Saturday, March 14, 2009

Empoprise-BI temporarily focuses on self-referentialism

The Empoprises-BI blog has often taken a look at various businesses. But now I'm going to take a look at the Empoprises business itself - or, more accurately, the person behind Empoprises.

As some Empoprise-BI readers may know, the whole "Empoprises" series of blogs is a relatively new phenomenon for me. In fact, before the creating the Empoprises blogs under my own name, I have blogged for several years under the pseudonym "Ontario Emperor." I have continued this practice while also blogging as John Bredehoft, which sometimes results in some split personality situations.

For example, on Friday morning I was reading my Google Reader feeds for my Ontario Emperor account (I have parallel Google, FriendFeed, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and other accounts for both personas.) While reading as Ontario Emperor, I found a story that would be ideal for the Empoprises-MU blog. When I shared the story on Google Reader and FriendFeed, I subsequently made the comment:

Since this is a music issue, I'm discussing it more on my Empoprises account

Enter Shey Smith, a blogger and FriendFeed user who hails from Ontario. No, not the real Ontario in California; the older one in Canada. So anyways, Shey asked a reasonable question:

Why 2 accounts?

Ever since Friday, I've been thinking about that question.

The answer to the question goes back several decades, but let me start around 1990 or so, when I started BBS'ing. I initially logged on to boards as John Bredehoft, but several BBS people suggested that I come up with a BBS handle. Since many BBS'ers came from the CB radio ranks, the whole idea of having handles was natural to them. (I still think of the BBS people by their BBS names - Bloose, Starfish, etc.) So, since I was renting a house at the time, and I was part of a particular cultural background, I came up with the handle "Wasp the Houseboy."

As the years passed, I eventually replaced that handle with the handle "Theo Tres Thr3," which was based upon "Theatres Three," a pseudonym I had invented in my college days. Finally, around 1998, I settled upon the pseudonym "Ontario Emperor" for my online dealings. I even posted a biography that began as follows:

The Inland Empire needs an emperor. The "Inland Emperors" are a band signed to a Seattle label. Hence, I am the Ontario Emperor. This is my virtual domain.

I kept that pseudonym as I moved around on Tripod, Yahoo,, and other services of the time, and by the time I began blogging on October 14, 2003, the handle was fairly well established. Over the years, through several blogs and through a number of other services, the pseudonym became fairly well known. For example, at one point "ontarioemperor" was the 250th most followed person on FriendFeed.

But the popularity of my pseudonym created its own issues, which still exist today. There have been many situations (Oracle OpenWorld, LinkedIn, etc.) where I have had to introduce myself with the words, "My name is John Bredehoft, but you probably know me as Ontario Emperor." To tell the truth, that was one of the reasons that I created the Empoprises project in the first place - if Ontario Emperor can get all of this credit for social media whatevers, why not let John Bredehoft get some of that credit also?

Yet despite this new Empoprises project, I have still continued to maintain "Ontario Emperor" as my primary online identity. A couple of examples will suffice to demonstrate this:
  • The oemperor Twitter account has, as I write this, 8853 updates. Empoprises currently has 471.

  • The ontarioemperor FriendFeed account has liked 17068 items and commented on 11101. Meanwhile, empoprises has liked 87 items and commented on 157.
And the differences in volume continue through my other parallel accounts.

Now part of this is due to the different focuses of the two personas. Empoprises focuses on four topics - business, the Inland Empire, music, and NTN Buzztime. Ontario Emperor focuses on just about anything, and in fact used to focus on the other four topics also until I carved them out and let Empoprises focus on them.

But then again, it gets a little muddy when you look at the details. The lastfmfeeds FriendFeed music room is under the ontarioemperor name. And there are other issues.

But a lot of it boils down to the fact that my primary interface with the online world is under the "Ontario Emperor" name.

Well, until Saturday afternoon. I made one of those snap decisions and decided to change the precedence of the two personas, and formally make Empoprises (and thus John Bredehoft) my primary persona.

I'm not quite sure what this means yet. It probably means that some of the stuff that "Ontario Emperor" would do will now be done by Empoprises. It could mean a sharp decrease in "Ontario Emperor" activity. And it may also mean that I will spend less time looking at things like technology (unless there is a business focus), politics, and religion.

Less time, but not "no time." I already have an Ontario Emperor post scheduled for the mrontemp blog in a couple of days. And even if I wanted to "kill" Ontario Emperor, I wouldn't delete the accounts - my personal belief that deletion of a popular account only gives a spammer an excuse to move in, and I don't want the Ontario Emperor name to be used to sell envelope stuffing or whatever.

Anyway, this was a long post, but I figured that it needed to be said, and we'll see what happens from here. It will probably surprise all of us.
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