Competition (Shopping for Ghosts and Other Unusualities Book 2)

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Instead, they perceive it as just another advertising channel. This ignorance creates barren pages, dry of any type of personality or real engagement. As business owners, chances are high that your clients or the company for which you work have some sort of database — an email list or other compiled unit of customer information that could be utilized to build an initial Facebook page following. Now is the time to reach out to them. Thank them for their support over the year and make it easy for them to find you by including a link.

If you have promotions or Facebook-specific content, include that in your newsletter to funnel more traffic. Give your fans and followers a reason to share your page. According to the Pew Research Center, the average Facebook user has friends , this means that if just one person shares your page, you could be reaching people you would never have been exposed to otherwise. This number grows exponentially with each share. Offer an incentive, a discount or contest for sharing or something else that increases the excitement surrounding your brand. The larger your community becomes, the higher your chances for engagement rise.

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Even though our subject is business pages, the medium is Facebook so the format of posts mimic any typical user. From memes, jokes, high-resolution images, and short stories to contests, games, and open-ended questions, there is a lot of wiggle room in the realm of likeable content. Go on your personal Facebook and just look at the type of posts your friends like. One of the best ways to spark an online conversation is to ask questions.

Ask questions relating to your business, a specific event or a product line. This shows that the opinions of those that are part of your group matter to you. Take it one step further by thanking those who answer and by following up on how their input was implemented into your business plan down the line. Alternatively, brands can display a friendly personality by asking fun, community-involving questions.

For example, the well-known Mosquito Magnet frequently asks trivia questions to engage their fans:. If you are a California resident and would like to submit a request, please write to the following address: Townsquare Media, Inc. For international users, please note that it may be necessary to transfer your information internationally and, in particular, your information may be transferred to and processed in the United States.

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    The Beginners Guide to Establishing Personality and Engagement on a Facebook Page

    I woke up at a. I used the keychain LED flashlight they had given us at the front desk to gingerly retrieve it and find my way to the bathroom while encountering as little of Nature as possible. Getting back into bed, I made a deal with the lizards, ants, and whatever that oblong bug was on the wall that I would respect their territory if they would stay off of my sheets. Lizard, I said, that bar in the closet is your private kingdom. Ants, you may occupy the white wicker nightstand with impunity as long as you adhere to our treaty. I know you have the proper discipline because of that time Erich and I stayed in that dilapidated Mexican beach hotel with the trail of your people precisely down the center of the room, not one of you straying an inch from this insectile superhighway.

    At six-something, a monsoon started, sounding like an avalanche through the glassless windows; the rumble of thunder, impossibly deep, like a volcano. It poured down all morning, causing me to pull out my little travel umbrella so I could get to breakfast relatively undrenched, but I noticed no one else carried such a civilized utensil. The standard uniform here is loose shorts and tee shirts, although this is punctuated by yoga pants, long skirts, the occasional spandex, and Clothing Optional areas. Many women and some men wrap parts of themselves in festive scarves—one man is sporting a rather ostentatious sarong—and I have seen no evidence that anyone wears underwear.

    In the rain, my fellow travelers sprouted waterproof ponchos or jackets. I do not own any shorts or waterproof jackets or sarongs. I wear underwear with a religious zeal. I feel like my soul craves Hippie Hawaii and my body craves a four-star hotel. It is sort of peaceful here, and sort of not. There is essentially no way to lock anything safely here. When it stopped raining, I put the camera in my backpack with my iPad and wandered down to the cafe by the road in search of the elusive Internet, which was Not Working.

    I then spent the afternoon alternatively reading one of the novels I have been saving all year for this trip and meandering the property looking for reception bars on my cell phone, a Mr. Spock scrutinizing his tricorder on a distant planet. It is breathtakingly beautiful here, and the food is amazing, exactly what you might expect from a collective of hippies: fresh, local, simply prepared, and labeled with the precision of a thousand conflicting dietary restrictions.

    Mealtimes are announced by the blowing of a conch shell, which echoes through the jungle clearing like the howl of a sea monster. We eat communally around long tables on the lanai, although some tables are reserved for special groups. The Male Nude Yoga Retreat is happening here, which I was informed of both by phone when I made the reservation and by the signs on the dining table saving their space. I must say this bunch looks better in person than I had been imagining, as their name conjures something more grizzled and ropy and the reality is a group of mostly young gay men with a preternaturally upright bearing.

    After dinner, Rob decided to walk down to the cafe by the road, but still jetlagged, I stayed in the room to read and sleep. The rain started up again, and I turned off the light to listen to it beat down against the leaves and roofs; the hoots and chirps of frogs and insects could still be heard over the falling water, and I felt very remote and alone. In the darkness, I clutched my iPhone and went to sleep. Someone who shall remain nameless, whose name is Jeffrey Cufaude, has been been pestering me for months to produce some words in these here pixels.

