin to be measured, they may acquire a value of their own.

Basically, if we begin to value these currencies, motivations will arise (not necessarily altruistic ones) to acquire them. So instead of turning market transactions into social flows, we might be turning social interactions into market commodities. In the words of sociologist Chase, we would be applying ontic measurements to ontological phenomena. Or as she puts it in her book:

We created social technologies. Our next task is to create social organizations: systems for creating not merely goods but also meaning, purpose, and greater good. Can we imagine a society of ‚Äúprivate wealth holders whose main objective is to lead good lives, not to turn their wealth into capital?‚ÄĚ asks political economist Robert Skidelsky. Or better yet, might they turn their wealth into a different kind of capital‚ÄĒsocial, emotional, or spiritual? Our technologies are giving us an unprecedented opportunity to do so.

botsman-tedAnother person who sees this as a positive development is Rachel Botsman – consultant, author, former director at the¬†William J. Clinton Foundation, and founder of the Collaborative Lab. In her ongoing series of lectures, consultations, and her book What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, she addresses the transformative power collaboration will have, giving rise to such things as “reputation capital” and the “reputation economy”.

In her 2012 Ted Talks lecture she explained how there’s been an explosion of collaborative consumption in recent years. This has embraced everything from the web-powered sharing of cars, to apartments, and even skills. In short, people are realizing the power of technology to enable the sharing and exchange of assets, skills and spaces in ways and on a scale that was never before possible.

collaborative_consumptionBut the real magic behind collaborative consumption, she explained, isn’t in the inventory or the money. It’s in using technology to build trust between strangers, something which is rarely available in the current industrialized, commodities market. Whereas this top-down economic model relies on depersonalized methods like brand name recognition and advertising to encourage consumption, this new model is far more open and democratic.

It is for this reason, and because of the potential it has for empowerment, that Botsman is such an advocate of this emerging trend. In addition to offering opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs , it also provides people with the chance to make human connections and rediscover a “humanness” that has been lost along the way. By engaging in marketplaces that are built on personal relationships, as opposed to “empty transactions”, people are able to reconnect.

future_moneyThe irony in this, as she states, is that this emerging trend is actually taking us back to old market principles which were thought to have been abandoned with modern industrial economy. Much like how Envisioning Technology predicted with their recent infographic, The Future of Money, this decentralizing, distributed trend has more in common with bartering and shopping at the local agora.

Basically, these behaviors – which predate all the rationalization and vertical/horizontal integration that’s been taking place the industrial revolution – are hardwired into us, but are being updated to take place in the “Facebook age”. Through connections enables by internet access and a worldwide network of optic cables, we are able to circumvent the impersonal economic structures of the 20th century and build something that is more akin to our needs.

future_money2Or, as Botsman summarized it in her article with Wired UK:

Imagine a world where banks take into account your online reputation alongside traditional credit ratings to determine your loan; where headhunters hire you based on the expertise you’ve demonstrated on online forums such as Quora… where traditional business cards are replaced by profiles of your digital trustworthiness, updated in real-time. Where reputation data becomes the window into how we behave, what motivates us, how our peers view us and ultimately whether we can or can’t be trusted…

Another potential irony is the fact that although online shopping does allow people to avoid face-to-face interactions at their local store, it also draws customers to businesses that they may not have otherwise heard about. What’s more, online reviews of local businesses are becoming a boon to entrepreneurs, expanding on the traditional power of written reviews and word of mouth.

And at the risk of making a shameless plug, this all puts me in mind of a short story I wrote back in April, as part of the April 2013 A to Z Challenge. It was called Repute, and deals with a young executive in charge of hiring new talent, in part based on what I referred to as their Reputation Index Placement (RIP), which was basically a tabulation of their digital presence. Like I said, the concept has been on mind for some time!

And of course, be sure to check out Botsman full lecture below:


Sources:
fastcoexist.com, wired.co.uk, ted.com
, envisioning.io

350,000 Hits!

fireworks1Woohoo! It feels like forever since I reached a milestone and felt the need to celebrate. But that’s to be expected after a few years. At first, they come fast and often due to the fact that everything’s new and exciting. After awhile, they naturally become fewer and further between. But it’s always important to mark these occasions and take the time to give thanks.

So my thanks to the many people who have chosen to come by over the years. Especially those 2038 of you who have chosen to stick around by subscribing and/or following. And thanks be to the people who have offered constructive criticism, comments, and ongoing support. I would name names, but I don’t want to leave anybody out. Besides, you know who you are!

And of course, a big shout out to people who’ve offered beta reading, editing and constructive criticism to my own works, and have allowed me to do the same for their own. This coming March will mark storiesbywilliams third anniversary, and I hope to have a number of things done by then. So stay tuned, and expect me to come by and camp out in your blogs as well!

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Stories by Williams!

happy-anniversaryI got a friendly little notification this morning. As it turns out, it was two years, twenty four months, and one-hundred and four weeks ago that I started this blog and began sharing my writing and inane thoughts to the general public. My apologies public, but we’ll get to your grievances later. Right now, I want to put those two years into a perspective using a few numbers I gathered.

As the song from Rent says “Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes… how do you measure, measure a year?” Well, up that to two years and you’ve got one-million, fifty-one thousand, two-hundred minutes, and the following numbers, according to my latest stats check. In the past two years I’ve managed to gather:

  • 238,972 hits
  • 8,778 likes
  • 4,461 comments
  • 977 posts
  • And most importantly of all, 1,945 followers!

I have to say, those are some nice numbers and they make me smile! And so does the prospect of doing this for the foreseeable future. There’s still a moment that I feel I’m building towards, some kind of climax this site and what I want to accomplish with it hasn’t quite met yet. Don’t know what that is yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime, I’m pretty happy with how this site has worked out for me. People always start writing with a purpose, and they take all that public once they’ve decided they want to share it. As for me, I guess I just wanted to say something relevant that mattered to people, and to know that the message was received. Thanks for being on the receiving end folks!¬† And please feel free to keep tuning in! The show’s just getting started…

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250th Post!

Boy, this has been the seasons of milestones for my little site here. Just the other day, I was told that I had just posted my 250th post. And that was a few days after hearing I had picked up my 200th follower. And very soon, I will have reached 20,000 hits! Hmm, if I were a numerologist, I might sense some significance in all this.

And of course, credit goes to all the people who take the time to read these things called my thoughts and postings. Were it not for you… well, you know the rest. I said all this already for my 200th follower and will probably do some again when I reach the big 20,000! So I won’t bother you with simple flattery right now. You know you’re great, I know you’re great, let’s keep this party rolling!