    I have never met Jeffrey Cufaude in person, but then again, because Internet, I have met decreasing numbers of the people who are important to me. Jeffrey Cufaude clearly appreciates brilliance when he sees it, as well as melancholic rumination, catalogs of overwhelming and neverending projects, and extended hiatuses followed by deplorable excuses for my absence and plucky proclamations of turning over a new leaf. And of course chupacabras. Next week, I am going on a trip to a far away land, something I have rarely done in recent years thanks to the aforementioned projects and a healthy dollop of destitution.

    Finn Årup Nielsen's blog

    I see this as an almost explosive decompression after the highs and lows of the past decade enkindled a near-constant crisis state that curdled the blood in my veins and left me with a haunted look that inspires strangers on the street to ask what is the matter. Nothing is the matter now because I am going to Hawaii, lovely land of lava, and when I get back, I am going to do some other things. I apologize. It was me. I take full responsibility that you woke up this morning to find the universe has ended, a chain of events that began when I decided to get up at six a.

    Which then exploded. And there were some tarantulas. Well, look, back to me. I found out my mother is in the hospital, so I have to look into that. My city has for some reason transformed into one of those video games where you drive race cars around and around, except I think all of the video games these days are about shooting people, which my city, finally ahead of the trends on something, turned into years ago.

    Goblin has an acupuncture appointment. I am exhausted. And now this whole end of the universe thing. It is not even noon, and already my daily quota of horrors has been filled. The first thing that happened was that I got up at eight a. I realize that that sentence already contains the seeds of madness, but things escalate quickly around these here parts. I went into the basement to get a trash bag and heard heavy footsteps walking across the floor just over my head, which continued for several moments but stopped when I got halfway back up the stairs.

    It never occurred to me that this was anything but a terrifying ghost, as Kate was out of the house and my husband does not exactly arise with the roosters and in fact also misses the crows, pigeons, robins, orioles, hummingbirds, vultures, potato birds, and other feathered friends, most closely aligning his circadian rhythm to some particularly slugabeddish cockatiels in a distant timezone.

    Food of Ghosts (by Marianne Wheelaghan) book trailer

    I wrote recently of my plans to delight my potential heirs by causing them to spend the night in a haunted house and perform other feats of endurance to determine who is worthy of inheriting my worldly goods, which I did not mention at the time consist largely of Boston terrier memorabilia and oddly placed books that I killed bugs with in the distant past and have been afraid to move since. I suppose the haunted house part is settled. Later, post cleanup, I was checking email and noticed one from the MVA.

    Guess what! And guess what! My nine nieces and nephews call me Uncle Monster, which indicates they are young enough not to realize that I own a house and a car and have no descendants of my own to be the beneficiaries of my will. I expect that eventually there will be fierce competition for my favor, though Uncle Monster has no intention of making this process a walk in the park.

    Further details will emerge in consultation with the writers of every television series from the late twentieth century, as this—along with the arrival of an identical cousin—is one of the most important plot devices of that era. My only regret is that I will not be around to ROTFLMAO at the resulting hijinks, although perhaps the fortuitous arrival of my identical cousin will allow me to fake my own death and watch from a secret passage. I always wanted to be a Canadian, one of those sensible, pleasant people huddled together for warmth throughout the long winters, tittering in their parkas at the antics of the brash and aggressive neighbors to the south.

    I grew up hearing people in power lie about who I am and what I wanted out of life, and these lies rendered their other ones even more obvious to my ears. Nowhere within my family or the media we were exposed to was there much dissension with the party line. To be American meant to be white, to be straight, to get married to someone of the opposite sex, to buy a house, to have lots of kids, to buy! America never told me it was all right to be gay, or that I might one day exercise the personal freedom to marry a man that I love; indeed, these most basic things about my life were actively maligned and outlawed and dehumanized in state houses across the land.

    And I reciprocated their disgust, outraged that my pursuit of happiness was actively thwarted by such cold-hearted intellectual midgets who, with all of the actual problems in the world, would expend so many resources on denying their brothers and sisters this major source of comfort and security. As with many minorities, my electoral calculus was not focused on who might make my life better, for that was unfathomable, but who might hurt it the least.

    I watched wiser nations, including my fantasy homeland of Canada, enact sweeping protections for gay people, legalizing our marriages, celebrating our loves, and it literally never occurred to me that it might happen here, even as more politicians pandered for our money and a few lonely states started coming to their senses.

    When my own state legalized same-sex marriage last year, I wept for days afterward as it sank in. Nationally, I was still a second-class citizen, but this was the first glimmer that there might be something other than an endless political struggle to legally make the most personal decision that any two people can make. Still, when I heard Windsor v. United States was going to the Supreme Court, I felt mostly dread.

    I put it out of my mind as much as possible. I avoided conversations on the topic and erased all of the rabble-rousing emails without opening them.


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    As I write this on the Fourth of July, stray fireworks are booming in the humid Baltimore night, indistinguishable from the gunshots. The same Supreme Court has effectively blocked the votes of some of our most vulnerable citizens. The government is tapping into our private information. Our robot airplanes are raining death from the sky on innocent people around the world, and our pollution is dooming millions more to climatic cataclysm. It is an awesome responsibility, with the full awareness of all of those who yet to have this standing, including those LGBT citizens of less progressive states and the people of color who are profiled and targeted in endless ways.

    Honestly, I was lucky before, as well, in so many ways, but it has a new flavor now that I am no longer an alien in this land, whose full equality to his fellow citizens was dependent upon northward emigration. This is a moment to pause, acknowledge, refresh, ponder, and set our sights anew. There are times when I seem to forget certain words, not because of encroaching age since I am younger than the morning dew, but who knows why. I was meeting my friend Isa—and her companion, a baby who kept reaching for my cup, which gleamed entrancingly in the sunlight, sending little prisms of color sparking across his face.

    Clutching our drinks, we left Starbucks and strolled to a park, where that baby snatched a bag of almonds from somewhere and ran off down the path, looking back to see if we were watching, smiling like a goon, and running a little further, his arms thrown wide to the world in front of him with the infantile confidence that we had his back. There is another word I seem to be forgetting, which describes sitting on a park bench with a sweet friend on a bright summer morning, people and dogs passing amiably by, giddiness rising in my body as caffeine hits bloodstream, a baby laughing while he plays in the sun.

    There is a little-known fact that you need to know the size and shape of the required toilet seat in advance. A very little-known fact. On the way home, I was stopped at a traffic light, eating a wasabi pea, when I felt my car shake. Someone had rear-ended me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well, not very hard. More like a tap, a kiss of the bumper. I looked in my rearview mirror and the guy behind me was looking embarrassed and making these mea culpa gestures. I was going to get out and see if there was any damage when a guy in a Verizon van pulled up alongside and started yelling at me. Look, I just wanted to enjoy my wasabi peas at a traffic light. Terry Gross was on the radio. And then the light changed and more chaos ensued.

    THE BOOK OF THE DAMNED

    The Verizon van and I were blocking both lanes of traffic. The culprit drove a blue station wagon with a canoe strapped to the roof. Was he taxiing a canoe enthusiast? I looked puzzled. The Verizon guy looked disgusted with me and drove away. Cars were everywhere. I made a quick decision to just start driving because I was feeling very unsafe and confused at the intersection.

    Maybe if I pulled over past the light, the guy behind me would, too, and we could figure this out. I started to pull over. The blue station wagon darted around me and zipped off down the street. I sped up enough to get his license plate number, which I dictated to Siri, who made such a fuss about not knowing what I was talking about that I almost gave up on the whole thing. Anyway, it turned out there was no damage to my car, just to the wasabi pea-craving neurotransmitters that were ultimately disappointed.

    Somewhere around the birth of UDH, I had a freelance job producing an audio series by some finance guy, based on the book he had supposedly written. He is still inarticulate, if the videos on his website are any indication. He is still gorgeous. He has remarried and produced six kids. I suppose my life has changed a great deal in eleven years, as well, but I am not thirty-six times more successful. My one child, an aging Boston terrier, pretends she is deaf and doddering when I tell her to do anything but appears at the speed of a neutrino when she hears her treat bag crinkle two floors down.

    The first couple of days, I lolled around like a Hutt, although I did not eat like a Hutt because all I brought with me were ingredients for a stew, and I quickly got nauseated by the idea of stew. But then a little spark of something, most probably guilt, took hold and I actually began working, mostly studying for my national board exams.

    If they did, I would pay them a hundred dollars. If they made themselves and then disguised themselves as me to go and take the high-security exam, which they then passed in my name so I do not have to bother, I would pay them a million dollars. If they made themselves and brought me a pizza, I would pay them ten dollars. I also did my weekly cafe bookkeeping, planned updates to my acupuncture website, and then lolled around some more just for the heck of it.

    I hope you can hear me over the deafening clamor for my return. That ticker-tape parade might be a bit much, but thank you. Where do you even get ticker tape in this day and age? I applaud this initiative, but it was unnecessary. So, look, I am not only writing this because it was on my to-do list. It was on my to-do list plenty of times in the past few weeks and did not get to-done.

    Daffodil season came and went without any insightful comments from yours truly. I have plenty of ideas on the subject of marathons and quasi-domestic terror. It is time to face the music, a tune that says that I have been remiss in my writing here, and I have brought shame upon myself and my ancestors. And I am shamed, although I have some excuses, which are that I have been overburdened, lazy, focusing on minutia and not the big picture, and on an emotional roller-coaster.

    I have also been to Disneyland. I mean, Undisclosed Locationland, a term I prefer because I do not like to rub it in that I was whooping it up with robot ghosts and pirates while you were slaving away on a shrimp boat, or whatever it is you do, which I cannot be bothered to keep track of. See above excuses. Anyway, hello. Like Frankenstein, I am alive. Like the Terminator, I am back. If one were to have begun reading these pages recently, he or she could be forgiven for imagining I while away the hours pondering the motivations of monsters, ghosts, and a little Boston terrier named Goblin Foo.

    And then there are the fictions, frequently cited, of studying for some impossible board exam, building my acupuncture practice, and so forth.


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